Gemma scanned the room for a glimpse of Sir Wilde. Her brother had only just allowed her to return to London this week. For whatever reason, he had convinced her parents of the necessity of the prolonged absence. They fully agreed that she should retire to the country estate for a time, to recuperate from her episode with the man they deemed below her station.
She wished she had never told her lady’s maid of what had transpired between her and Sir Wilde. The disloyal girl had turned right around and passed the information directly to Gemma’s brother, Hawke. Enraged, he had stormed from the house to find the offending gentleman to teach him some manners.
To Gemma’s recollection, Wilde’s manner was altogether perfect. She closed her eyes and remembered, replaying the stolen moments they had shared. A wistful sigh escaped her lips before she could stop it.
“My lady, please,” Hawke whispered beside her, tightening his grasp on her arm. “Remember yourself.”
“I am remembering, my lord.” She cast a sidelong glance at her brother and wriggled her arm against his grip. “If you don’t mind, I am quite certain I no longer require your assistance, and you are hurting me.”
His cold stare warned her against giving any sign of impropriety.
Hawke knew what buttons to push with Gemma. Her sense of propriety was ingrained in every fiber of her being. In fact, it was that cursed sense that had mortified her so desperately when she and Wilde had first been caught in the embrace. She’d reacted with utter shame and disgrace at the time. But her long visit to Brookshire had given her ample time to consider the matter.
Looking back on it, Gemma was certain the only thing she would have done differently was insisting Wilde lock the door. That would have solved everything.