Wicked Intentions 1
Lazarus didn’t think so.
    Someone didn’t want him to find Marie’s murderer.
    “Y OU KNOW L ORD Caire?” Temperance stared at her brother.
    He arched a brow. “I may be a mere schoolmaster, sister, but even I hear the gossip in St. Giles.”
    “Oh.” She looked down at her hands as she automatically cleaned and put away her needle and scissors. Her mind had gone completely blank except for the thought that everyone seemed to have heard of Lord Caire save herself.
    Winter sighed and got up. He crossed to a cupboard and took down two glasses. They were fragile things that had once belonged to their mother, two of what had originally been a set of six. He brought them to the table and carefully poured two small glasses of the red wine.
    Then he sat and took a sip, closing his eyes as he swallowed. He tilted back his head, the lines about his mouthdeepening. “This wine is atrocious. I’m surprised Lord Caire didn’t dash it against the wall.”
    Temperance reached for her own glass and tasted, the sweet, acidic liquid warming her belly. The wine might be cheap, but she didn’t care. She’d always thought it a funny quirk that Winter, the most ascetic of men usually, should be picky about wine.
    “Will you tell me where you met the infamous Lord Caire?” Winter asked quietly, his eyes still closed.
    She sighed. “He came to visit me two nights ago.”
    His eyes opened then. “Here?”
    “Yes.” She wrinkled her nose, setting her wineglass carefully on the kitchen table.
    “Why didn’t I know about this visit?”
    She shrugged, avoiding his eyes. “You were asleep when he called.” She held her breath, wondering if she’d have to explain how Lord Caire had called.
    But Winter had other concerns. “Why didn’t you wake me, Temperance?”
    “I knew that you’d disapprove.” She sighed and sat in the chair that Lord Caire had vacated. The seat was already cold. She’d known that she would have to have this conversation with Winter eventually, but she’d been cravenly putting it off. “I don’t know why exactly he’s notorious, as you say, but I knew you wouldn’t like me associating with him.”
    “So you lied to me.”
    “Yes.” She tilted her chin up, ignoring her twinge of guilt. “I made a deal with him. He’ll help me find a patron for the home, and in return I’ll help him find the murderer of his mistress.”
    “Indeed?”
    She took a deep breath. “I’ve already paid the rent with the money he provided.”
    There was a shocked silence. Temperance swallowed and looked down, avoiding the awful expression of hurt on Winter’s face. She was doing this for him, she reminded herself. For Winter and the home.
    After a moment, her brother sighed heavily. “I’m afraid you don’t know what you’ve gotten yourself involved in.”
    “Don’t patronize me.” She glanced up sharply. “I know that the home will close even if you work yourself to death. I know I can’t sit back and let that happen. I know I can help. I know—”
    “Lord Caire is notorious for his sexual perversions,” Winter said, the flat, precise words interrupting her heated speech.
    Temperance stared, closing her mouth. If she was a good woman, a chaste and pious woman, the words would repel her. Instead she felt a thrill, low and deep and forbidden. Dear God.
    He continued. “Be careful, sister. I cannot stop you, so I will not try. But if I ever think you are in danger, I will bring this matter to Concord.”
    She drew in her breath but said nothing.
    Winter’s brown eyes, usually so calm and caring, had become hard and determined. “And mark you this: Concord will stop you.”

Chapter Five

Now, below King Lockedheart’s balcony was a stone terrace with a door that led into the castle. In the room inside, there was a very small and very insignificant maid kneeling at the hearth. Her name was Meg, and it was her duty to clean the castle grates. It was a dirty job, but Meg did it cheerfully, for she was glad

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