Twin rays of sun streamed through the tall sash windows of Anna’s bedroom when she awoke the following morning. In her large, soft bed, she lay thinking of the night before and of the man whose face swam in front of her eyes. Today, she would see him again. She bit her lip to stop a smile from spreading.
Something had happened to her last night. For the first time ever a man had grabbed her attention and held it, no mean feat for anyone. Yet, Matt Cowan had done it with ease and she was glad. Perhaps it was time for her to spread her wings and feel the giddiness of being the centre of attention. Arabella did it all the time and kept a string of beaus hanging on her every word.
Anna frowned. Could she do it? Could she keep Mr. Cowan’s interest? She’d had no practise, having spent her adult life shying away from entering the marriage market. Did she have the skills to capture a husband? Did she want one?
Slowly she sat up, deep in thought. A husband? The idea wasn’t new, but neither had it been a pressing concern. Secretly she had assumed she’d be content becoming a spinster, riding her horse and being a lovable aunt to her siblings’ offspring. She hadn’t expected to be swept away by the idea of some romantic hero coming into her life. That was until Mr. Cowan looked at her with his smoky eyes. Mr. Cowan as a husband? The thought gave her a thrill, made her heart thump. Would he be the kind to let her remain herself?
Maisie breezed into the room carrying fresh towels and a jug of warm water. “Good morning, Miss. Did yer enjoy yer evenin’? I didn’t want to ask last night with the Mistress feeling so poorly. I hope she’s better this mornin’.”
Anna threw back the bedcovers and then went into the dressing room. She stripped as Maisie poured warm water into the basin. “It was interesting.” She lathered the scented soap on her arms. The aroma of lavender filled the room.
“That’s grand.” Maisie pulled open the doors of the double wardrobe. “What do yer wish to wear today, Miss?”
Donning a clean chemise, Anna observed her clothes. “My blue riding habit. I met a gentleman last night. He is calling today and we’re going riding.” Maisie’s mouth gaped. “There is no need to look like that, Maisie.”
“Eh, I’m sorry, Miss,” Maisie mumbled, helping her with the dress. “I’m surprised, that’s all.”
“Well, to be honest, I am surprised too.” Anna grinned. Anticipation bubbled up inside her. If this was the feeling when one went courting, then she could kick herself for waiting so long to begin.
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