That kiss had unsettled him.
Evan knew it was only pretend. Knew it too that it didn’t really mean anything. But something about it—about her—had rocked him to his core and even hours later he was struggling to get his head around it.
“I’ve never seen the sea before.” Beside him, being pummelled by the frigid winter wind from English Channel, Lily seemed perfectly content to stand and stare at the sun setting over water indefinitely. Which was ironic as he was perfectly content to stand and stare at her.
She was always a pretty thing. He had thought that the first time he had clapped eyes on her, but with her golden curls blowing wildly and her blue eyes shimmering with utter delight, the sight of her now took his breath away.
“It’s funny…” She smiled at him and it was like being bathed in sunshine. “When I saw George last night, I thought this trip was thoroughly ruined, but I’ve had the loveliest day.”
“Me too.” It had been one of his very best. From the second they had returned his carriage to the inn and dashed laughing onto the pavement ready to explore, he had never had so much fun. And more of that was to do with spending time with Lily than the February delights of Brighton. “You’re good company.” Which was odd because after a lifetime of sharing, on days like this he usually preferred his own.
The unwelcome mention of George, because that scoundrel had broken her heart and that single hideous fact made Evan’s blood boil, reminded him of what he had stashed in his pocket. With a shrug he pulled out the money and held it out. “Here… something to make your lovely day even better.”
She stared at the folded notes and frowned. “I don’t need your hard-earned money, Evan.”
“It’s not mine, it’s yours. Fifteen pounds, three shillings and sixpence to be exact. I liberated it from that snake you had a lucky escape from.” Then, embarrassed to be sounding so fierce and proprietorial all of a sudden, he shrugged as he thrust it in her hand. “It won’t make up for what he did to you but it’s something at least. If nothing else, it’ll certainly help pay for that new frock you’ve got planned.” She gazed at the cash dumbfounded, then up at him as if she couldn’t quite work out what he was about. “For what it’s worth, I think that George is an idiot to have chosen her over you.”
Then Lily smiled and shook her head, her fingers stroking his cheek. “And for what it’s worth, I think you are rather splendid actually, Evan Temple. So splendid, I think I am going to have kiss you again.”
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