KIND EYES AND A LION’S HEART
Later that night, Melvin sighed wearily as he sat on the bed to remove his boots. He’d let his squire stay in the hall to enjoy the rest of the evening’s festivities, provided Alphonse was up and ready to leave at first light. He was tired, he’d said, and wanted a good night’s sleep.
He was tired, in no small part because he found trying to make small talk with Lady Sylvia difficult and tedious. Like many a well-bred young lady, she barely said a word, leaving all the conversation up to him. While there was much he might have talked about – the hall, the fortifications, Lord Percival’s fine horses, the crops, the weather – he’d confined himself to the subjects Barengar said women preferred, like clothing and jewelry, and been bored beyond belief.
As was the young lady, who made no effort to hide her yawns or, as the meal wore on, her disgruntled expression. He’d been tempted to remind her that she had sought him out, not the other way around. He wasn’t that desperate for female companionship that he’d be grateful for whatever crumb of attention she deigned to give him.
When he compared how he’d felt in Lady Sylvia’s company with how he’d felt when he was with Viola...it was just as well he was leaving in the morning.
The door to the chamber suddenly flew open, banging hard against the wall, and Barengar strode into the room. He came to a halt, his hands on his hips. “What the devil did you say to Lady Anne?” he demanded, glaring.
Melvin rose and faced him squarely. “I told her about you, as you asked.”
His brows lowering even more, Barengar crossed his arms. “What exactly did you tell her about me?”
Melvin went to the washstand and poured some water from the ewer into the basin. “The sort of thing I’d thought you’d want me to tell her. How your family is friends with king and so on.”
“Then why did the woman barely speak to me tonight?”
“Maybe she was worried about Lady Viola,” Melvin replied before he dipped his hands in the water and rinsed his flushed face.
The basin suddenly went flying across the room, drenching him with water.
“You little toad!” Barengar snarled as Melvin stumbled back, swiping at his eyes. “I know you said something stupid! You always do!”
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Note: This novella is PG13. With the exception of GWYNETH AND THE THIEF and THE WASTREL, my books are usually steamier.