Vindicated by a Viscount
Georgiana rushed to the coach as it pulled away. Her shoe slipped
on the wet pavement, and she went flying onto the puddled street,
landing like a squished bird splayed on a window.
Pain seared from ankle to hip, and her gloved hands, now muddy,
stung. She was quite sure something dreadful had happened to her
right thigh. Or hip. She couldn’t tell because the radiating pain
was so intense.
Before she could attempt to put weight on her leg, someone was
lifting her. She found herself enclosed in a pair of strong arms.
Her gaze climbed to see who was attached to those arms. She was
mortified to discover she’d been assisted by an exceedingly handsome
She could not have looked worse. Not only were her previously
white gloves now soaked brown, but a mixture of tea-colored water
and mud stained her pink dress and saturated her hair.
“That was a beastly fall,” he said in a cultured voice.
Everything about his perfect face conveyed earnestness as he looked
down at her with honeyed brown eyes the same color as his stylishly
She was aware that she probably was not able to walk. “Indeed.”
“You must be in great pain.”
She hated to admit the extent of her pain. It was bad enough that
her unladylike mishap had been observed. She responded with a
“Where can I take you?”
Her sister’s home, where she’d been staying, was still closer
than her cousin’s house on Half Moon Street. “Just a few houses
back. At Montague House.”
His face went even more somber. “Are you the new Lady Montague?”
“No. That’s my sister. I’m staying with her.”
As they strode along the pavement, onlookers gawked. She wished
she could sink her face into his chest. What a sight she must be!
Even if she hadn’t looked so bedraggled, being carried along a
London Street by such a well-dressed gentleman could never have gone
unnoticed. She couldn’t meet the eyes of those who pointed at her.
Or those who snickered. Most of all, she was embarrassed by the
laughter that met them at each step. Thank the sweet heavens she
wasn’t far from Lucy’s house!
In less than a minute, he was presenting them at the shiny black
door of Montague House. The footman’s eyes widened when he swung
open the door. “Miss Beresford! Are you all right?”
The handsome man answered. “We don’t know yet. Where can I take
She answered in a commanding voice. “The drawing room, please.”
The footman led the way as her rescuer mounted the staircase and
brought her to the drawing room.
“Pray, Thompson, could you fetch something to cover the sofa?”
she asked the footman. “I shan’t wish to get it dirty. You see, I’ve
fallen and gotten quite dirty.”
“Again?” Then, embarrassed over his inappropriate comment, he
quietly added, “Forgive me. I’m deeply sorry for your latest . . .
injury. I’m off to locate a blanket or such.” He scurried from the
“I’m going to set you down now,” the man told her. “We need to
see if you’re able to stand.” He came to the blazing fire and
lowered her until she stood before the hearth.
“It hurts when you stand?” he asked.
Eyes narrowed, she frowned. “Yes, it does rather.” He surprised
her by onceagain scooping her into his arms. “I feel so ridiculous,”
Something about this man’s commanding presence intimidated her.
She wanted to protest, to insist that she did not need to be held,
but she was powerless to defy him.
A moment later, a screeching Lucy hurried into the chamber.
“What’s happened? Thompson says you’ve been hurt. Again.”
Thompson, carrying a length of linen sheeting, trailed his
mistress into the room and began to spread it over the silken sofa.
Why did everyone keep stressing her propensity to meet with
unfortunate accidents? She was embarrassed enough already in front
of the handsome stranger. He was apt to think her a deranged oaf. “I
happened to fall into the street in front of your house.” That
wasn’t exactly a lie. She did fall into the street that ran in front
of Montague House.
A shudder rippled through her petite sister. “Pray, Thompson, run
and fetch the surgeon.” Turning to Georgiana, she added, “Do you
think you’ve broken something?”
“It’s probably just a bruise. You must own, I am possessed of
strong bones. None of my falls have ever resulted in a broken bone.”
The countess’s gaze moved to the handsome man, her brows hiked in
“Allow me to introduce myself, my lady. I am Lord Churston. I was
at hand when your sister’s unfortunate accident occurred.”