Meet the Hero Robin Cooper in this excerpt from A Ramshackle Start:
“The guests will arrive at any moment. She must be there to greet them with me. Quickly return downstairs and do all you can to distract any guests should they arrive before we get there.”
“Very good, sir.”
Robin shooed the butler away and then slipped quietly along to Tessa’s bedchamber door. He tapped lightly. “It’s only me,” he whispered urgently.
Light footsteps rushed toward the door from inside. “What’s wrong?”
“That’s what I want to know. You’re running very late, Tessa,” he warned. “The guests could be here at any moment.”
“I know, and I am so sorry.”
The door opened a crack, revealing Tessa had at least changed into her best blue day dress. This particular one was Robin’s favorite of all. It enhanced her blue eyes and complimented her pale skin. Her dark hair seemed different today, more intricately arranged about her head. The style made her more beautiful.
She leaned her cheek against the door. “Anna needed the hem of her wedding gown mended,” she confessed.
Robin sighed, eager for this day, this wedding, to be over and done with. He leaned toward Tessa, drawn to her as he always was. “And I suppose Mama couldn’t do it, or one of the maids, so you might dress, too.”
A soft smile touched her lips. “I volunteered. I want everything perfect for Anna’s big day.”
“I am sure everything will be perfect because of your efforts,” he agreed. “But the day will not end well if you miss the beginning of the festivities.”
“Her happiness means the world to me.” Tessa let go of the door and twisted her arm behind her back awkwardly. “I’ll be down as soon as I can, I promise.”
He frowned at how she continued to twist and stretch. “What are you doing behind your back?”
She groaned softly. “I cannot reach the very last button on this gown. I should have asked a maid to come up and help me change, after all.”
Robin smiled. “If it’s just the one, I can do it for you.”
She looked surprised by his offer. “Are you sure you wouldn’t mind?”
“Not at all. I’m more than capable of buttoning you up in a pretty dress.” And would become adept at getting her out of them, once today was over, if he had his way.
“There really is just the one button.” She smiled hesitantly. “Thank you, Robin.”
“No thanks are ever needed between us,” he promised and gestured for her to turn around.
The door widened as she turned slowly, still pointing awkwardly at the row of buttons on her back.
Robin almost laughed aloud at the mess she’d made of doing herself up. She must really have been rushing to change. He cleared his throat. “There’s a bit more of a problem here than you realize.”
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