An excerpt from A Scandalous Design:
“One of them apparently was misinformed about her interest in him. He is to be forgiven, I believe. Most tavern maids are rather more…err…congenial than this one seems to be, if you will pardon my saying so, miss…?” He ended his sentence with a question suggesting she should tell him her name.
Melanie gave him what she hoped was a reproachful look, as she ignored the bold hint to introduce herself, and turned to confront the ancient wooden door once more. She knocked firmly and called out.
“Miss? Please open the door. I really do need to come inside. I am not dressed to be public. Miss?” She turned back to the stranger. “Did you happen to hear her name?”
“Yes, let me think. Was it Annie? Anne. Yes, Annie Marie, I believe. Try that,” he suggested.
He leaned against the wall exceedingly diverted by this gorgeous, gray-eyed maiden who was managing, in spite of her situation, to maintain her sangfroid. He thought he would like very much to possess her name. He had spotted those bare, pink toes peeking from underneath her skirt and gave a soft laugh, finding himself amused at her predicament and wondering when her chaperone would be showing up, as her cultured voice informed him of her social standing.
Knowing his duty as a gentleman, he stood ready to help her out if it appeared she might face a scandal from this unfortunate incident. Meanwhile he meant to enjoy this unexpected comedic-drama as it played out before him. It was better than a Shakespearean play. He glanced down at the youngster playing the part of the villain still asleep on the floor. Silly young cub.
She could not be left for long standing out in the hall with her hair falling like corn silk down her back. There were several more young gentlemen with much too much celebration inside them to mind their manners when temptation this lovely was at hand. His own fingers twitched to touch that glorious mane to find out if it could possibly be as soft as it looked.
He did not think he had ever seen hair quite that shade of blonde. Was it the color of bubbling champagne? He fought a sudden urge to plunge his fingers into that silken waterfall and tumble the lady into his waiting arms.