Thursday, February 12, 2015
My Lady Valentine - part 10
“…what does a man say to the man he believes he killed?”
“Only that I would be willing to do it again. A lady’s honor must be upheld.”
Whether it was his sister or Lady Elizabeth.
Drake held his sword loosely, its weight familiar in his hand. In this crowded hall with guests milling—and many watching the tableau unfold with wide eyes—he could not swing it without risking endangering those around.
Had his blunt words upset Lady Elizabeth?
He dared to look away from the viscount to glance down on her. Where he had expected a scowl, like the one she’d bestowed on him so easily earlier, he witnessed the fine tremble pass Lady Elizabeth’s lips.
She was frightened.
Before this moment, he’d believed she might be glad at the reappearance of her betrothed. But it seemed she knew of the viscount’s rumored cruelty.
And after spending most of the day with her helping finalize Lady Jane’s plans for the festival, he knew he couldn’t walk away and leave her to the viscount’s machinations.
If this man was the viscount. He hadn’t recognized Drake or Lady Elizabeth until his companion had identified them.
Nicholas glared, his gaze flicking between Drake and Lady Elizabeth. Now that Drake knew Elizabeth had no desire for the match, he must do something.
“I was promised this dance,” he said as the music swirled above the noise of the crowd.
He sheathed his sword and swept Elizabeth into the crowd, leaving Nicholas behind. Instead of moving into the dance patterns, he guided her across the floor to the opposite side of the hall and into a shadowed alcove that afforded some privacy.
He hadn’t meant to literally sweep her away but realized his hands rested at her hips and they stood too close for propriety’s sake.
And he wanted her closer.
Her soft breaths warmed his chin. Only the smallest of spaces separated them. He could easily close the distance and kiss her parted lips…
Which was why he forced himself to release her.
“Your brother should be here protecting you.” His words emerged sharper than he’d intended, maybe as protection to himself. But seeing her uncertain made him want things he couldn’t afford to want.
And her chin came up, that fierce, familiar scowl reappearing along with her backbone. “I can protect myself.”
“My man is looking into the viscount’s presence here.” And whether the viscount was truly who he claimed to be. “Something isn’t right with his sudden appearance. Where has he been these past years?” And why hadn’t he recognized Drake?
She looked past him, out to where the assembled crowd still danced and made merry. “Mayhap my aunt knows something. Her episode came on when she learned of his presence. I’ll seek her counsel in the morn.”
But until then, who would watch over Elizabeth?