feel a responding tingle between her legs as he talked.
"What happens when you tire of me? Will I go back to being your maid?"
He smiled at her question, knowing he would never tire of her. "No , Sweetheart. First of all, I will never, ever tire of you, but to put to rest your fears, I will have papers drawn up saying I will buy you a house complete with a carriage and staff and provide for you for the rest of your life should we part ways. You will never have to work another day in your life, baby." She smiled at his assurances, but then grew solemn. There was still one other possibility - one that hurt to consider.
"What if you should marry?" she asked, knowing he must one day. He was a powerful lord, after all, and it was expected of him to marry and carry on his line.
Rand could not imagine marrying and bringing another woman into his household. He was a second son with a fortune of his own, and there were no expectations of his providing an heir or taking a wife. He wanted no one but Lily, and knew he would never risk marrying and giving his wife the power to send her away as would be his new wife’s prerogative, since keeping his mistress in the same household would be too scandalous. Lily was his and he was keeping her, but he was not prepared to divulge his feelings for her just yet, so he chose a more candid answer.
"One day I may marry, but I will make sure that my new wife loves my little girl as much as I do."
A small part of Lily hoped he would flaunt the dictates of society and choose to marry her, but she also knew that was not practical or possible. She would have to be content with the affection he now offered, for it was more than she had ever received in her lonely life, and it was more than anything she’d ever dared hope for.
"I am going to leave you up here for a few hours to think about my offer. You are not to leave this room," he warned sternly. "I will have Mrs. Oliver send up a tray for you." Papa rose and carried her over to the play area, gently setting her down among the toys and stuffed animals. Then with a quick kiss on the top of her head he was gone.
Lily lost herself in play for the first hour. She was surprised when Mrs. Oliver appeared with a tray. It felt very strange to be playing on the floor with dolls instead of working and then to have her superior bring her a tray. She felt as if it should be the other way around, and hid a secret smile at the turn of events. Perhaps she could get used to the idea of being coddled and protected.
"Here you go, dearie," Mrs. Oliver said affectionately.
"Mrs. Oliver," called out Lily before the elderly housekeeper had a chance to leave. "I need ... I need some advice," she hesitantly asked. "Papa ... I mean ... His Lordship has asked me to be his …" Lily couldn't say the words. "That is to say, he wants me to ... to …" Lily couldn't finish.
"Hush, dearie, don't fret," cooed Mrs. Oliver, treating Lily more kindly than ever before. Mrs. Oliver had been working for the gentry her entire life, so nothing shocked or surprised her anymore. She had seen far worse than a lord wanting to treat his mistress like a little girl, and truth be told she thought it was sweet. Besides, if his Lordship was happy, the household was happy and this slip of a girl made him happy. "All you need to think about is how he makes you feel. Don't worry about whatever anyone else may think or say. All that is important is if you care for him and if he treats you well. All right, dearie?" Mrs. Oliver gave her a pat on the head and left the room.
Somehow, getting Mrs. Oliver's approval made everything seem less confusing. Lily looked over the tray she had brought up. It w as filled with delicious pastries and sweet jams. There was even a pot of warm chocolate! She was used to a simple fare of bread and weak tea each morning. Lily had served her betters pastries and chocolate but never tried