Which Stella had just handed back to him. I’m sorry. I could understand why. He was one hot boy.

Very smart of you, Benedict murmured.

You should thank your lucky stars that you have them, Sophie said, her voice more forceful than it had been all afternoon.  I’d give anything for—But she didn’t finish her sentence.

You’d give anything for what? Benedict asked, surprised by how much he wanted to hear her answer.She gazed soulfully out the window as she replied, To have a family like yours.You have no one, he said, his words a statement, not a question.

I’ve never had anyone.Not even your— And then he remembered that she’d slipped and told him that her mother had died at her birth.  Sometimes, he said, keeping his voice purposefully light and gentle, it’s not so easy being a Bridgerton.

Her head slowly turned around. I can’t imagine anything nicer.

There isn’t anything nicer, he replied, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.He nodded grimly. She has completely bypassed cajoling and moved on to guilt. Three times this week she has reminded me I may have to provide the next viscount, if Anthony here doesn't get busy.

I assume that explains your flight as well to the darkest corners of the ballroom? Benedict continued. Avoiding Mother?Actually, Anthony replied, I saw Daff skulking in the corner and—

Skulking? Benedict said with mock horror.She shot them both an irritated scowl. I came over to hide from Nigel Berbrooke, she explained. I left Mother in the company of Lady Jersey, so she's not likely to pester me anytime soon, but Nigel—

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