Knights of de Ware 01 - My Champion

Knights of de Ware 01 - My Champion by Glynnis Campbell Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Knights of de Ware 01 - My Champion by Glynnis Campbell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Glynnis Campbell
Tags: Romance
keeps food on your table?”
    “It appeases my hunger,” he replied cryptically, looking at her from beneath lowered lids.
    Linet cursed the fair complexion of hers that showed every subtle flush of emotion. Damn the rogue! She’d dealt with such gibberish before. Why was she blushing?
    “What is it you really want?” she blurted in frustration.
    “Aside from a new tunic?”
    She managed to keep her gaze steady, but a tiny muscle in her jaw tensed.
    “You may make little of it,” he said, sniffing. “You’re a wealthy merchant. But I? I’m only a poor wretch with no tunic on his back.”
    Linet felt her poise ebbing away as surely as the tide. This scoundrel was cocky and arrogant and underdressed, and all she could think about was getting rid of him as quickly as possible. With a flustered sigh, she rummaged through her basket and tugged out a short length of cheap woaded wool. The Guild would have given her a tongue-lashing for giving away her goods. But she was desperate.
    “Here,” she bit out, shoving the cloth at him.
    The knave had the audacity to inspect the fabric, as if he would’ve known the difference between fine worsted and Kendal cloth.
    “Anything else?” she asked, her voice dripping with sarcasm.
    He tucked the fabric beneath his cloak, brushing it with annoying intimacy against the bare skin of his chest.
    “As a matter of fact, aye,” he replied, drawing himself up to his full imposing height before her.
    She felt suddenly overwhelmed. His presence dominated the room, and she regretted her hastiness in dropping the dagger out the window.
    “I intend to offer you my services for the duration of the fair,” he told her.
    “Your…services?” Her voice sounded high and brittle in her ears. She didn’t want to think about the pictures his words had just conjured up. His speech was innocuous enough, but somehow his body was imparting another message altogether.
    “You need me,” he murmured.
    Her breath froze in her throat. She must have heard him wrong. To her chagrin, another flush stole up her cheeks.
    “You shouldn’t be out alone,” he told her, folding his arms decisively. “I fear those two knaves in the marketplace haven’t finished with you. I’m offering you my protection.”
    “Protection.”
    “Yes,” he confirmed, wrinkling his brow in concern. “A prosperous merchant like you is at great risk from thieves.” He shrugged. “And a poor beggar like me could use a spare farthing or two for a good day’s labor, keeping them at bay.”
    Linet could only stare at him. His smoky, sapphire eyes and that deep triangle of his chest were making it difficult to concentrate. “I can manage well enough on my own,” she choked out at last, irritated with herself and eager to distract him.
    “Keep me in food and clothing, and you can even defer paying my wage until you’ve sold the season’s goods,” he offered.
    “Nay, I—“
    “I insist,” he said in a voice that, while soft, brooked no argument.
    She wasn’t about to enlist the services of this too proud, too smooth, too smug commoner who wore a fake beard. He was as suspect as rotten cod. He’d probably cause more trouble than he’d prevent. She didn’t need a guardian. Harold was protection enough. She’d simply tell him so.
    She glanced up at the dark beggar again and noted the firm, stubborn line of his jaw. Somehow he didn’t look like the sort of man to do a woman’s bidding. She supposed she’d have to use her merchant’s wits.
    “You think you can protect me from thieves?” she asked, pretending to consider his offer.
    He spoke solemnly. “You may rest assured.”
    “And you have experience in this?”
    “My dagger has tasted the blood of many a varlet.”
    “So you can singlehandedly defend me from two, three, four attackers?”
    “Aye,” he said with easy confidence.
    “Then let’s put it to the test,” she told him, linking her arm through her basket of wool. “Guards!” she cried.

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