KIND EYES AND A LION`S HEART
“Sir Melvin’s family is an old and honorable one, my lord,” Viola said to her uncle. “I recall his cousin saying that their great-grandfather came over with the Conqueror. And if Sir Melvin’s branch is not as well known as his cousin’s, there’s nothing bad said about them either. You need not have any fear that your nephew-in-law will cause any disgrace or give you any concern at all. Surely that is worth much, Uncle.”
“Indeed, I won’t do anything to knowingly cause you grief or pain or disgrace,” Melvin declared. “I mean, nothing serious, at any rate. I’m liable to still be clumsy and say foolish things in company, although I’m sure my lovely Viola will stop me before I make a complete ass of myself. And even if I do say something stupid, what harm? It’ll just be Melvin being Melvin.”
“And Melvin’s much less likely to try to influence his wife’s family’s affairs than other, more ambitious noblemen,” Viola noted.
“Indeed I won’t!” Melvin confirmed. “Politics has no appeal to me. A nice, quiet life in the country with Viola is all I want.”
Lord Percival started to stroke his beard. “I suppose a lack of ambition can be a good thing.”
Encouraged, Melvin hurried on. “You’ll be welcome to visit any time, and if you require any assistance with the harvest or such things, why, naturally any aid I or my servants can provide will be given. Take my steward, for instance... well, no, don’t take him. I need the fellow myself. He’s a wonder with the accounts. Found out I’d been paying too much to the miller, for one thing. I could let him take a look at your accounts and see if there’s anything --”
Lord Percival held up his hand. “That’s quite all right. My steward is more than competent.” He addressed Viola. “You really want to wed this fellow?”
“I do, Uncle, truly.”
Lord Percival turned to his wife. “You favor the match?”
“I do,” she replied with a nod of her head.
Lord Percival turned away from his wife and addressed the young couple. “Very well. You may wed.”
Viola gave a happy cry before she rushed into Melvin’s open arms.
“What the devil’s going on here?”
They all turned to see Barengar standing on the threshold, his hands on his hips, both eyes black, his nose as large and red as an apple.
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Note: This novella is PG13. With the exception of GWYNETH ANDTHE THIEF and THE WASTREL, my books are usually steamier.