Annabellea clapped one hand over her mouth to stifle the sound and the other to her trim belly trying to hold in her laughter.
“I shouldn’t be too loud, people will come over to find out what we’re talking about and ruin our conversation.” She joked looking back at the ball room full of people.
That pulled Colin out of his idleness. He needed to know how she felt about titles before someone stupidly told her who he was.
“And what about a title? Should I introduce you to a Viscount? A second son? Do you have a preference?” He tried again to make his tone light but he would be a fool not to acknowledge how much importance he put on her answer to this question.
She laughed again, it was delicious, there was no other word for it.
“Goodness, how mercenary we sound. Actually I was thinking about that as I was getting dressed tonight. I really don’t want a title.”
Colin felt his heart stop. That was not what he had expected her to say and neither was he feeling the relief he should have been feeling.
“I don’t have the bloodlines to attract a title,” she continued, oblivious to his distress, “and I don’t have a dowry for a second son to enjoy so I suppose I was hoping for a man who would be able to look after my family but also overlook my faults.” Her eyes dropped self consciously but before he could correct her about how few her faults were, she jumped in again. “Oh, and I don’t want him to be over forty and I want him to be gentle.”
Colin laughed, what else could he do? She had the funniest list he had ever heard. She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen and she thought she should try to engage the attentions of a man in trade who would be nice to her but not be old. Goodness she was frank.
Annabelle stared at him and hoped he was laughing with her, not at her.
“So?” She asked.
“Do you know anyone who could be all these things,” she asked coyly, sliding her eyes over to him in a way that made his blood run both hot and cold. Was she suggesting that he put his hat in the ring? Or was she asking if he truly thought he knew someone good enough for her? Either way, he felt ill.