KIND EYES AND A LION’S HEART
Any remained doubts the guests might have had about the marriage disappeared as they watched the newly betrothed couple dine together. It was clear that Lady Viola genuinely liked the young man who appeared to prefer looking at the lady to eating or talking, something a few wags considered a miracle equal to the betrothal.
Some of the older lords began to wonder if they’d been mistaken to dismiss Sir Melvin as a fool. If Lord Percival agreed to the marriage, there might be more to the young fellow than they supposed. More than one took Lord Percival aside to congratulate him and his family on the alliance, and to make it clear they would consider it an honor to be invited to the wedding.
Lord Barengar waited until the hall was nearly empty before approaching his cousin and his future bride.
“Melvin!” he said a bit louder than necessary to get their attention, which seemed to be focused solely on each other.
“Oh, Barengar, there you are,” Melvin said. “How’s the nose? Not too painful, I hope. I’m truly sorry about that, coz. I hope you’ll forgive me. You’ll come to the wedding, won’t you? It’s to be in a fortnight. Here, of course, home of the bride and all that.”
“It’s really true then?” Barengar asked. “You’re really betrothed?”
“Yes, it’s really true,” Viola replied.
Melvin and Viola exchanged smiles before Viola leaned closer and spoke in a conspiratorial whisper. “Since you saw us in my bedchamber, it would be useless to lie, so I won’t. My aunt and uncle are insisting that we marry. But I must admit that it was a most satisfactory night, in every way. Your cousin is a veritable lion, Lord Barengar.”
Barengar reared back, his brows raised, his mouth agape, while Viola took her future husband’s arm in hers and regarded him with calm serenity.
While Melvin merely smiled.
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Note: This novella is PG13. With the exception of GWYNETH ANDTHE THIEF and THE WASTREL, my books are usually steamier.