|A Murder And A Kiss
Author: Fading-Scream PM
Set in regency London, a murder leaves the Montrose twins as prime suspects – at least in Nathaniel, Marquess of Hartington's mind. Cole and Catherine Montrose have many secrets to keep hidden about who they are and what they can do, but when Hartington starts digging into their past there is only one thing to be done - or is there?Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Mystery - Chapters: 15 - Words: 27,053 - Reviews: 20 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 13 - Updated: 02-09-13 - Published: 11-21-12 - id: 3076203
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Just a quick thanks to all of those who have continued to read this story. Words cannot express how much your continued support means. If you have any suggestions on how I can improve this story or what you would like to see in it, please do let me know.
The Morning Chronicle arrived at the Bingham residence at precisely quarter to ten, fifteen minutes before Aunt Heloise deemed it a proper time for her get out of bed. After an unfortunate run-in with the dragon, the paper-boy had decided to ensure that he was well out of sight before anyone in the household could settle down and read the newspaper. Once again, his insight may have saved him a tongue-lashing for on the front of the gossip section, in bold print read "Lady Catherine Montrose, the Missing Muse of the Masquerade".
James, the ever loyal butler, cringed as he handed the paper to Uncle Charles, preparing for the worst as he rushed off to tell Penny to inform her mistress of the impending storm. Penny's steely resolve melted as she heard the news, waking Cathy with a hot cup of chocolate to cushion the blow. Cathy's face turned as white as the pristine cotton sheets upon which she lay.
"The front of the gossip section you say? Oh bother! Aunt Heloise is bound to hear of it whether we get rid of the section or not, and you do know just how much she hates to be the subject of gossip. She counts every offense I stumble into as a personal insult to her. There's no way to avoid it Penny. I'd best get dressed for war."
With that said, Cathy donned a pale yellow muslin morning dress and strode downstairs to battle. Finding Uncle Charles reading the paper out loud to Aunt Heloise, Cole and Georgie did nothing to calm her nerves. No matter what was mentioned in that article, any gossip could be ruinous. Any gossip could fuel more gossip which would lead to people taking note of her and her family. And eventually, someone would notice their gifts. Charlotte's death caused enough raucous, however the eyes of the ton had been drawn to Edward and not the rest of them.
"Ah, Catherine my dear, you're quite famous today. Made the front of the social news, you did." Uncle Charles chuckled as if it wasn't the end of her social life before he continued to read what the paper had said about her.
"Lady Catherine, with all of her modesty, appears to draw attention to herself wherever she goes. Every year at the Rushford masquerade Lord and Lady Rushford draw everyone's attention with ludicrous costumes and clever disguises, however this year they have been upstaged. Lady Harriet and Lady Catherine ingeniously disguised themselves as each other under the guise of muses. Nonetheless, that clearly was not enough excitement for Lady Catherine. Attention was drawn to the fact that she was indeed missing when my source overheard an argument between Lady Catherine's brother, Lord St. James, and the Marquess of Hartington. Together, with the aid of Lady Harriet, they searched for the missing muse. My source tells me that when next they were seen, Lord Hartington was carrying the unconscious Lady Catherine toward the bedchambers with Lord St. James and Lady Harriet in tow. It strikes me as odd that the lady's brother did not carry her. Perhaps there is more to the relationship between Hartington and Lady Catherine than we all suspected. After all, swooning is always a good way to draw a gentleman's attention, and it seems that Lady Catherine may just have caught herself a Marquess."
Cathy forced herself to sit down... any movement was better than standing like a statue in shock. The writer believed that she was attempting to ensnare Hartington and trap him in marriage? This was awful!
"Well, my girl, I believe that you didn't need your aunt's help in finding a husband. And Hartington too! "Aunt Heloise beamed in pleasure. "Although I must take some credit, after all I was the one who taught you how to flirt."
Cathy's mind went to those awkward lectures regarding how to hold a fan in an alluring way and flutter her lashes at just the right pace. Aunt Heloise's idea of flirting would have bored all the gentlemen in the vicinity to tears. She met Cole's eyes across the table and saw a small flame flicker in his eyes. She didn't have to be able to read his mind to know what he was thinking. He was furious. He barely finished his breakfast before he retired to the library and waited for Georgie and Cathy to join him.
"What in the name of all that is holy are we going to do with this situation Cath? I was certain that no one had seen us. We even went through the servants' entrance and up the servants' stairs to avoid being seen. " he growled, sinking down in a leather armchair.
Georgie strolled to the door and locked it without having to be asked, preparing for the worst.
"What do you suggest we do? There's nothing to be done but ride out the storm and hope for the best. I will flatly deny the claim that I was attempting to ensnare Hartington, although I do doubt that he will believe it. Although, now that my reputation is in tatters, the chances of finding a husband are officially next to nothing. I've been ruined by a newspaper!"
There was a moment of silence filled with the sounds of the old clock in the corner of the room which ticked contentedly and a maid who whistled a jovial song somewhere in the house.
"You're not ruined, per se. The journalist merely stated that Hart was seen carrying you, with Cole and Harriet in tow. There is no way that Cole would have let Hartington have his way with you." Georgie rationalized, flicking her silver hair over her shoulder in emphasis of her point.
Both Cole and Cathy turned to look at their little sister. She was growing up to be wise beyond her years.
"I suppose that you are right, Georgie." Cole exhaled. "At least this will give me a good reason to avoid the vexing Hartington. If we stay away from him he rumours will eventually fade off into oblivion. Besides, we have already established that Hartington couldn't have murdered Charlotte however much I would have liked to blame it on him. That leaves us to do some more detective work for ourselves. We still need to find out Charlotte's lover's identity."
A carriage rumbled to a stop outside and came to a stop. None of the siblings moved a muscle, dreading the worst.
"Well you can hold your thoughts Cole, Hartington's just arrived with his sister and by the sound of James' thoughts Hartington is not pleased."