Second Sons of London

As Spencer strode quick­ly along the pave­ment, he saw up ahead a woman turn the cor­ner and head in the same direc­tion he did. Rec­og­niz­ing her by her cloak as his neigh­bor, Spencer decid­ed to catch up to her and intro­duce him­self. He won­dered if she were the count­ess or one of the daugh­ters of the house­hold. It would be con­ve­nient if she were a daugh­ter and he came to know her even before the Sea­son began. She might make for a good count­ess. Already, he knew she enjoyed dai­ly exer­cise. She moved with pur­pose. If she were intel­li­gent and could hold a decent con­ver­sa­tion, his work would be done. He could offer for her before the Sea­son even began and not have to go through all the motions of court­ing a woman.

He had almost caught up to her when a fig­ure stepped out, bran­dish­ing a knife. In the still of the morn­ing, the thief’s voice car­ried as he said, “Gimme your coin, my lady. Now.”

Spencer start­ed to run as the woman replied, “I have none with me but I live just ahead. Come eat some­thing and we can talk.”

Was she mad—asking a rob­ber to dine with her?

He reached the pair and knocked the knife from the young thief’s hand before sound­ly punch­ing the bas­tard in the face. The boy crum­pled to the ground.

Turn­ing to the lady, expect­ing her grat­i­tude, he was stunned when she slammed her palms into his chest, knock­ing him back. Spencer stum­bled a moment and then regained his balance.

What the bloody hell did you just do?” she demanded.

Wh-what do you mean?” he sput­tered. “I just saved you, Woman.”

Saved me?” Her bright blue eyes flashed in anger at him. “From this poor girl?”

Girl?

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