For Want of a Fiend

For Want of a Fiend by Barbara Ann Wright Read Free Book Online

Book: For Want of a Fiend by Barbara Ann Wright Read Free Book Online
Authors: Barbara Ann Wright
“Starbride is a member of my family.”
    Before Ma had a chance to speak, Da piped in with, “Quite right. And she’ll understand, my girl, I know she will.”
    Katya gave her father a fleeting smile and then sighed. “I’ll go and tell Reinholt.”
    She’d drag Reinholt to the family dinner and then she would rush from it as quickly as possible and spend the rest of the evening with Starbride, apologizing until she was blue.
    On the way to Reinholt’s room, Katya stopped by her own and sent Averie with a note to Starbride. It was the coward’s way out, but if she had to see Starbride’s disappointment, Katya would be angry at Reinholt before she even reached his room. Make him some allowances; the thought made her grind her teeth.
    She didn’t bother to knock. Reinholt wouldn’t have gotten any new servants in a few hours. Everything was as she’d left it, but the door to the bedroom was slightly ajar. Katya heard voices. If Reinholt was still occupied, she was leaving.
    But the voices didn’t sound passionate. They were just two men talking, and one said, “Are you certain this is the best course for you, Highness?”
    Katya recognized Lord Vincent’s voice. She edged closer.
    “Thought you never questioned your betters, Vincent,” Reinholt said.
    Katya crept toward where the bedroom door was open a crack. She shifted until she could see them standing by Reinholt’s bed. He swigged from a wine bottle and wore a loosely tied silk robe.
    Lord Vincent clasped his hands in front of his immaculate coat, the breast embroidered with crossed swords held by the hawk of Farraday, the champion’s crest. “I would never question you, Highness, but my station does permit me to worry for you.”
    “Have you been speaking to my family about your worries?”
    “Her highness the princess expressed some concern for you as well.”
    “Did she?” Reinholt took another swig. “And what did you tell her, eh?” He grabbed Lord Vincent’s upper arm. “Did you tell her this wasn’t the first time I’ve been unfaithful to my wife?” He stepped close, their faces inches apart. “Did you tell her there are some needs a wife can’t fulfill?”
    “No, Highness,” Lord Vincent said, so softly that Katya had to read his lips.
    Reinholt kissed him. Lord Vincent didn’t react, and Katya tensed. She couldn’t let Reinholt force himself on anyone, even someone too hidebound by tradition to refuse the desires of a prince.
    Before she had a chance to storm in, Lord Vincent’s arms curled around Reinholt’s shoulders and pulled him closer. The bottle slipped from Reinholt’s grasp as the two embraced. When they broke away, they were both breathing hard.
    Reinholt barked a laugh. “Spirits above, Vincent, no one kisses like you do.”
    Lord Vincent smiled his enigmatic little smile. “Thank you, Highness.”
    Katya backed up quietly until she stood just inside the sitting room door. “Reinholt?”
    He opened the bedroom door wider and smiled when he saw her, but his smile hadn’t lost its bitter edge. “What do you want now, Little K?”
    Lord Vincent hadn’t come with him. Katya had to wonder if he was hiding from her. “Our parents want us at dinner. It’s just the four of us, by their order.”
    Reinholt lazily scratched the exposed skin of his chest. “Do tell.”
    “They want you there by hook or by crook, so either get dressed and come with me, or our parents will descend upon this pigsty. Do you really want them to see it?”
    Reinholt’s nostrils flared. She bet his pyramid necklace was burning. So, he had some pride left after all. “As my sister commands. Will you give me a moment to dress or will you step inside and make sure I get the job done properly?”
    “I can fetch you a servant.”
    “Don’t. I’ll be right behind you.”
    Katya waited in the formal sitting room; Reinholt must have been used to being dressed by Lord Vincent. That or he had learned how to properly dress himself. How long

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