“What did she do?” Colin asked.
“Oh, it was nothing,” Penelope replied, even though her expression was rather peeved. “You weren’t there, but the morning of the wedding she kept apologizing for keeping secrets, and it never even occurred to me that she was trying to get me to admit to keeping secrets of my own. Made me feel wretched, she did.”
Her voice trailed off as she read through another page. Colin leaned back against the fluffy pillows, his eyes resting on his wife’s face. He liked watching her eyes move from left to right, following the words. He liked watching her lips move as she smiled or frowned. It was rather amazing, actually, how contented he felt, simply watching his wife read.
Until she gasped, that was, and turned utterly white.
He shoved himself up on his elbows. “What is it?”
Penelope shook her head and groaned. “Oh, she is devious.”
Privacy be damned. He grabbed the letter. “What did she say?”
“Down there,” Penelope said, pointing miserably at the bottom. “At the end.”
Colin brushed her finger away and began to read. “Good Lord, she’s wordy,” he muttered. “I can’t make heads or tails of it.”
“Revenge,” Penelope said. “She says my secret was bigger than hers.”
“She says she’s owed a boon.”
Colin pondered that. “She probably is.”
“To even the score.”
He patted her hand. “I’m afraid that’s how we Bridgertons think. You’ve never played a sporting game with us, have you?”
Penelope moaned. “She said she is going to consult Hyacinth. ”
Colin felt the blood leave his face.
“I know,” Penelope said, shaking her head. “We’ll never be safe again.”
Colin slid his arm around her and pulled her close. “Didn’t we say we wanted to visit Italy?”
He smiled and kissed her on the nose. “Or we could just stay here.”
“At the Rose and Bramble?”
“We’re supposed to depart tomorrow morning. It’s the last place Hyacinth would look.”
Penelope glanced up at him, her eyes growing warm and perhaps just a little bit mischievous. “I have no pressing engagements in London for at least a fortnight.”
He rolled atop her, tugging her down until she was flat on her back. “My mother did say she would not forgive us unless we produced a grandchild.”
“She did not put it in quite so uncompromising terms.”
He kissed her, right on the sensitive spot behind her earlobe that always made her squirm. “Pretend she did.”
“Well, in that case—oh!”
His lips slid down her belly. “Oh?” he murmured.
“We had best get to—oh!”
He looked up. “You were saying?”
“To work,” she just barely managed to get out.
He smiled against her skin. “Your servant, Mrs. Bridgerton. Always.”