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10

Ten minutes later he went down the steps of Number Twelve, crossed the street, and started through the small park in the center of the square. He was not in what anyone would term a pleasant mood.

Louisa was a correspondent for the Flying Intelligencer. That piece of information had come out of nowhere, blindsiding him. He had never heard of a female reporter, let alone one who did her work from inside exclusive circles.

Astounding as her career was, it did explain much of what had made him curious in recent days, including her secretive forays in the Wellsworth and Hammond households and her interest in Hastings. It also explained the unfashionable gowns, the spectacles, and the boring conversation at every social event she attended. Louisa had gone to great lengths to make certain that people did not take any notice of her. Like it or not, however, she was going to lose some of her precious anonymity now that her name was linked with his. He wondered how she would deal with that.

He walked through a stand of trees and found himself in a small clearing in the middle of the park. He passed two green wrought-iron benches and a statue of a nymph. On the far side of the greenery he crossed another street, turned a corner, and entered a narrow lane. When he emerged onto a busy street, he briefly considered and then discarded the notion of whistling for a hansom cab. He needed to work off some of the frustration Louisa’s bargain had sparked.

He did not want her to be involved in this affair, but it seemed there was no other choice. She had made it clear that she would pursue the investigation of Hastings with or without his assistance. The only thing he could do now was keep an eye on her. That would probably not be easy, he decided.


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