Home > Her Best Worst Mistake (Elizabeth and Violet #2)(2)

Her Best Worst Mistake (Elizabeth and Violet #2)(2)
Sarah Mayberry

“As a matter of fact, that was exactly what I was doing. I happen to admire the Foundation’s work a great deal.”

“Plus he’s a member of the Savage Club,” Violet murmured. “Or perhaps you’ve already found someone to second your nomination for membership?”

Martin’s cheeks turned a dull shade of brick red. “I’m sorry if my attempts to better my lot in life seem crass to you, Violet. Not all of us have the benefit of being born into the upper echelons.”

His blunt rebuttal to her veiled dig made her feel small and petty. She opened her mouth to return like for like but Elizabeth’s hand rested on her wrist.

“Might I suggest a ceasefire? Just for the evening?”

Her tone was light but her eyes were beseeching as they met Violet’s. Suddenly Violet felt ashamed of herself for baiting Martin.

She wasn’t sure why she’d gone out of her way to piss him off. It wasn’t as though he’d done anything to provoke her. Except breathe, of course.

Swallowing the last of her champagne, she abandoned her flute in the pot of a nearby fern, earning her yet another reproving look from Martin.

“Why don’t I make it easier on everyone and head off to this party of mine?” she said. “You two will have much more fun without me hanging around.”

Elizabeth’s expression dropped and Violet immediately felt like a heel for deserting her friend at this dull-as-dishwater affair. She forced herself to look at Martin.

“You should sneak out of here, too, and take E somewhere fun. Reward her for being such a stoic.”

Martin started to protest, then caught sight of Elizabeth’s face.

“You’re bored?” he asked.

“No. Of course not. This is fun,” Elizabeth said with a quick smile.

Violet waited for Martin to take her at her word and plow on with his own plans for the evening, but instead he frowned.

“Why am I not convinced?”

Elizabeth wrinkled her nose. “Because I’m a terrible actor?”

Martin smiled, the slow curve of his mouth revealing a dimple in his left cheek.

Violet frowned, as she did every time she saw that dimple.

It didn’t belong on his face. It was as simple as that. Dimples were impish and mischievous. They spoke of laughter and pleasure, not three piece suits and pipes and slippers and cardigans with elbow patches.

“If you want to go somewhere else, we can,” Martin said. “I’ve spoken to everyone I need to.”

“We could get a drink somewhere. There’s that new bar near your place,” Elizabeth suggested.

“Why not?” he said easily.

“Great. If you’re heading for Bloomsbury you can drop me at Tottenham Court Station on the way through,” Violet said breezily.

Ignoring Martin’s frown, she tucked her arm through Elizabeth’s and started walking toward the exit. He might want to protest, but he was too much the gentleman to deny her request—and she wasn’t enough of a lady to be above using his better instincts against him.

They stopped to collect their coats and handbags from the cloak room before following Martin to the vintage Jaguar sedan that was his pride and joy. Wordlessly he held the rear door open and she gave him a cheeky smile as she ducked past him and into the car.

“Cheer up. It’s not too far, then you’ll be rid of me.”

His mouth tightened but he didn’t say anything.

At the ripe old age of twenty-nine, she should probably have grown out of goading people for sport, but for some reason she never tired of poking Martin with a stick to see how long it would take before he growled and snapped.

“Where’s this party of yours?” Martin asked as he slid into the driver’s seat and started the car.

She was busy rummaging in her handbag for the black camisole she’d stuffed in there earlier and she glanced at him in surprise.

“You’re not driving me all the way there. It’s the other side of town.”

There was a question in her voice, and for the first time that night he smiled at her, his eyes meeting hers in the rear view mirror.

“You’re right, I’m not. I’m just trying to work out if Tottenham Court is the best place to drop you.”

“It is. Trust me.”

“I’m afraid I’m not nearly that naive.”

“I think we might have to agree to disagree on that one. By the way, you might want to keep your eyes on the road for the next few minutes.”

“Sorry?”

She slipped her arms from her coat sleeves. “I need to get changed.”

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