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Authors: Rebecca King

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Lies and Misdemeanours

BOOK: Lies and Misdemeanours
10.78Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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LIES AND MISDEMEANOURS

 

 

By

 

 

Rebecca King

 

 

 

 

 

© Rebecca King 2015

 

The moral right of Rebecca King to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.

 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any informational storage and retrieval system, without the permission in writing from the author.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and events are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to any actual persons, either living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

Further books will be published shortly.

 

 

Cover Design by Melody Simmons from eBookindiecovers.

CHAPTER ONE

 

Hetty groaned when raucous singing suddenly shattered the silence. She drew a pillow over her head in an attempt to block out the discordant noise but could still hear him, out on the driveway, wailing and screeching like the cat did when he got too close to the fire.

She threw the pillow back onto the bed with a groan of disbelief, and glared balefully at the ceiling while she listened to the cacophony.

The rather risqué sea shanty grew increasingly louder, then suddenly stopped.

“For heaven’s sake,” she muttered when several loud thumps on the front door reverberated around the house.

She contemplated whether to answer it. The thought of climbing out of bed and losing the precious warmth within made her snuggle deeper beneath the covers for several long moments in stubborn defiance of her brother’s demands. Unfortunately, the second round of hammer blows on the door rendered any chance of sleep absolutely impossible.

Guilt pricked her conscience. She knew that if she didn’t let him in, Simon would be forced to sleep his excesses off in the grain store again like he did last week. She just couldn’t bring herself to leave him in the cold again. The last time he had spent the night outside he had caught a chill, and had been a bear for several days while he sniffed and snivelled in misery.

“Hetty!”

Hetty looked at her window. The sound of pebbles being thrown rather too forcefully against the glass forced her to throw the covers back. She clambered out of bed with a disgruntled sigh, and drew her shawl over her shoulders as she reluctantly made her way downstairs.

“God, he is talking to himself now,” she grumbled when the sound of her brother’s voice grew louder.

She wondered just how much of the innkeeper’s watered down ale he had consumed to get in such a state – again. His muttering became muffled for a moment before a loud thump on the door preceded several more knocks and a rattle of the latch.

“H-e-t-t-t-t-y-y-y,” Simon sang loudly, then began to mutter again.

“I’m coming,” she snapped.

Hetty glanced upstairs but, sure enough, there was no sign of her oldest brother Wally, who always seemed able to sleep the sleep of the dead.

“H-e-t-t-t-t-y-y-y.”

She sighed. “Talking to your imaginary friend again, Si –”

She yanked open the door as she spoke and watched as, without the door to keep him upright, Simon fell into a heap on the floor at her feet.

To her stunned amazement, a second man, a stranger, slid through the doorway after him, and gave her a rather charming smile as he grinned blearily up at her.

“’Ere, Simon, are you dead yet?” the stranger mumbled as he roughly shook his new friend by the shoulder without taking his eyes off Hetty.

“Not yet,” Simon replied in voice that was muffled by the weight of his friend’s shoulder.

“We’ve got an angel,” the man whispered.

“Ugh,” Simon grunted without bothering to move.

Hetty tried to keep her gaze away from the handsome stranger at her feet, but found herself drawn back to him again and again.

What was she supposed to say in such a situation? How are you? Pleased to meet you? What are you doing lying on my hallway floor looking handsome and mischievous?

He was not much use; he simply lay there smiling at her like a puppy waiting to be patted.

“Can either of you get up?” she demanded; determined to ignore the tiny thrill of attraction that coursed through her.

“Charlie?” Simon grunted.

“Hmm?”

“You get up?”

Charlie seemed to consider that for a moment. “No, don’t think so,” he replied.

Simon grunted. “Me neither.”

Hetty rolled her eyes and bent down to look at Simon, but couldn’t move him because Charlie was lying half over him. While she was used to manhandling her brother, and would think nothing of dragging his heavy limbs out of the way so that she could close the door, she could hardly do that to a man she didn’t know; especially to someone as huge as Simon’s new friend.

