My heroine, Elsa, is spending time with her nieces, nephew, and some other children in the gardens of her sister and brother-in-law when she is visited by an unwelcome man.
A dark shadow fell across my lap, completely covering Ian in his place at my feet. We all looked up. My stomach tightened as I recognized the outline of Merril’s profile.
“I wish to speak with you, Lady Elsa.”
“I am about to tell the children a story. Perhaps later would be better.”
“No, my lady, the matter is of an urgent nature to both of us.”
“Then you should speak with my brother about it. He arrived this morning with a friend and will most likely appear at the noon meal.”
“My agreement is with you, my lady, not your brother.”
I noted the tension in his arm despite his pleasant expression and tone.
“Elsa, should we leave?” Elmina asked softly.
When I turned to answer her, Elmina’s eyes kept straying to the Merrill’s towering figure behind me.
“No.” It was a matter of principle now. Merrill didn’t control my life. If I let him push me around, he would take full advantage of it. “He is going to have to wait.”
“You forget yourself.” Merrill’s voice lowered, sending a chill up my back.
Ariette rose abruptly, shooting from the grass like a cricket intent on escape. However, Ari wasn’t known for backing down from a fight. “This is my father’s garden, sir. You are annoying my aunt in a manner most unbecoming a gentleman. Please leave.”
The cold light that glowed in Merrill’s pale eyes set all my skin prickling. He reached toward Ari. I leapt up, intent on protecting my niece, but my interference wasn’t needed.
“What brings you out into this part of the gardens, Merrill? I didn’t know you were interested in the happenings of the nursery.”
I was never so thankful to hear anyone’s voice before.
Merrill reeled around to face the newcomer. Lord Dentin stood solid and formidable across the path to the keep. Despite the lightness of his tone and Darnay clinging to his hand, Dentin gave the impression of battle readiness.
Got to love a hero. :)
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