“Say something, Tessa.” Jem’s voice shook. “I fear that you think that I regret that night. I do not.” His thumb brushed over her wrist, the bare skin between the cuff of her dress and her glove. “I only regret that it came too soon. I—I would have wanted to—to court you first. To take you driving, with a chaperon.”
“A chaperon?” Tessa laughed despite herself.
He went on determinedly. “To tell you of my feelings first, before I showed them. To write poetry for you—”
“You don’t even like poetry,” Tessa said, her voice catching on a half laugh of relief.
“No. But you make me want to write it. Does that not count for anything?”
Tessa’s lips curled into a smile. She leaned forward and looked up into his face, so close to hers that she could make out each individual silvery eyelash on his lids, the faint white scars on his pale throat where once there had been Marks. “That sounds almost practiced, James Carstairs. How many girls have you made swoon with that observation?”
“There is only one girl I care to make swoon,” he said. “The question is, does she?”
She smiled at him. “She does.”
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