You are cordially invited to tour the British Museum–where in each room you’ll find a secret romance waiting to be discovered. Four acclaimed authors of Regency historical novels tell the exciting tales of lovers who found their happily ever after amid the art and artifacts. Treasures—and pleasures—await!
In MICHELLE MARCOS’s Bad Luck Encounter – Anyone would think that a bookish spinster with bad eyesight has had her share of bad luck. But when “accidents” begin to happen just as her younger sister is trying to find a husband, Isha Elmwood spots the perpetrator: Mr. Bad Luck himself. Trouble is, she’s the only one who can see him. Isha must find a way to put a stop to this handsome knave without subjecting herself to the worst luck of all: losing her heart.
Reviews for An Encounter at the Museum
”Delightful and charming!”
–Serious Romance Reader, on Amazon
“The pleasant surprise for me was Michelle Marcos. She is a new author for me and I did like the message in Bad Luck Encounter.”
Kathy, on Goodreads
“I loved all four of these short stories, and actually cried whilst reading the last one.”
Elaine, on Goodreads
“When I want a great historical romance, I’ll reach for anything by Michelle Marcos!”
—LISA KLEYPAS, New York Times bestselling author
The man in the red cravat walked unhindered past the crowd that had gathered around the Harknesses.
This time, Isha would not let him out of her sight.
She trotted after him, past the mortified Baroness Windigate, who raced to see what had flung her party into disrepute yet again. Now Isha was sure that he had done this on purpose. These pranks were something she’d expect of a slobbering, bucktoothed adolescent boy, not a well-dressed, full-grown gentleman who ought to know better. Indignation welled up within her, and she meant to give him a piece of her mind.
The man stepped through the French doors toward the balcony, and Isha remained in pursuit. The chill evening breeze cooled her face as she stepped out of the sweltering ballroom and into the fresh air.
No one was there.
She walked the entire breadth of the veranda, which stretched the length of the ballroom. She searched behind all of the potted yew trees that lined the walls between each pair of doors. He was gone.
Puzzled, Isha leaned against the stone balustrade, peering out onto the darkened lawn below. Could the man have jumped? Jasmine bushes just below the balustrade perfumed the night air, but would have made for an uncomfortable landing. Where did he go?
“Looking for me?” said a voice behind her.
She spun around.
And came face to face with the man in the red cravat.
Her heart skipped a beat at his nearness. The man loomed tall above her, forming an impenetrable barrier between her and the party. Darkness cast his face into shadow, which made it even more difficult for Isha to see him. But her senses caught a whiff of lemon and sandalwood, clean and masculine.”As a matter of fact, I was. I saw what you did, sir, and I demand that you go and make your apologies to those people at once.”
“You…saw…what I did?”
“That is correct. I saw you trip that footman, and I saw you—well, I don’t know what you did to that painting, but I know you made it fall upon that poor, unsuspecting couple. You may find these childish pranks amusing, sir, but I do not. My cousin owns this house, and upon her authority, I demand that you make all necessary restitution to those you’ve maliciously injured.”
It was the last thing she expected him to do. He tilted back his head and laughed.
Anger flooded her veins. “How dare you mock me!”
His laughter diminished to a mirthful grin. “I’d no idea I had an audience! What an immense pleasure this is.”
“Only for you, I’m afraid. Your name, please.”
“My name? I don’t believe anyone’s ever asked me that.”
Isha crossed her arms at her chest. “Please do me the great courtesy of providing me with your name.”
Even though his face was indistinct, she could see him grin mischievously. “No.”
The impertinence! “Very well, then. You leave me no choice. I will summon the footmen, who will promptly throw you out. Preferably over the balustrade.”
He laughed again, a great rolling sound that came off of him in waves. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
“This time, the pleasure will be mine,” she tossed over her shoulder.
She stomped back into the ballroom, and lifted a gloved hand at a footman carrying a tray. The French door clicked shut behind her.
She pointed the man out to the footman through the panes of glass. The insufferable knave leaned arrogantly upon the balustrade, crossing his arms at his chest, daring her to do her worst.
“That man there has been unendurably rude to me. Please do me the goodness of expelling him from this house. I will inform the baroness of my reasons.”
“By all means, miss. Er, who would you like me to expel?”
“The man on the balcony.”
The footman peered through the window. ”I don’t see anyone there, miss.”
In frustration, Isha flung open one of the French doors. She pointed straight at him. “Him!”
The man in the red cravat gave the footman a jaunty wave.
The servant stared at her in bewilderment. “Forgive me, miss, but are you feeling yourself? Maybe I should bring you some coffee. Would you like me to fetch the baroness? Perhaps you’d like to lie down.”
The man in the red cravat stood up and glided to her side. “He can’t see me. Or hear me. If I were you, I’d let him continue to think you are drunk. Just pretend as if you don’t see me either. Otherwise, he’ll think you’re deranged.”
The footman continued to stare at her expectantly, even though the man was standing right next to him.
“Don’t you see this man?” she asked, panic edging her voice.
The footman spun his head around, his face mere inches from the man in the red cravat.
“I see no one, miss.”
Isha raked her eyes up and down the strange man’s form. How can this be? She could see him…feel him near. He had dimension, presence, warmth. He was as real to her as the door jamb that was now propping her up. Perhaps she was deranged after all.
She brought a hand to her chest. “I…must be…mistaken.”
The man’s silky voice snaked around her reeling senses. “Very good. Now say, ‘I’ve had too much champagne. I just need some fresh air.’”
Blood thrummed in her ears as she fought to steady her breathing. “Too much champagne,” she repeated mechanically. ”I just…fresh air.”
“Very well, miss.” The footman withdrew into the ballroom, closing the double doors.
The man strode back to the balustrade and hopped up upon it. “I imagine there must be any number of questions tumbling over themselves in your mind, the uppermost of which I shall answer first. You’re not insane.”
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