“Can either of you two get off your backsides?” Hetty demanded in disgust when a cool blast of air reminded her that the door was still open. She glanced out into the darkness, and drew her shawl righter around her shoulders with a shiver before she turned her attention back to the men on the floor.

Simon’s only response was a loud snore.

“Oh, for heaven’s sakes,” she snapped.

Thankfully, Charlie didn’t appear to be as inebriated as his friend because he at least had the courtesy of trying to move his long limbs out of the way.

“Not dead yet,” he grinned proudly, and began to push and shove his way over Simon until he landed on his back at her feet. Once there, he peered up at her through the gloom of the darkened hallway.

“Helloooo,” he cooed.

“Hello yourself,” Hetty murmured wryly.

In spite of the fact that she was cold and tired, she struggled to bite back a smile in return. Instead, she shook her head at him chidingly as she pointed accusingly to her brother.

“He is likely to be there all night if I don’t get him moved. Do you think you can get yourself into the sitting room?” She nodded to the room beside them.

Charlie squinted at her and watched her luscious lips move, but his mind was focused more on trying to understand when the world had been blessed with a beautiful pixie rather than listen to the words she had spoken.

Her wild tangle of luxurious hair cascaded around her shoulders in a silken halo of delight that framed her delicate oval face, and seemed to highlight her brilliant blue of her sparkling eyes. The combination was enthralling; entrancing; utterly wonderful. He was in love.

“Of course I can,” Charlie boasted proudly, determined to do whatever she asked of him.

A dark frown marred his brow as he pushed and shoved at random limbs. He eventually lurched to his feet only to sway alarmingly as the world began to spin around him.

“Alright?” Hetty asked, but knew that he wasn’t given that he was actually rocking on his feet.

“Uh-ho,” he muttered. He stared at his feet in dismay, but couldn’t get them to move the way they used to. Unfortunately, with his balance not what it used to be either, he began to topple forward.

Hetty grabbed hold of his arm as he began to stagger backward and tried to hold him steady, but his size and weight was too great for her.

“Come on, this way,” she muttered as she tried to steer him none-too-gently into the sitting room.

The fire was still lit, and bathed the room in a cosy amber glow which afforded her with enough light to be able to make sure that neither of them fell on their faces before they reached the thick rug before the hearth. She nudged the cat out of the way and nodded to the spot on the floor.

“You can sleep here,” she muttered. “It isn’t much, but I don’t have a prayer of getting you upstairs.”

Her heart was pounding, but she wasn’t sure whether it was because of the exertion of the last few moments, or the strange sensations he wrought upon her simply by standing so close to her.

“Heaven has given me an angel, you know,” he confided huskily.

“Really?” Hetty asked. She tried desperately to ignore the shiver of awareness that swept through her when his gaze ran over her from the top of her head to the tips of her chilled toes.

Hetty coughed uncomfortably, and tried to convince herself that the strange feelings, deep in the pit of her stomach, was most probably because it was gone ten o’clock at night, and she was cold. They certainly had nothing to do with Simon’s new friend who was, by far, the most handsome man she had ever met in her entire life.

She wouldn’t be affected so profoundly by a total stranger; even a gorgeous one. Could she?

“Yes.” Charlie gently touched the soft curls of her hair with a curious finger, and leaned forward until their noses practically touched before she could say anything.

In spite of his rather disturbing nearness, Hetty didn’t feel threatened at all, and stood perfectly still while she stared into his eyes. She was captivated by the light flecks in the dark orbs his beautiful dark grey eyes which, at that moment, were more slumberous than lecherous. Her curiosity was piqued further by the fact that although she was taller than most, the top of her head still only came to his shoulder and, up close, the width of his shoulders seemed to block everything else in the room out.

He was powerful. Tall, dark, handsome; strong. His magnetising presence seemed to wrap around her so temptingly that a soft sigh escaped her before she could stop it.

“You are beautiful,” he whispered.

