The Falls of Erith

The Falls of Erith by Kathryn Le Veque

Book: The Falls of Erith by Kathryn Le Veque Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kathryn Le Veque
“Knitting, I suppose, or whatever it is fine ladies do with a
needle and thread. Don’t you know any?”
    She
gave him an intolerant look. “Whatever tasks I know are necessary ones.”
    “Then
learn some unnecessary ones.”
    She
put her hands on her hips. “You cannot place me on a glass pedestal like a fine
porcelain doll. I will not break. And I am not one to sit around when there is
work to be done.”
    He
lifted an eyebrow at her. Then he reached out, took her hand, and tucked it
into the crook of his elbow.
    “Walk
with me, madam.”
    “Gladly.
At least I shall be doing something.”
    He
fought off a grin. “You ungrateful wench. My men and I have been breaking our
backs repairing your castle and all you can do is complain because you are
bored.”
    She
looked up at him, a grin on her face to melt his heart.  When he finally
cracked a smile at her, she beamed wide at him. “I simply wish to help,
Braxton. Can I not help?”
    “Help
with what? Can you lift stone or build a roof?”
    “Can
you?”
    He
tried to show her how outraged he was by her question, but he only ended up
laughing at her. “I could rebuild this entire place myself if necessary. And I
have it on good authority that you are about to be spanked if you do not curb
this rebellious attitude you are displaying.”
    She
was properly contrite, though it was all an act. “I have no wish to be spanked.
But I would like to help.”
    He
came to a halt, sighing with mock frustration. “Very well, then. What do you
want to do?”
    She
lifted a timid eyebrow. “Sew my own dresses?”
    His
lips curled. “There are servants to do that.”
    “Please?
I enjoy it.”
    He
just shook his head. “You are the most ungrateful woman I have ever had the
fortune to come across. Very well, if it pleases you, sew your own clothes.” As
she grinned triumphantly, he moved closer, caressing the hand he held against
his arm. “You are also the most glorious woman I have ever had the fortune to
come across. I want to spoil you, madam. Why do you resist?”
    Braxton
was awakening feelings in her she had never known herself capable of. A look
from him could provoke giddiness, a word could provoke elation. Gone were
thoughts of self protection, of suspicion. Those feelings had fled days ago.
Without even realizing it, she had learned to trust him completely. Not
necessarily for the kindness he was doing for her or for Erith, but simply by
his manner.  If he’d meant to capture her heart, he was well on his way to
doing so.
    “I
am sorry if I seem unappreciative,” she replied softly. “I have simply never
known anything else but hard work. I feel quite useless sitting around while you
hire an army to work on my fortress. I do not want others to think I am taking
advantage of your generosity.”
    “What
others?”
    She
shrugged. “These people are from Levens.  They will talk and tell tale of the
Lady of Erith sitting idle while an army of mercenaries repairs her keep. Soon
all of Cumbria will hear such things.”
    “Soon
all of Cumbria will know that the repair of the fortress was my wedding gift to
you,” he patted her hand gently; though he desperately wanted to kiss it, he
would make no such move. He did not want those who might witness such a thing
to believe the lady compromised. “Worry not what others think, madam. You and I
know the truth.”
    She
gazed up at him, studying the lines of his handsome face. She hadn’t known the
man a week and already she felt more comfortable with him than she had with
anyone, ever.
    “I
suppose we do,” she agreed softly.  She saw the same look in his eyes that she
had seen when he had kissed her and, not wanting to make a spectacle for all to
see, she backed away. “I shall go now and help the women with my clothes.
They’re nearly done, you know.”
    He
was reluctant to release her hand. “We shall go into Milnthorpe tomorrow to
obtain more fabric. Between you, your mother and your daughter, the fabric

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