The Guardian (Chronicles of Dover's Amalgam Book 1)

The Guardian (Chronicles of Dover's Amalgam Book 1) by Elizabetta Holcomb Read Free Book Online

Book: The Guardian (Chronicles of Dover's Amalgam Book 1) by Elizabetta Holcomb Read Free Book Online
Authors: Elizabetta Holcomb
Tags: The Guardian
the corner of mouth. He was not positive if his smile was sarcastic or real, but he could not stop it. Percival was nervous. Elizabet could do that to a person. “That was very brave of her.”
    “Her grace said—”
    “ Her grace?” Jareth interrupted. He all but stilled his mount as he turned to gape at his squire. The movement twisted the wound and caused the sutures to become taunt and pinching. So, the nerves were of a different nature. The squire felt guilty. “You know who she is to be?”
    Percival nudged his horse into a trot, thereby hiding his expression. “No one said a word to her, your grace. She does not know.”
    Jareth’s lips flattened as a flash of red passed before him. He could not distinguish whether it was anger or pain. “But you know, and I want to know how it is that you were privy to this information when I, myself, have only just been let in on the joyful news.” It was not lost on Jareth that he gave the word joyful a full measure of sarcasm.
    Percival’s shoulders broadened, stiffened as he sat taller in the saddle. “Mrs. Wheatley, your grace. She thought I should know since I was tending to the supplies.”
    “Ah, but of course. The tenacious do-gooder nursemaid of my youth.” Jareth smiled ruefully. “Must have killed her to keep it between only you two.” A thought struck him and he swiveled in his saddle to face Percival again. “Please tell me the woman used discretion.”
    Percival grinned. “Yes, your majesty. ’Twas just me she told.”
    Relief unfurled within Jareth. So much relief that he deflated slightly in the saddle. “See that it remains thus, Percival. I will not have everyone ‘her gracing’ Elizabet before the proper time.” He gazed at the road ahead. “I am not quite sure it shall come to pass. It remains unseen. Time and free will is a mystery.”
    Who did he think he was fooling? Usually, his mind stayed on facts and small details. Repetition soothed, and there were topics he found he could not leave alone no matter how hard he tried. He had obsessions, and it was increasingly evident that Elizabet could be added to the few, as well. He was obsessed with her. In the turning season, he was reminded of multi-colored hair and brown eyes.
    Quite silly, but there it was. He was thinking of the girl and he could not stop. A short, abstentious chit who would be given the title of his duchess. His mind kept returning to her lack of height, her strange colored hair and the freckle she had below her left eye. The topic of her kept creeping into all of his conversations. It was irritating. He decided it was best that he kept silent, in fear that he might give words to his thoughts and forever lose the respect of his squire.
    They rode into the village with only the sounds of winter between them. It was late, but a town like this was restless and slumber was infrequent. Most of the activity was indoors due to the time of night and the weather, but nonetheless, the town was alive. The village tavern’s windows were aglow from the lit hearth within, and sounds of singing and merriment wafted into the street as they passed. Jareth took a moment to peer through the muddy, sooty window to see a small crowd unruffled by the clamor.
    The lord of the manor’s presence would not raise suspicion. Jareth often made the journey into the village to visit the orphanage. It was another of his obsessions. He tended to gravitate toward those less fortunate than himself. They were not as complicated and quite frankly, more honest than adults. It was refreshing to be about persons who wanted nothing from him.
    The orphanage stood alone. It was a large stone building with massive steps leading to the entry door which was a dull red with large metal knockers. The location could have been better, but Jareth’s preference had been considered naught when the Black Prince stepped forward and demanded that no one wanted to behold the orphans. They were best kept out of the way and only

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