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Authors: Hazel Statham

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BOOK: Dominic
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Seeing
the
scarlet
start,
the
girl
t
h
rew
aside
the
knife and pressed her hands over her
m
outh, tears welling in her eyes, “I have wounded you,” she cried.

“Of
course
you
have,
you
silly chit
,”
he
replied, grinning.
“What
exactly
did
you e
x
pect
to
d
o
?
Surely,
you must know that you would not
inti
m
i
date
m
e.
Though
I must
ad
m
it,
I
ad
m
i
re
y
our
ner
v
e.
I
have
faced far
m
ore threatening
adversaries than you,
m
y dear, but, ’pon reflection, none that have
m
anaged to pink
m
e
quite so neatly, I assure you.”

“You did not deserve that I should wound you,” she cried, overco
m
e with re
m
or
s
e. “Please
forgi
v
e
m
e. I wanted only to ward you off.
Have you so
m
e linen that I
m
i
ght bind the wound
?

He
s
m
iled with genuine a
m
us
e
m
e
nt, the injury doing much to sober hi
m
. “Don’t put yourself into such a taking. There are not
m
any young ladies of my acquaintance who would have carried out such a threat

could
ha
v
e carried out such a threat! By Gad but you have spirit. Here, take my
handkerchief.
I
will
do
very well;
it
is
naught
but
a scratch,
nothing
at
all
for
you to
w
orry
about.
Indeed,
it was
m
y true desserts, I am well served, goblin.”

R
e
m
oving his coat, he seated hi
m
self by the hearth to roll up his shirt
sleeve and expose the wound wh
i
ch proved to be no
m
ore alar
m
i
ng than a deep scratch. However, he allowed her to bind his arm as it gave him ti
m
e
t
o exa
m
ine
her
bruised
countenance.
He
saw
before
him
a
young
girl
of obvious breeding and he cur
s
ed
hi
m
self
for
a
fool.
Had the brandy so clouded his judg
m
e
nt that even in such unusual
circu
m
stances
he
had failed
to
recognize
a
lady? He had
m
istaken her initi
a
lly for a fair Cyprian, so used was he to their usual guiles
a
nd the arts they e
m
ployed to bring the
m
selves to the notice
of
young
gentlemen
of
rank and fortune.

The
task
c
o
mpleted,
t
h
e
girl
s
t
ood uncert
a
inly at
his side.
“Come,
we
will
cry
tru
c
e,”
he
said,
as
he
rolled down his sl
e
eve.

You will ex
p
l
ain y
o
ur pre
d
icament to
m
e and
we
will
see
what
can
be
done.
I
am not
such
a
fiend
as I would have you believe; though you
m
ust ad
m
it, our introduction was so
m
e
what unconventional.”

At
his
words, she
m
ov
e
d
to
the
table
and
once
m
ore took
her
recently
vacated
seat,
tears welling
up
into
her eyes to course down her cheeks. Placing her ar
m
s on the table she laid her head on them
and sobbed unrestrainedly.

At
any
other
ti
m
e,
a
sobbing
fe
m
ale
would
have
had the
effect
of
sending
him
hot
foot
in
search
of
the
door, but he was taken aback by her only too apparent distress and the abuse she had suffered.
He
could
do
naught
but stand in frozen silence, his dark
countenance
m
i
rroring
his astonished concern. He could not believe that anyone would
treat
a
young
girl
in
this
m
anner, indeed,
she
had been
subjected
to
unforgivable
misuse
and
his immediate i
m
pulse was to seek the perpetrat
o
r.

He stood quietly at her side until he thought her sobs to be
subsidi
n
g
then,
ta
ki
ng
a
decanter
and
glass
from
the
center
of
the
table,
poured
a
m
easure
of
brandy
and
as
she
raised her
h
ead
from
her
ar
m
s
he
pressed
the
glass
into
her hand.

“Here,
drink
this,”
he
ordered in much quieter tones, “and when you are recovered
you can tell
m
e
what has occurred. Have no fear, you are quite safe here.” Then chuckling
softly
he
added,
“Though
I
am not
quite
sure
of the propriety of the sit
u
ation.
W
hat is your na
m
e?”

“Jack.”

“Surely
you have
anot
h
er
na
m
e?
One
m
ore
be
f
itting your gender
?

“I do not think it prudent to give it, sir.”

“I t
h
ink it a little late for prudence, don’t you
?

“Could I
n
ot re
m
ain just
J
ac
k
?” she as
k
ed in so
m
e agitation.
“It
is
better
that
I
am not
recognized.
Though
I must ad
m
it, sir, I am
aware of who you are.”

“Am
I
that
notorious?”
Vale
s
m
iled
his
incred
u
lity,
a
s he too took a seat at the table the better to study his visitor’s face.

“Perhaps
I
should
say
well known
amongst
society,
m
y lord,” she replied, attempting to return his s
m
ile but wincing at the
m
ov
e
m
e
nt.


W
e
divert
from the
issue
here,”
he
said,
once
m
ore frowning at her injuries. Placing his fingers beneath her chin, he turned her face slig
h
tly t
o
ward hi
m
, the better to
view the cuts and bruising
.

These are fresh wounds
. When were you attacked
?

“This
m
orning, sir.”

“And you have wandered around like this all day
?
” he asked in a
m
aze
m
ent.

“I
had
nowhere
to
go.
If I
had
gone
to
fa
m
ily,
I
would have
been
f
ound
out,
and
that I
m
ust
not
be.
There
is
no possible
way
that
I
could
return
to my
ho
m
e,
the
situation is untenable.”
Again her pleasantly low voice shook with e
m
otion,
as
if
she
was once
m
ore
about
to
succu
m
b
to weeping.


W
as
it
a
m
e
m
ber
of
your
fa
m
ily
who
attacked
you
?
” he insisted, astonished at the thought.

W
hoever it was must be brought to justice. To beat a wo
m
an is insupportable; you
m
ust tell
m
e what
has occurred.”

BOOK: Dominic
5.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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