Excerpt from Swear by Moonlight

     
     He came prepared for battle, determined to wrest the truth out of her—no matter how brutal he had to be.
     Sighing, Patrick said, "I doubt you'll believe me, but I do not want to cause you trouble."
     "Why should I trust you?" Thea asked. "Why should you help me? You're a stranger—I don't even know your name."
     Bowing with exquisite grace, he murmured, "Allow me to introduce myself: I am Patrick Blackburne, late of the Mississippi Territory in America."
     "That tells me nothing," Thea muttered.
     "Perhaps the name of Lady Caldecott is more familiar to you? She is my Mother."
     "Of course I know Lady Caldecott—everyone does," she admitted faintly. Good God! Of all the gentlemen in London that she could have seen on Curzon Street tonight, why did it have to have been him?
     "Well? Does that make me more trustworthy?"
     "Not very. I saw you with Lord Embry today, which means, I assume, that you are an intimate of his." Her voice hardened. "Being friends with him does not raise you in my estimation."
     Stung, Patrick snapped, "And I suppose your reputation is so spotless?" It was an unfair jab and crossing to her, he grasped one of her hands, and said, "Forgive me! That was uncalled-for and ungentlemanly."
     Slipping her hand from his, she smiled bitterly. "You have no reason to apologize—I know my reputation." Her expression troubled, she added, "This conversation is gaining us nothing and I have nothing to say to you. I suggest that you leave."
     Patrick stared at her, disturbed by how disappointed he was that she would not trust him, but not surprised. From the stubborn tilt of that determined chin and the set of her mouth, it was obvious that she wasn't going to budge an inch. Blast!
 
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