Miss Penelope Mitchell wrenched out of her best friend’s grasp and angled her head across the ballroom toward the open doors. “Where are they?”
Gloria fanned her throat. “Saint Nick is the gentleman with—”
“Found him.” The strangled words barely escaped Penelope’s suddenly dry throat. Gloria was right.
From a biological perspective, he was the finest male specimen Penelope had ever seen. And as a living, breathing woman… Good heavens.
Features: symmetrical. Jawline: chiseled. Visage: arresting. Light brown hair tumbled over a perfectly shaped head. His cravat was as white as chemists’ talcum, a subtle explosion of sharp points and soft folds designed to add elegance without distracting from the rest of the package.
And Saint Nick made one tempting package.
The hard curves of his muscled arms and wide shoulders were shown to advantage in a dashing coat of black superfine that begged to be touched. His waistcoat was the shimmery silver of magnesium, an element oft-combined with iron. She wondered if his will was just as strong.
Coal-black boots, tight-fitting buckskins, kid gloves… All he’d need to do was jingle a bell and every woman present would clamor to be his.
Every woman but Penelope.
Yes, his looks were the very definition of all that was virile and desirable in a gentleman. But his approach to life made him the last man who could hold her interest. He was an accomplished rake. A man who relied on romance to woo silly women.
The urge to spread one’s seed might be a natural male directive, but Penelope would never fawn over a man with nothing to recommend him beyond symmetrical features and pretty words. She had better things to do. Her mind preferred the comfort and excitement of her laboratory to pointless strolls down moonlit paths with a man who couldn’t hold a meaningful conversation.
Penelope cared about facts, about science, about logic. A natural philosopher would never select a mating partner based on external beauty alone.
“Uninterested,” she said abruptly. “Shall we find the dessert buffet?”