Betrothed by Jill Myles Read Free Book Online

Book: Betrothed by Jill Myles Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jill Myles
Tags: Romance
more feathers. Go down to the kitchens and see if they can give you some from the chickens they are preparing.”
    Feathers? What an odd request. She didn’t like the look the two women exchanged, nor the twitch of Lady Mila’s lips. It felt like a fool’s errand, but then again, what was not? Everything in this foreign castle reeked of shallow, petty lives, and she thought longingly of her sister and father, and of Rilen’s handsome face. “Any particular kind of feathers?” she asked, dragging herself back to the present.
    The maid shook her head and then gave another imperious glare to Seri. “No. Just feathers—lots of them. Now go, before you cause my lady to lose her composure altogether.”
    Odd, but Lady Mila didn’t seem all that ruffled. She seemed… amused by her maid’s antics. Seri nodded and turned to leave.
    “Bow!” Winna hissed behind her. “You bow to nobility when you leave their presence.”
    As if it was a reward? She bit the inside of her lip so hard she tasted blood. Seri turned back to Lady Mila and Winna and smiled. “I am sorry, but Vidari do not bow.”
    “You must do something to show respect,” Winna said, outraged. Mila continued to smile.
    Seri hesitated for a moment, then touched her forehead in an effusive flourish. Her gesture mimicked the head-touch that the male soldiers did for the nobility.
    Silence. Then, a grudging, “That is better. You may go now.”
    Seri left, Lady Mila’s smug look swimming before her infuriated eyes. Once out of the lush apartments, she paused in the hallway, scarcely able to breathe due to the rage that choked her. Her eyes were clenched shut and her breath came in deep, rasping gasps as she fisted her hands against her sides. How dare those women treat her like so much animal dung? Like an inferior creature, simply because her skin was a golden tan and not the milky pale that bespoke Athoni nobility? The three dru suddenly seemed like less of a prize the longer she stayed. “Hateful, hateful woman,” she muttered, her lips tightening even as she spit out the words. “I hope she trips on her dress tomorrow.”
    “Excuse me.”
    The voice spoke to the side of her, low and cultured and utterly polite, devoid of any sort of Vidari accent. Seri froze in place, slowly opening her eyes and turning her head to look to the side of her.
    A beautiful nobleman stood just down the hallway—the same one that had been in the carriage. A short distance away, he stood, regarding her with a cold look on his face. Two men in uniforms stood behind him, gaping at her.
    Had he heard her speak? Dread washed through her, replaced by burning anger as she regarded his impassive face. He looked to be emotionless, carved completely out of unfeeling marble. Ice-cold heart for an ice-cold dictator in the middle of her warm, wonderful country.
    She lifted her chin and regarded him. “Greetings.” No acknowledgment of title or rank.
    He took a step toward her, and she noticed that his hair was black and just a shade too long to be perfect. It curled against the collar of his jerkin, a jerkin that had probably cost more than she would ever see in her lifetime. That same odd, wonderful scent that followed him touched her nose. “I heard rumor that Lady Mila had taken a Vidari into her employ,” he said, emotionless. “I take it that you are she?”
    “I am,” she replied, trying to force her voice into the same dreadful neutrality.
    His eyes flicked over her as if she were nothing. “In the future, I would suggest that you learn our manners if you wish to be successful at your new position. You are to bow in acknowledgment of any nobility that passes you and address them with the proper title. Do you understand?” The voice did not waver in its succinct politeness.
    “I do.” She lifted her chin higher, then added, “My lord.” As if she’d ever bow to him. Never, even if she lived to be a hundred.
    He studied her with dark eyes, as if looking for something

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