The Taming

The Taming by Jude Deveraux

Book: The Taming by Jude Deveraux Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jude Deveraux
    She was acutely aware that she wore only her thin silk robe over her nudity, her hair hanging loose down her back, and he wore only his braies, the hose covering him from waist to toe, his broad chest bare. She took a step toward him. “I could not sleep,” she said softly. She wished he’d reach for her, take her in his arms. “Did you sleep well?”
    He frowned at her. Somehow, she was familiar, as if he’d seen her before. She was tempting enough in the early morning light, but he felt no raging desire for her. “Get back to the camp,” he said, then turned away from her.
    â€œOf all the—” she said under her breath but caught herself. Was there some reason this man ignored her? Joice said she’d be able to make herself indispensable to him once she was in his home. There she’d be able to make him comfortable and see to his many needs.
    And there they’d share a bed, she thought with pleasure.
    She hurried forward to catch up with him. “Do we reach the Peregrine castle today?”
    â€œIt’s the Moray castle,” he said tightly. “The Howards occupy the Peregrine lands.”
    She was having to rush to keep up with him, her long robe causing her to trip over branches and stones. “I’ve heard of them. They stole your lands and title, didn’t they? You would be a duke now if it weren’t for them.”
    He halted abruptly in front of her and turned angry eyes on her. “Is that what you hope for, girl? That you have married a duke? Is that why you married me and turned down the others?”
    â€œWhy no, I didn’t,” she said, astonished. “I married you because…”
    â€œYes?” he demanded.
    Liana couldn’t very well say that she lusted after him, that her heart was pounding in her throat even now at being so close to him, and that she greatly wanted to touch the bare skin of his chest.
    â€œThere you are,” Severn said from behind them, thus saving Liana from answering. “The men are ready to ride. My lady,” he said, nodding to Liana.
    His eyes studied her so hard that she blushed, then looked up through the curtain of her hair to see if Rogan saw. He did not. He had started toward the camp, leaving Liana where she was. She made her way back to the camp by herself, following along behind the brothers.
    â€œShe’s prettier than I first thought,” Severn said to his brother as they rode.
    â€œShe doesn’t interest me at all,” Rogan said. “No woman who has ‘wife’ attached to her interests me.”
    â€œI would imagine that you’d fight hard enough if someone tried to take her.” Severn was jesting with his brother, but the minute the words were out, he regretted them. Ten years ago someone had indeed tried to take a wife of Rogan’s and he’d fought so hard to get her back that two of their brothers had been killed.
    â€œNo, I would not fight for her,” Rogan said softly. “If you want the woman, take her. She means less than nothing to me. The gold she brought me is all I want of her.”
    Severn frowned at his brother’s words, but he said no more.

    M oray Castle came into sight at midday, and a more depressing sight Liana had never seen. It was the old-style castle, made for protection, and left unchanged for over a hundred and fifty years. The windows were arrow slits, the tower was thick and impenetrable-looking. Men lined the battlements, which were broken in places, looking as if the castle had been attacked and never repaired.
    As they drew closer, she could smell the place. Over their own horses and the unwashed bodies of the Peregrine knights came the stench of the castle.
    â€œMy lady,” Joice whispered.
    Liana did not look at her maid, but stared ahead. Helen had told her of the filth of the place, but she was not prepared for this.
    They came first to the moat. All the

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