Hetty frowned at him as she slowly became aware of the intimate atmosphere that had slowly crept over them. She shifted uncomfortably, but not through fear. This man made her feel things; want things, that someone like her had no business thinking, wanting, feeling.

She took a small step backward in an attempt to put a little distance between them.

“Thank you,” she croaked somewhat awkwardly. “Although, if you tell me that when you are not in your cups, I might just be thrilled.”

He grinned at her. “It’s poss, possbl, possibab -”

Hetty rolled her eyes and forced herself to move away. She just couldn’t bring herself to leave the room yet though, and took a moment to add several more logs to the fire. Once there, she willed her shaking knees to hold her upright long enough so that she could get out of the room without making a complete fool of herself.

When she eventually turned around to leave, she forced her thoughts toward how she was going to drag Simon’s carcass through the door, but a shocked gasp escaped her at the sight that met her gaze.

While she had been stoking the fire, Charlie had decided to make himself at home, and had dragged his shirt over his head while he prepared for bed. In spite of her best efforts to keep her face impassive, her mouth fell open as she stared at the broad expanse of hair covered chest that rippled and glistened in the candlelight whenever he moved.

Get a hold of yourself, Hetty,
she warned herself.
You have brothers who work around you shirtless all the time, and it has never bothered you before
.

She tried; she really did, but simply couldn’t tear her gaze away from the sight of his bare flesh. To her utter embarrassment, Charlie realised he was having an effect on her.

He grinned and swaggered over to her.

Hetty eyed the intent look on his face warily. Determined not to allow him to see just how rattled she was, she threw him a somewhat defiant look.

“I will say goodnight,” she declared firmly. Her eyes flashed a warning at him, but he merely stared back knowingly at her.

“Goodnight beautiful,” Charlie drawled.

His rather smug smile suddenly vanished when he tried to stand back to let her past only for his heel to get caught in the rug beneath his feet. He fell into a heap on the floor for the second time that evening with an undignified grunt.

“Oh, Lord,” Hetty muttered at the sight of the tanned expanse of flesh that rippled as he moved. Determined not to touch him in his unclothed state, she carefully stepped over him and hurried to the door.

“Are you going to leave me here, beautiful?” Charlie called after her.

He watched her go, and wished that she would stay for a little while longer. He really wanted to get to know her a little more. Who was she? Where had she come from? For a moment, he had caught sight of the delectable curves beneath that shroud of a nightgown she wore, and knew that he had most definitely been blessed. Would she come back if he asked really nicely?

He looked down at his useless legs, briefly contemplated trying to get up and take his breeches off, but dismissed that task as impossible given how much the room continued to sway. Besides, he had already embarrassed himself in front of beautiful enough for one evening. She would run screaming if she saw just how
really
interested he was in her.

He watched the door start to close behind her.

“Beautiful?”

Hetty turned and looked at him. She nearly groaned at the handsome sight he made lying on the floor, propped up on one heavily muscled arm. The firelight burnished his skin in a golden glow that only emphasised his masculinity, and bathed him in rather intriguing shadows that made her want to explore each dip and hollow.

Aware that her now dry mouth was not going to work for her anytime soon, she lifted a brow and remained in the doorway.

“What is it?” She prompted when he made no attempt to say anything more.

“When we are married, I will insist that your shroud has to go,” he declared with firm nod.

Hetty’s mouth opened and closed at his audacity, but words failed her. She immediately ignored the rather risqué thoughts that filtered through her mind, and quickly turned away before he saw the tell-tale blush in her cheeks.

Damn him,
she mused as she closed the door on the sound of his chuckle.

She wasn’t sure whether to be angry or not. The sound of that husky rumble remained with her while she tugged Simon’s legs into the house and closed the door on the cold with a quiet click. She eyed her brother’s bulk for a moment, and tried to decide if she should bother to try to wake him up. If she did, she could hardly help him into the sitting room like she usually did. That particular space was occupied by the rather handsome rogue her brother had brought home with him.

BOOK: Lies and Misdemeanours
10.78Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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