Unexpected Pleasures

Unexpected Pleasures by Mary Wine Read Free Book Online

Book: Unexpected Pleasures by Mary Wine Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mary Wine
regain her composure, Justina was far from pleased to see him. She needed sanctuary, a place to collect her thoughts and seal them behind her poise once more.
    It seemed she was going to be denied that as well. She frowned and turned her back on the viscount under the guise of placing her riding gloves on the table, but she could not remain there for long.
    â€œYou did well this morning.”
    Justina didn’t enjoy the compliment. Any form of praise coming from Biddeford always had an ulterior motive. She could see the way the man’s eyes shifted while he plotted. In a way, she pitied him, because he never seemed satisfied. He wore the finest clothing and supped on the best food. He didn’t reek from hours spent breaking his back in the fields, and still the man struggled to gain more.
    â€œI was quite surprised to see you riding with the Earl of Hertford, but that pleased me greatly. What was he talking about?”
    â€œHunting.”
    The viscount frowned at her, his eyes narrowing. A trickle of fear made its way through her.
    â€œHe wasn’t talking to me but to Sir Synclair, who is newly returned from the north.”
    â€œI noticed such.” Biddeford paused for a moment while he considered that fact. “Synclair desires your sweet body.”
    â€œHe does not.” The words left her mouth too quickly and too sharply. Justina turned her face away and sat her hat on top of a table to conceal her expression while she struggled to regain her composure.
    The viscount clicked his tongue in reprimand. She heard his steps behind her and she stiffened as revulsion went through her. He was going to touch her and she hated his fingers upon her flesh. Today, she had to fight the urge to cringe because her emotions were so unruly.
    He turned her to face him and tapped her chin with one finger.
    â€œYes, you were separated from me too long.” He leaned closer, so that she felt his breath against her cheek. “I suggest you find your balance, sweet Justina, else I shall have to design some task that will firmly remind you whom your master is.”
    He placed a kiss against her neck, and she shivered with distaste. Bitterness filled her mouth to the point that she had to fend off retching. She discovered herself agreeing with him because she had been away too long and now she knew that there were places where life was decent such as it had been when she was with Lord Ryppon. Such knowledge bred a desire to escape from everything at court but her son’s fate would not allow such. She swallowed her distaste, forcing it deep so that she might turn to look at the viscount with an expression that was devoid of her true emotions.
    â€œI did as you commanded this morning, my lord.”
    The viscount snickered. “So you did, but that does not change the fact that our newly returned baron finds you pleasing to his eye.”
    â€œBaron?”
    Biddeford shrugged and moved to the small door that would lead him to the concealed passageway. “Yes, Synclair has inherited the title of Harrow from his uncle who died without issue. Since he appears to be in good standing with the Earl of Hertford, you shall allow him to think you find his attentions ...”
    Justina felt her breath freeze in her throat. She couldn’t use Synclair; she didn’t have the ability to conceal what she was thinking around the knight. She would fail, and revulsion for such a task was thick enough to choke her. Synclair was everything noble. She couldn’t soil that.
    â€œI shall allow him to think I find his attentions ... how, my lord?”
    â€œAmusing, for the moment. I am more interested in the Earl of Hertford. Dress yourself more fashionably and see if you can gain an invitation to join his party for supper.”
    She had never known so much relief as she did when that door closed behind her guardian.
    Except for the day her husband had died.
    Her knees felt weak and she pulled in deep

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