The Legend of Lyon Redmond

By: Julie Anne Long

Le Chat was the rather melodramatic name given a pirate who had for a time been the scourge of the sea and the talk of ballrooms and salons. No one knew his true identity—his name might be Edgar, for all anyone knew—but he’d been rather quiet lately, as befit his slinky, enigmatic namesake. Some time ago, the Earl of Ardmay, also known as Captain Asher Flint, and his first mate, Lord Lavay, had been charged by the king to bring him to justice. They had failed to do it, and had thereby forfeited an enormous reward.

Instead, the earl had married Violet Redmond, and Lord Lavay had just married his housekeeper, Mrs. Elise Fountain.

Olivia wasn’t certain whether she would categorize these events as rewards or as punishments.

“Oh, but Le Chat is a lawless pirate!” Mademoiselle Lilette exclaimed. “Oui? Surely not a hero?”

“Nevertheless, I would like to shake his hand. For he seems to have found the only thing that vanquishes immorality and greed: fear.”

“But ’e might ravish you if you shake his hand. It is what pirates do, non?”

“Well, I couldn’t say for certain, as I do not move in the same circles with pirates.”

Ravish. Another very French word.

Another word that belonged to her past.

Though the ravishing had been rather mutual, then.

She only realized she’d stirred restlessly when Mademoiselle Lilette implored, “Please be still, Miss Eversea.”

“Sorry, sorry. I haven’t heard of any new Le Chat attacks. Though I haven’t kept up on the news during wedding preparations, which have lasted nearly my entire life, by my calculations. Worth it, of course,” she added hurriedly, lest she wound any delicate dressmaker feelings. Ever conscious of how very fortunate she was.

Mademoiselle Lilette clucked soothingly. “You will be so happy when the talk is of how beautiful you look in your dress. Perhaps Le Chat, the pirate, ’e is dead.”

“Seems likely. I imagine most pirates go into pirating with the full awareness they likely won’t expire in their beds from old age.”

“Still, if Le Chat is dead, your work is needed. For every woman should have passions. I am certain your fiancé the viscount admires this quality a great deal and feels himself fortunate indeed.”

It was another particularly, irritatingly French thing to say. Passion.

Another word that Olivia had managed to dodge for some years now.

Passion was now synonymous with pain and she wanted none of it.

“I don’t think my fiancé would consider it a . . . passion,” she said carefully.

“No? But surely such a thing is important to you? Your work weez ze poor, and such?”

Mademoiselle Lilette sounded genuinely confused.

“Well, certainly. But I suspect he categorizes it along with embroidery and pianoforte playing. He minds it as much as those things—that is to say, pays little notice. To him, it’s just . . . something I do.”

“Ah. Rather than something you are?”

The dressmaker made this startling, incisive observation as casually as she’d pinned the next inch of hem.

“Oui,” Olivia said finally.

Chapter 3

“OLIVIA . . . I THINK THOSE are your brothers.”

Colin and Ian Eversea were, indeed, standing in front of Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, looking conspicuous, both because they were so tall and handsome and so alike, and because they were having what appeared like an earnest discussion, perhaps even an argument, complete with emphatic hand gestures.

Pedestrians eddied around them, heads turning to admire them as they passed. Her brothers would be turning heads well into their nineties, Olivia suspected. Her heart squeezed a little. She was so very proud of both of them. Both had been a bit wild when they returned from the war, and now both were happily married, Colin to the lovely Madeline of whom he was tenderly protective, Ian to the startling and very pretty American heiress who had caused an uproar in Pennyroyal Green and had, in fact, given even Olivia pause, which was very difficult to do, as Olivia’s social supremacy had remained unchallenged for a very long time.

“Yes. Well, it’s two of them, anyway.” Olivia thought their appearance was a little too coincidental. “You didn’t happen to mention to them that we might be going to Ackermann’s, did you? When you stopped in at St. James Square.”

She knew they were worried about her. They had watched the house fill with flowers every day from suitors who hadn’t a prayer of getting her attention. They had seen the betting books at White’s fill with wager after wager, making a game of her presumed heartbreak. Presumed, because no one had ever said a word to her overtly about it, and she’d certainly never confessed to such a thing.

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