An apron over her morning dress, Sophie ambled around the garden, dead-heading flowers and cutting a bouquet for the dining room table centerpiece. Dropping a zinnia in her basket, she took a deep breath of perfume-scented air and tried to sort out her thoughts.
It had been a week since Jonathan had shown up unexpectedly. Her aunt had absolutely refused to discuss any possibility of meeting the young man again. He’d broken one of the first rules of the ton–never be alone with a young lady of breeding. No matter how much she protested that the maid had been in the room, Lady Bently would not be swayed.
Sophie snipped another zinnia and brought it to her nose. She sniffed the floral perfume and wondered if the scent was real. After her visit to Jane in her dreams the night before, she had to wonder.
What an amazing world Jane lived in. No rules. But no one seemed to care about each other, either. Jane was desperate and there was no one to help her.
But she didn’t know the first thing about being kissed.
Sophie tossed the bloom in the basket and wandered to the gazebo at the back of the garden. This was her favorite section, hidden from the back door of the mansion, out of sight of prying eyes and nagging aunts.
God, she was sick of it. She’d grown up free and easy on her father’s farm. No one had cared if her nails were dirty or her hair mussed. She’d ride bareback over her father’s fields, the sun warm on her face, the strength of the horse beneath her, gathering it’s power to leap a stone fence.
At least that’s what she thought her childhood had been. Or was it all a fiction, something made up whole cloth by Jane?
Was Sophie even real?
Remembering her response to Jane, Sophie pinched herself.
Real enough, then.
But she had no idea what it was like to be kissed. How was she supposed to imagine it? The plan had seemed like a good idea when she’d suggested it to Jane, but now? Ridiculous.
Sophie pulled up her knees under her skirt, thankful once again that no one could see her. She leaned against the gazebo wall and tried to imagine what it would be like to be kissed. Her eyes closed and she let herself drift into a scene with Jonathan by her side.
She could almost smell the citrus scent that accompanied him into any room.
Would Jane take over?