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Authors: Hazel Statham

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BOOK: Dominic
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“Sit
t
h
ere,”
he
com
m
anded,
pointi
n
g
to
a
chair
set
at the
table,
the
effects
of
the
brandy
he
had
drunk
earlier still v
e
ry
m
u
ch in evi
d
e
n
ce. “Now face the light
.

The boy sat still, ignoring the command.

“Face the light,” commanded Vale in an awful voice. “Do not defy
m
e or it will be the w
o
rse for you. I will n
o
t be ignored.”

The youth turned toward the candles but atte
m
pted to shield
h
i
s face with his hand. The e
arl rele
n
t
ed slightl
y
. “You have obviously been badly beaten,” he said in a so
m
e
what
quieter
tone.
“One
would
not
suspect
so
slight
a
youth of being a pugilist.”

“I
am
no
pugili
s
t,
sir,”
s
aid
the
boy,
atte
m
pting
to
s
m
ile but pressing his hand against h
i
s cheek as if the mov
e
m
ent pained hi
m
.

Vale’s atte
n
tion was ri
v
eted on the boy’s face, then he ran his eyes over his slight figure. “You say you are eightee
n
?

“Yes, sir.”

“You are not a very robust eighteen.
W
here do you
co
m
e
f
ro
m
?”

“Nowhere, sir.”

“Nonsense, everyone co
m
es from
so
m
e
where.”

“I do not, sir. Please let
m
e go.”

“If
you
come
from nowhere,
to
where
am I
to
let
you
go
?

enquired
the
e
arl
with
so
m
e
aplo
m
b,
m
a
rveling,
in his present inebriation,
at his own ingenious.

“I but wish to relieve you of
m
y presence, sir. I will trouble you no longer.”

“I
will
let
you
go
when
it
pleases
m
e
to
let
you
go. Now, take off your hat and t
h
at disgustingly dirty coat, which
, by-the-bye
is far too big for you.”

Again the youth did not
m
ove to remove the gar
m
ents but cl
u
t
ched
the coat even tighter ab
o
ut his figure.

“Am I
to
remove
the
m
?”
asked
Vale,
m
oving
forward
m
enacingly.

“I
am quite
capable,
sir,”
replied
the
you
t
h,
hesitantly re
m
oving
the
offending
gar
m
ent to reve
a
l
a
s
u
rpri
s
i
ngly clean white shirt and breeches beneath.

“Now the hat!”

“Must I, sir?”

“Most de
f
i
ni
tel
y
!”

W
ith a great reluctance the youth reached up to re
m
ove his
tricorn
and
a
riot
of
golden
curls
tumbled
from beneath.

Vale
stood
riveted
as
the
girl turned
fully
to
face
hi
m
. “My god,” he breathed, staring
into her blue eyes that peered bet
w
een swollen lids, “I suspected, but thought I was i
m
agining it. ‘Pon faith, a wench.”

“Then let
m
e go, sir, now that you know I cannot possibly
pose
a
threat
to
you.
I
will
go
quietly
and
you will not even know I have been here.”


W
hat
is
interesting
though
in
fact, my
dear,
is
that
you
did
find your way here. How
co
m
e
you
by
the
bruising? Am
I to suppose you fell foul of a for
m
er lover
?

The girl
m
a
de to rise, terrified of his
m
ood and
t
he fact that
in
his
inebriation,
his
e
y
e
turned
bold,
but
he
was
at her side and placed a res
t
raining hand on her shoulder. “Co
m
e,
sw
e
eting”
he
cajoled
in
a
mocking
tone.

W
ho did this to you?
Did you not
please your protector?
W
ould you not comply with his ruling?”

“Sir, you mistake
m
e,” she cried indignantly, pushing his
hand
from
her
shoulder.
“I
am no
lightskirt
as
I
would have thought obvious...”

“Then
why this
m
asquerading as a boy
?
” he continued to scoff, seeing not her fear.

She
sprang
from her
seat
a
nd
a
tt
e
mpted
to
r
e
ach
t
h
e door,
but
he
was
before
her,
barring
the
way.
“What,
you
would
leave
m
e
so
soon
in
our
acquaintance?
I
am
sure
you
would
not
deny
m
e
pay
m
ent
for
m
y
hospitality,”
and taking her into his ar
m
s, he forcibly kissed her.

Her
well-s
h
od
heel
c
a
m
e
into
sharp
contact
with
his foot and he dropped his hold in a
m
aze
m
ent. “Hellcat,” he cursed.
“Do
not
think
I
am so
easily
dissuaded
from my purpose. You have thrust yourself upon
m
y company and you will pay the consequence. Co
m
e, you will not find
m
e ungenerous.”

“I
had
thought
you
better
than that,
sir,”
she
scowled, rubbing her sleeve across her
m
outh, repulsed by the s
m
ell of
spirits.

“Then that shows how l
i
tt
l
e
you know
m
e.”
he
mocked, once
m
ore
advancing
toward
her,
m
aking his
inte
n
tio
n
s only too obvious.

Seeing a careles
s
l
y disca
r
ded fruit knife on the sideboard
by the door,
the
g
i
rl snatched
it
up
in desperation and held it
m
enacingly before her, atte
m
pting
to
ward
off
any
further
embraces
.

I
will
use
it

she
assured hi
m
,
backing a
w
ay from
her tor
m
entor.

“Then
use it,
little
spit
f
i
r
e
and
be
damned,”
he
grinned recklessly, taking no
m
i
nd to the threat and advancing, not to
be
distracted
from his
course.
Taking
hold
of
her shoulders, he once
m
ore bent h
i
s head toward her. He was intent
on
taking
a
second
favor but
in
that
f
i
n
al
m
o
m
ent when
he
would
have
drawn
her
to
him
he
f
elt
the kni
f
e
rip into
his sleeve
and enter
his forearm.
However, he did not relinquish
his
hold
im
m
e
diately
as
he
had
previously,
but
took
the
favor
before
releas
i
ng
her,
and
only
then
did
he
slowly
look
down
to
see
the
d
a
rk
stain
spreading
over
his satin
s
l
ee
v
e.

BOOK: Dominic
11.68Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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