Catching my forearm, he pulled me to the wall. I knew I should resist, but I didn’t want to. We huddled, hidden from the rest of the garden by the thick limbs and needle-heavy branches of a pine. With barely space for the two of us to stand, my nose came level with the lacings on his jerkin. I lifted my chin to look up into his face. The scents of evergreen and leather filled my senses.
“We are worried for your safety, my maid.”
“You and Silvanticus?”
The blue of his eye deepened. “Aye. Be careful. Stay aware of your surroundings, bar the door to the garden when not without, and only eat what Ealdine serves you.” He slid his hand from my arm to my waist and pulled me a half step closer. Any farther and I would hurt my neck to look at him. “Promise me?” he urged, a strange tone to his voice.
Instead of releasing me, he studied me as though to assess my earnestness.
Heart beat quickened, but not from fear, I returned his scrutiny. My hands rested on his chest, trapped between us. The steady thump of his heart beneath them assured me I wasn’t dreaming this. A war broke out betwixt the desire to press closer to him and the reality I was another’s by law.
“I am betrothed to Silvanticus.” The words were more of a reluctant reminder to me than rebuke for him.
Death or an arranged marriage, Verity refuses to accept the choices.
Verity Favian's father dies unexpectedly. Her half-brother, Verdon, lays claim to all their father left behind: title, castle, and her. Verdon cannot touch the land set aside for her dowry so he offers her hand for sale to the highest bidder. Lord Silvanticus, a man renowned for his military power and close ties to the king, makes the winning bid. Despite the rumors of Silvanticus’ madness and cruelty, Verdon accepts.
Verdon locks her away in a tower. She is not sure if he seeks to prevent her from fleeing the marriage or spreading the truth only she seems willing to speak: Verdon killed their father. Either way, her time is running out.
Word and Deed
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