KIND EYES AND A LION’S HEART
Barengar also had a wineskin dangling from his fingers. His voice was thick, too, although whether from the swelling or the wine, it was difficult to tell.
Before anyone could answer, his frown deepened and he gestured at the embracing couple with the hand holding the wineskin. “God’s blood!”
“Come along, young man,” Lord Percival said, taking him by the arm and steering him out of the room. “You’re imagining things.”
“Get dressed at once, Viola,” her aunt said after they had gone, “and get back to your chamber before the household stirs. Emil won’t say a word of what’s happened, although his silence will no doubt cost a pretty penny. As for your wedding, Viola, I suppose we’d best have it at once, lest you’ve gotten yourself…. People can count, so we’d best take care to avoid a scandal. As for you, Sir Melvin, you’d better...” She sniffled and dabbed at her eyes. “You’d best be as good as your word about treating my niece well!” she exclaimed before she choked back a sob and hurried from the room.
Still clasped in each other’s arms, Viola and Melvin looked at one another.
“I’m afraid I’m asleep and dreaming,” Melvin murmured.
“I don’t,” Viola replied as she raised herself on her toes. She kissed him gently. “Do you still think you’re dreaming?”
“Maybe,” he replied and his slowing broadening smile was an enticement in itself.
She kissed him again. “Awake now?” she purred.
“Wide awake,” he replied. He glanced at the bed, then frowned. “Your aunt told you to get dressed and go before the household --”
“My uncle’s given his consent, but until we’re married, he can change his mind. We’d best insure that we will be married, and the best way to do that is not to hurry. If another servant discovers us together, well, it may cost my aunt and uncle some more money, but it may be the only way to make certain he doesn’t withdraw his consent.” She gave him a sultry smile. “Besides, I’ve discovered something else you do as well as kissing. Perhaps even better.”
“In that case,” Melvin replied with a surprisingly seductive smile of his own, “I believe I shall retire. And you, my lady?”
Although her gleaming eyes were anything but tired, she made a great show of yawning. “I believe I had better join you.”
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Note: This novella is PG13. With the exception of GWYNETH ANDTHE THIEF and THE WASTREL, my books are usually steamier.