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For a disorienting moment, Hannibal saw two Wills—one in a gentleman’s proper gear, the other in a beautiful, expensive day gown with a parasol shielding her from the sun, her glossy dark curls piled atop her head and a smirk on her full mouth.
It was the smirk that startled him, rather more full of viciousness than Hannibal expected, and it immediately put him off. He stepped closer to Will without being aware of it, tensing in response to an unspoken threat.
“Mina,” Will breathed, every bit of love he’d ever felt for her welling to the surface. She looked so effortlessly beautiful, a petal blush on her creamy skin, her blue eyes sparkling with good health, her long lashes as curled and perfect as her dark hair.
“My sad little mirror,” she teased, reaching up with a gloved hand to cup his cheek as she always had. “We’re less alike now than we were.”
Her blue eyes flicked to Hannibal and she said, “Good afternoon, Lord Clarges.”
“Lady Rathmore,” Hannibal said, focusing on where her hand lay on Will’s cheek and how bespelled he seemed. “I’ve been anticipating meeting you for… what? Some six years, now?”
She cocked her head and laughed, a floating and contrived sound, but at least she dropped her hand.
“You must have Will in a panic with that infamous tongue of yours,” she said, smiling at them both.
“Sadly, he has not yet had the benefit of my tongue,” Hannibal said, pleased when Will blushed and Mina’s blue eyes widened just slightly in startlement. “Since I’ve returned there has been nothing but throwing of valuables, arguing, and an astonishing amount of violence.”
Mina looked pained, a thread of nervousness shading the furtive flick of her eyes from Hannibal to Will as if seeking proof of abuse on his pale skin.
With a smirk of pure relish, Hannibal added, “I have no idea how anyone survives him, frightening as he is.”
“Frightening as he is, Lord Clarges?” she asked, her voice small. Continue reading