The Faithful Heart

The Faithful Heart by Merry Farmer

Book: The Faithful Heart by Merry Farmer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Merry Farmer
the
place like he was born doin’ it.”
    “He was,” he thought he heard Lydia
mutter.
    “I mentioned you to him when I popped home
the other day to check on things. I mentioned both of you.” He
glanced back to Lydia. Her expression had gone blank and her cheeks
were red. Funny, but Simon had had a similar reaction when he
mentioned her to him. “Anyhow,” he brushed on, “I was plannin’ on
spending at least one night out there before this Council of Nobles
thing. You wanna come?”
    “If it wouldn’t be too much trouble,”
Madeline nodded.
    “None at all.” He stood there smiling at her,
feeling the sunshine all the way to his bones in spite of the cool
breeze that had his sweaty shirt sticking to his back. It lasted
until Lydia cleared her throat, reminding him of his other
responsibilities. “Oy, you wanna come too?”
    Lydia sighed and glanced up as if she was
considering. She brushed a hand through her hair, spreading it to
catch the sunlight. “You’re too kind to me, my lord,” she said in a
low, honeyed voice. “But no, I’ll pass this time. I think I can be
of more use here.” She brushed her hand against his arm before
smiling up at him and turning to sashay back towards the
castle.
    Jack watched her go, hypnotized by the sway
of her hips, blonde hair bobbing against her back. He could bloody
well see why the woman was happy to be in service. Hips like those
shouldn’t be allowed to roam free.
     
    Madeline felt a band squeeze around her chest
as Jack watched Lydia walk back to the castle. She’d never really
hated anyone until now. She couldn’t keep the emotion from her face
when Jack turned back to her.
    “Oy, what’s wrong with you?” he blinked. “You
look like you swallowed a bee.”
    For a moment she trembled with tension,
poised on the edge of giving him a piece of her mind. Then she blew
out a breath, shoulders dropping. “I’m just worried about you.”
    A slow grin spread across his face. He took
her hands. “You don’t have to worry about me.” He raised her hands
to his mouth and brushed his lips over her knuckles. His moustache
tickled, all the way down to places she blushed to think about.
“Although I do sorta like it.” He tweaked an eyebrow in a
mischievous arch.
    She laughed in spite of her frustration. “I’m
glad. Because I don’t think I’ll be able to stop worrying any time
soon.” Her lips tightened as she glanced past him to the door where
Lydia had disappeared.
    When she looked back at him Jack was watching
her with the same intensity as he’d been watching Lydia. It stopped
her heart in her throat. The broad lines of his shoulders and the
glimpse of his firm, smooth chest where his shirt hung open stood
out in the sunlight. His hands holding hers were warm and powerful.
She wanted to feel his arms around her, his lips on hers as they
had been when he kissed her goodbye.
    “Oy, I got an idea,” he spoke again as if
nothing were out of the ordinary. “How ‘bout I go get cleaned up
and we go for a walk.” She glanced up at him. “Somethin’ tells me
Crispin’ll be too occupied for the next hour or so to deal with
business. What say we take advantage of that?”
    “I’d like that,” she breathed.
    “Right.” He let go of her hands and turned to
go. Just as quickly he turned back and leaned in to steal a light
kiss on her startled lips. Then he winked and jogged off to the
castle door.
    Madeline let out the breath she’d been
holding and touched her fingertips to her lips. Her heart was as
light as a feather and her whole body tingled. Five minutes ago it
had been as heavy as a brick. She dropped her hands and huffed out
an indignant sigh. How could he indulge that strumpet the way he
did?
    “Men,” Joanna laughed as she stepped up to
her side. “They don’t have a clue what they’re doing.”
    She widened her eyes at the woman. “I think
you must be right.” Her anger swung back full force and she crossed
her arms over her chest,

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