Page 57 of The Doctor and the Libertine (The Merry Misfits of Bath 5)

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Rayne smiled at Edwin trying so hard to hold in his grin.

“You are very well mannered, Miss Garfield. May I ask you to call me Uncle Edwin?”

She looked at him as if she was making a huge decision. “Yes. That is acceptable. And you may call me Donna.”

The three adults burst into laughter, but it was apparent Donna did not find anything at all funny.

Rayne took Donna’s hand. “We have hired a governess for you. Why don’t we go on upstairs and meet her? I can have tea sent up for the two of you.”

The girl looked a bit bewildered.

Natalie went down on one knee and looked directly into the girl’s face. “A governess is someone who will take care of you and teach you your lessons.”

“Come,” Rayne said. “Your mother and I will walk you up to meet Mrs. Moorhead. I think you will really like her.”

Once they got the little girl settled and began their trek downstairs, Rayne said, “With Christmas several weeks away, we’re expecting house guests to join us in a few weeks and stay through the holidays.”

Natalie immediately blanched.

“Is something wrong?” Rayne asked.

“No. It’s just that it’s been quite some time since I’ve socialized. I’m not sure I know what to do, what to say.”

They made their way into the drawing room where Edwin had ordered tea to be sent. After they all settled in, with Rayne fixing everyone’s tea the way they liked it, she said. “You have nothing to be concerned about. You will love my guests. They are women from Bath who call themselves—”

“—And you, too, my love,” Edwin added with a warm smile.

“—Yes. That is true. We are the Merry Misfits of Bath. They started out as three somewhat rebellious l

adies avoiding the London social scene, eschewing marriage. Now we are five, and all have married and have started their families.”

Natalie eyed Rayne’s stomach. “And you as well, dear sister.” She continued to stir her tea and kept her eyes on her hand. “I, on the other hand, believe that except for my daughter, marriage was the most disastrous thing I ever did in my whole life.”

With those startling words, she picked up her teacup and took a sip of tea. Edwin and Rayne regarded each other with raised eyebrows.

The End

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