Nicholas by Elizabeth Amber

By Elizabeth Amber

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It was unlikely he would know her by sight. She would be hiding any outward manifestations that might betray her parentage, as he did. No, he would have to rely on scent alone. Pausing at the base of the steep steps leading to the gigantic Water Organ fountain, he looked toward the statue of Bacchus, seeking inspiration. Instinct had him turning to stroll the Avenue of One Hundred Fountains. Here mythological creatures and gargoyles lined the path, spouting and sputtering with cascading waterworks.

Lady Hillbrook discreetly nudged her husband with a satin-covered elbow. “One hundred cases here,” Lord Hillbrook was prompted to add. ” Signore Rossini asked. Hillbrook nodded, rocking on his heels. “English laws are quite set against sales of the bottled stuff, you know. ” He moved his walking stick toward Nick’s calf as though to nudge him conspiratorially. He wisely thought better of it and merely asked, “I suppose you’ll be asking an obscene amount for your vintage this year, eh? ” Nick tensed.

Nick asked. His Italian was shaded with a slight accent, she’d noted. But the language sounded comfortable on his tongue and was most likely his native one. His English was fluent but less certain. She guessed he’d been schooled in England or by an English tutor, at any rate. The commanding timbre of his voice indicated he was a man accustomed to having his demands met, which implied he was wealthy. “Jane,” she replied. He settled back in his seat with a smugly amused expression. ” Signorina Rossini looked puzzled.

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