KIND EYES AND A LION’S HEART
When Melvin went to the hall for the evening meal, he realized at once that Viola wasn’t there. Barengar was, seated as before at the high table, although Lord Percival and Lady Anne seemed less than happy to have him there.
His plan must have succeeded. He was sorry Viola wasn’t there because he could have at least have gazed on her from afar, but he was pleased to think he’d saved her from a disastrous marriage.
He turned to find Lady Sylvia at his elbow. She was younger than Lady Viola, and pretty in a flaunting kind of way, with pink cheeks and big blue eyes that didn’t seem particularly shrewd. She wore a gown similar to the one Viola had worn last night, and while it suited her, it made him miss Viola even more. “Good evening, Lady Sylvia. How are you? Lovely day we had, eh?”
“It was indeed a fine day. Would you mind if I joined you at your table?”
Melvin couldn’t have been more shocked if she’d asked him to draw her bath. “Sit with me? Of course! Delighted, my lady.”
Yet even as he answered with enthusiasm, his gaze was drawn again to the high table.
“Lady Viola’s not coming. She’s taken ill.”
Despite Lady Sylvia’s words, she didn’t look particularly worried, and it occurred to Melvin that illness would be a good excuse to stay away from the hall. Nevertheless, he spoke with grave concern. “Nothing serious, I hope?”
“No serious illness,” the young woman replied. “Her aunt thought it best she keep to her chamber, though.”
He wondered if Lady Sylvia was in Viola’s confidence. “Lord Barengar will be disappointed,” he suggested.
“I daresay he’ll be disappointed about more than that,” Lady Sylvia replied.
“That so?” Melvin murmured as he raised a brow and led the lady to the nearest table.
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Note: This novella is PG13. With the exception of GWYNETH ANDTHE THIEF and THE WASTREL, my books are usually steamier.