A lady forgotten by all...
Ruby St. Augustin must find the truth of her past to determine what her future holds. She only has a short time in London to uncover the identity of her real father and the secrets behind her birth. If anyone learns of her mission, she will disgrace everyone she holds dear. What she doesn’t expect is to draw the attention of a man who doesn’t care about his reputation or her past.
A man mesmerized by one...
Ruby took a deep breath before trying the final drawer that could hold all the answers to her past, her true heritage. Her lungs expanded; she held the air inside. She didn’t exhale until it burned. With trembling fingers, she reached for the last drawer and pulled.
Her nicely trimmed nails nearly snapped when her grasp on the handle slipped from the force of her tug. The drawer hadn’t budged.
“Oh, poppy cocks!” she hissed. Moving her hands to the folds of her evening gown, Ruby procured a small pouch tucked neatly into a hidden pocket. Setting it on the desk, she pulled out her array of lock-picking devices, really only hairpins and small wires she’d collected since her first night—and her first failed attempt at breaking into a desk—to help her disengage the drawer.
She had to know what secrets this lord held. Would she find an envelope inside labelled ‘Abandoned Daughter,’ or a report from the Bow Street Runners with details about herself—her hair color, the particular green shade of her eyes, places she’d been, perhaps the details of her activities over the course of her life?
Ruby was anything but a fool, but she found herself continuing to search regardless. She didn’t need a signed confession—she just needed that letter opener.
Picks in hand, she knelt before the locked drawer and eyed the keyhole, blowing a wayward strand of hair that had fallen across her face. She’d been unsuccessful more often than not when attempting to open locked drawers. But luck may have been on her side this evening. She’d entered the ball with little fuss, shortly after the host and hostess had quit the receiving line. It was surprising how similar the layout of most London townhouses were. Ruby had navigated the halls of the second floor and found the room she sought fairly quickly, encountering not a soul.
The pins slipped into the lock and her tongue darted out of her mouth to lick her lips as she concentrated on moving them exactly right to click the lock over. She fought to keep her hands steady when sweat broke out across her forehead. She was running out of time.
Ruby applied a bit too much pressure and the pin snapped, falling uselessly into the locked drawer. “Damn you to hell, mother!” she cursed and sat back, wiping her slick brow.
She’d always viewed herself as a sensible girl, a dutiful daughter, and an honest friend. She could only imagine the horror on Vi’s face if she saw her now. A common thief. A midnight prowler. A defiler of privacy.
Although, it could not be helped.
“Sherry, Miss Ruby?” an oddly familiar voice asked behind her.
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