“Say, how is it that you managed to keep your dress so nice while traveling all the way here?”
“I do own more than one gown.”
He frowned. “I never suggested otherwise.”
“Yes, you did. You asked how I managed to keep my dress so nice while traveling, thus implying it is the only gown I own.”
He blinked at her. Beautiful, tart-tongued, mindful of her appearance and intelligent, she was a combination that could prove deadly to a gentleman's pride, to be sure. “You arrived with nothing more than that dress and bonnet and the papers in your hands. What was I supposed to think? That you'd already had all of your earthly possessions moved into Watson Estate last week?”
She didn't so much as frown at his sarcastic remark. “Perhaps I should have done that.” She lifted her hand to stare down at her flawlessly manicured fingers. “Instead, my items are being delivered to your cottage right now, I expect.”
Henry pulled the horses to a halt. “I beg your pardon.”
She lowered one hand then brought the other up for inspection. “My things, they're being delivered to your cottage. Since it's you I'm marrying and not your brother, there's no reason to have them delivered to his house.”
Henry tried not to grind his teeth but could help it no longer when she shrugged and dropped her hand as casual as could be.
“Where are we going?” she asked, her hand clutching the fabric of her skirt as if it were a lifeline.
“Back to the house,” Henry bit off. He steered their horses into a large patch of thick green grass and then turned them in a slow circle, heedless to how much it jostled Her Highness as she sat mounted atop Lightning as if she were a queen waiting to be presented before all of her subjects.
“There's no need to rush back. I'm sure Brutus and Alfred have it well in hand.”
He was bloody sure they did, but he didn't want her things in his house. He came to an abrupt halt. “Do you plan to spend your nights in my house—and in my bed—too?”
“Absolutely not.” She lifted her chin a notch. “I am still a lady. I shall sleep at the main house until our wedding, but there was no sense in moving all of my things twice.”
Or once. The next time he saw Elijah, he was going to box his ear for this. “Won't you need your clothes—” The rest of his sentence died on his tongue as a truly wicked thought formed in his mind. “Perhaps it's for the best your things are being moved to my lodgings and not Alex's house. As it would be, Alex and his wife, Caroline, are in London right now, leaving Watson Estate with a skeleton staff and no lady's maids. At least if you stay with me, I can help you dress each morning.”
“If that's what you think you need to do.”