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Authors: Hazel Statham

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BOOK: Dominic
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Nonetheless, despite his res
o
lve, his
m
i
nd could not be easy. Even after changing his raiment and partaking of a hearty,
if
so
m
e
what
late
breakfast,
his
thoughts
could
not
be
free
of
the
girl
and
her
plight
.
However
,
he
was
prevented
from
taking
any
action
by
W
r
oxh
a
m
arriving and d
e
m
anding that he acco
m
pany him to a horse race which was to take place on the downs at four o’clock.

Even though Vale attempted to cry off, Wroxham
would
not
be
shaken
from his
course
and
endeavored
to push the issue.

“Thought
it
would
be
just
in your
line,
Do
m
i
nic,”
he reproved,
taken
aback
by
his
f
r
iend’s lack
of enthusiasm for the proposed outing.

W
hat has occurred to put you so out of fr
a
m
e
?
Thought it
m
ight
give you a chance to win back so
m
e blunt. However, if you have a
m
i
nd not to acco
m
pany
m
e,
I
will
g
o
alone. Be
s
i
des,
I
would
not
wish your co
m
p
a
ny if you present so sour a de
m
eanor, ‘twould spoil t
h
e sp
o
r
t.”

“D
a
m
n
you,
John, I’ll
co
m
e,”
grinned
the
e
arl reluctantly.

I
have
needs
of
an
outing
to
redress
my
mood. Though whether I will prove good co
m
pany I know not.
My
pockets
are
co
m
pletely
to
let
now
and
I
don’t even possess a guinea to
m
y n
a
m
e. However, I know you will be delighted
by the in
f
or
m
ati
o
n that I have at la
s
t broken with La Belle.”

“Ho, found a
replace
m
ent
h
a
ve
you
?

bea
m
ed
W
r
oxh
a
m. “About ti
m
e. I wish you joy of her.”

“Not
exactly,
but
I
am sure
one
will
present
herself
in ti
m
e,
of
that
I
have
no
doubt.
Had
a
surfeit
of
petticoats for
the
m
o
ment,
I
am in
more
immediate
need
of
rest
o
ring my finances.”

“Then you co
m
e
?

“I co
m
e!”

 

*****

 

Reaching
the
downs
with
barely
fifteen
minutes
to
spare
b
efore
the
start
of
the
race,
b
o
th
W
roxh
a
m
and
Vale were
hailed
by
various
acquai
n
tances
as
they
rode a
m
ongst
the
crowd
of
spectators
that
had
converged
on the gently r
olling grassland, eager for the
contest to begin.


Fitzwilliam
and
Reid
finally
make
a
match
of
it
,” called
a
young
noble
m
a
n
from
t
h
e
comfort
of
his
chaise, as
he
waited
along
with
his cronies.
“Care to
lay
a
wager, Vale
?

“Keep
your
m
oney,
Drum
m
ond,”
r
eplied
the
e
arl,
as he rode up to the carriage and acknowledged the three friends. “Everyone
knows
Reid
to
have
the
superior
nag. Can’t understand Fitz taking the wager.”

“Has
so
much
blunt
he
don’t
care,”
assured Drum
m
ond. “
W
ill do anything for so
m
e sport. Dam
m
e if he
didn’t
bet
on
two
’roaches at
his
club
last
night,
never seen anyone so eager to part with their
m
oney. Still, there are those
m
o
re than willing to take it, though I could never see the sport of
m
oney
s
o easily won.”

“Then you have never been in need,” scoffed Vale.


Hear
tell
you’re on your uppers
a
fter
last
night
though
, my
lord
,
” mocked Drummond, smarting at his
friend’s tone. “They say it’s pockets-to-let with you.”


That
shows
how
little
they
know
me
,

responded
Vale.
Turning
his
m
ount
away
f
r
om the
carriage,
he cantered to what was both t
h
e start and finishing line, where
W
r
oxham
awaited
hi
m
,
along
with
several
others
eager
for the commencement of proceedings
.
W
ithin
m
i
nutes, the race had begun, the crowd cheering from varying
vantage
points
as the two opponents galloped headlong along the chosen course. Each in turn took the lead
until
a
few
yards
before the
finish,
Reid’s
m
ount surged forward, taking the line. Reid, standing in his stirrups, loudly proclai
m
ed
his
victory
whil
s
t
Fitzwilliam followed grinning
good-hu
m
oredly
. “An excellent outing my
friend,”
he
hailed.
“Had
it been but ten yards further, I
swear I would have had you
.
What say you to a re
-
m
a
t
ch
?

“Enough,” cried Reid, dis
m
ounting and slackening his girths. “My mount is spent. I will push him
no further.”

“Then
we
will
m
ake
it
another
day,
what
s
ay
you
to
Tuesday week?”

“I leave for Paris on the
m
orrow and know not when I return,” replied
Reid. “If you wou
l
d but hold the wager until then, I will gladly
o
blig
e
?”

“Tis
done,”
said
Fitzwilliam
bringing
his
horse alongside
Reid
and
bending
from the
saddle
to
clasp
his outstretc
h
ed hand.

W
e
will
m
ake
a
proper
m
a
tch
of
it, what say you to ten
m
iles?
Do you have a good enough piece
of
h
orseflesh
to accept
such
a
challe
n
ge?
One thousand guineas to the winner.”

Reid
looked
doubtful.
“I
would
not
push
anything
I have in
m
y stables to atte
m
p
t that distance. Could we not
m
ake it five
?

“I
will
take
the
ten,
Fitz,” hai
led the e
arl unexpectedly. “I
have
a
fine
piece
of
blood
in
my
stables,
ga
m
e
for
anything.”

A
sea
of
faces
t
u
rned
toward
him as
he
rode
up
to Fitzwillia
m
.
“I
will
take
your
wager,”
he
said
extending his hand, which Fitzwilliam
took with so
m
e alacrity.

BOOK: Dominic
11.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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