KIND EYES AND A LION’S HEART
“I can’t believe you’re so pleased,” Lady Sylvia said to Viola later than same day as they strolled in the rose garden. “I know you like him, but still! He’s not rich or handsome or…or anything!”
Viola slipped her arm through the younger woman’s and led her to a more secluded corner of the garden.
“He is most definitely something,” she said significantly. She looked around to make certain no one else was nearby. “There is nothing lacking about him when it comes to other qualities one would wish in a husband.”
“What do you mean? Generosity?”
Viola laughed softly. “I suppose one could call it that. Let me just say, he doesn’t lack for passion. I have never felt so wonderful as I did in his arms.”
Lady Sylvia’s eyes grew as round as a millwheel. “You don’t mean to say you’ve...?”
Viola didn’t want to shock Sylvia too much. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be long before Emil would let the secret out, even if he’d been paid to keep it. The man was a born tattle-tale. “Yes.”
Sylvia gasped, then frowned and bit her lip before she intently whispered, “What was it like? Really like?”
“When you’re with a man who cares as much for your pleasure as his own, absolutely wonderful,” Viola answered without hesitation. “Find a good, kind man who loves you, Sylvia, and you’ll know exactly what I mean.”
The gate opened and Melvin stuck his head inside, then grinned and entered. “There you are. Mind if I interrupt?”
“I was, um, just leaving,” Sylvia said, blushing as she hurried away.
“I hope I wasn’t interrupting anything important. I didn’t mean to make her run off,” Melvin said as he gathered Viola in his arms. “Much as I want to be with you, I could have waited a little while.”
“It’s all right,” Viola said, resting her head on Melvin’s broad shoulder. “I think I gave her something to think about when it comes to men and marriage.”
“Speaking of men, Barengar’s gone. Rode off a little while ago. Says he’ll come back for the wedding. I doubt it. His nose might still be swollen and he won’t want a lot of people to see him that way.”
Viola sighed so heavily, Melvin frowned. “What’s the matter?”
“I fear Sylvia won’t be happy if he doesn’t return.”
Melvin’s frown deepened. “I’m not sure he’s the right fellow for her. I’m not sure he’s the right fellow for any lady. Maybe he will be in a few years when he’s had time to realize what’s really important. At least, I hope he waits a few years and doesn’t go rushing into marriage with some pretty girl who’s got a large fortune.”
“Although I’m not pretty, you’re rushing into marriage with a girl who’s got a large fortune,” Viola said softly. “My dowry is twenty-five thousand marks.”
“You are the most beautiful woman in the – wait!” Melvin stopped smiling. “What did you say?”
Melvin looked so startled, Viola had to smile. “I said, you’re marrying a girl with a dowry of twenty-five thousand marks.”
“I had no notion,” Melvin incredulously replied. “No wonder your uncle was so angry this morning. I suppose he thought I was after your money. Maybe I should refuse it. After all, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference to me if you were a pauper.”
Viola knew he was speaking the absolute truth and embraced him tightly. “Melvin de Courcellet, I do love you! You truly are the most wonderful man I’ve ever met.”
“As you are the most wonderful woman, Viola. I love you with all my heart,” he said before he kissed her with all the passion and love in his kind, courageous heart.
The story isn't over! Come back on Monday for the Epilogue!
Note: This novella is PG13. With the exception of GWYNETH ANDTHE THIEF and THE WASTREL, my books are usually steamier.