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She had not seen his face clearly before, and now Miranda stared at him, stunned by the jolt of feeling that ran through her. The man was undeniably handsome. Never before had she felt that sizzle of excitement, that elemental pull of lust or the strange, deep connection, as if somehow she knew him. Crazily, the thought that had come into her mind was that this was the man she wanted to marry.
As they rode in the carriage, Miranda considered the situation. Could the man she had rescued be the man she had been supposed to meet tonight? Was it possible that this handsome, rather charming man who was good with his fists was the Earl of Ravenscar? And what would have happened if he had not been late to the party tonight? One thing she was certain of: if this man had been there, she would not have left early!
She reached up toward him, arms outstretched, eyes wide and pleading, mouth contorted in a death grimace. She was pale, her skin white with an undertone of gray, and water coated her skin and clothes. Dark seaweed wrapped around her chest, seemingly pulling her down into the roiling water.
He reached out for her, but her hand was inches from his, and he could not move forward. He stretched, straining every fiber of his being but she remained frustratingly beyond his reach.
"Christ!" He shivered, feeling cold to the bone, and glanced around. It took a moment for him to realize where he was. He had fallen asleep sitting up in his bedroom, dressing gown wrapped around him. A bottle of brandy and a gracefully curved snifter sat on the small table beside his chair. He picked up the bottle and poured some into the glass, his hand trembling so hard that the bottle clinked against the rim.
He took a quick gulp of the drink, warming as the fiery liquid rushed down his throat and exploded in his stomach. He ran his hand back through his thick black hair and took another drink. "Why didn't you tell me?" he murmured. "I would have helped."
He was still cold, despite the aid of the brandy, and he stood up and walked over to the bed, his gait a trifle unsteady. How much had he had to drink last night? He couldn't remember. Clearly it had been enough that he had fallen asleep sitting up instead of crossing the few feet to his bed. It was no wonder, he told himself, that he had had bad dreams.
He crawled into bed, the covers having been neatly turned back by his valet before he left last night, and wrapped the blankets around him. Slowly, between the brandy and the warmth of the bedspread, his shivers slowed down, then stopped. It was June, not really that cold, even for sleeping in only one's dressing gown, but Devin knew that his bone- chilling coldness had less to do with the temperature than with his most persistent and discomfiting nightmare.
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