Marcus awoke with the sun, blinking as he rolled to his side. Pain speared through him and he cradled his wound and slowly adjusted onto his back, hissing. His physician had given instructions to rest without any big movements, but Marcus just couldn’t obey. There was way too much for him to do.
Beginning today, he would have a new servant. How could he lay still at a time like this?
Marcus had been anxious for the new day to start and lain awake most of the night, waiting for the sun to arise. He didn’t know how he’d treat Isabelle, whether to order her around like a slave or give gentle words of encouragement. He enjoyed their verbal swordplay, and if she were truly frightened of him, she wouldn’t have such a spirited tempe
Isabelle couldn’t breathe. For the life of her, she couldn’t even move off the bed. Hawk’s tenderness and kindness surprised her. She was his prisoner, and yet he promised to assist her. Indeed, he could have killed her by now and not had a second thought about it.She should thank him, even as no more than a means of self-preservation, but with a kiss? She couldn’t possibly put her mouth on his again. Not after memories of the other evening invaded her senses every minute of the day, only growing worse now.If she did bestow a kiss upon him, would he want more? Would he trap her in his embrace and not let her go since they were on his bed? She glanced to his bandages. Hopefully, he was as weak as he’d been yesterday. W
While the captain slept, Isabelle ate her morning meal in the kitchen with Gabe present. The man didn’t say much, but at least he watched to make certain no other man touched her improperly. Once she finished eating, she cleaned up the broken dishes in the hallway where she’d thrown them at Simon, and then she volunteered to help in the kitchen. She needed to keep busy so that she wouldn’t think about what Hawk had done for her today. More importantly, her thoughts turned to what he required of her when he awoke. Unfortunately, the cook didn’t need her help for long, and she wandered into a large room that she assumed was the parlor. Gabe kept his eyes on her, his towering height not frightening her any longer.“Pardon
Isabelle kept her eyes on the lad in the laundry room as he instructed her on how to clean Hawk’s clothes. The boy’s scraggly appearance tugged at her heart, yet he smiled as he taught her about the laundry, not seeming to mind how he looked.Although she tried to listen carefully, her mind wandered back to the captain’s bath and how understanding he’d been. Several times she had to remind herself that he was a highwayman. Yet he certainly didn’t act like one when they were alone.Her thoughts came back to what she was doing as the boy dunked a shirt in the water.“Then, ye take the shirt like this and scrub it up and down. Do ye s
Turbulent thoughts filled Marcus’ head the rest of the afternoon. Isabelle remained in his mind even though she wasn’t in the room. Every time he closed his eyes, he saw her eyes glistening with tears of gratitude. His lips still tingled from the memory of her brief, but earth-moving kiss, and his arms still ached to hold her.Isabelle would be here any moment with his dinner. Earlier, he’d sent word to the cook to have her bring two dinners so she could eat with him.Now he wanted to say things that would make her happy. Perhaps he’d ask about her aunt and uncle. He wanted to know more about what made Isabelle the kind of woman she was, especially since she had such a rotten example in a father. Strange thing was she didn&rs
Isabelle couldn’t stop the smile stretching her mouth. Slowly, she was making Hawk fall in love with her. She knew it by his darkened eyes and by his lazy smile whenever he stared at her. She also knew it by his kind words and gentle touch. Before he released her as his prisoner, she must make him realize how he couldn’t live without her, because she for certainly couldn’t bear life without him.She’d dressed in one of her own gowns today since she’d be working around the house. Hawk had finally left his room to take over as the highwaymen’s leader, and his slow movements let her know she should keep an eye on him and see that he didn’t overdo it today. Outside, he bellowed orders and made certain everything ran smoothly. His men were building something in the yard, and the scraps of wood t
Marcus stood on the porch, clutching the wooden railing. The sun slowly dipped beyond the horizon, creating a beautiful orange and red sky. It looked like a storm was brewing. Although the scenery was surreal, agony gripped his heart.He must kill Isabelle.The longer he thought about ending her life, the more the ache in his chest grew almost to the point of suffocation. He devised plans in his head on how to go about doing it, but each way left a bitter taste of bile in his mouth. His stomach churned with indecision.Logically, he knew he couldn’t kill her, and it had nothing to do with the time they’d spent together. He just couldn’t kill someone
As the shadow came more into view, a familiar face with wide, frightened eyes searched the room. Relief flooded through Isabelle, and she sobbed with joy, finally finding the energy to rush into the hallway with opened arms. “Mrs. Winters, it’s you.”Color bloomed in the older woman’s cheeks as tears spiked her eyes. “Oh, my dear child. You’re alive.” She threw out her arms just as Isabelle rushed into them.Being with her companion now, Isabelle’s future didn’t look so dismal. There was a ray of hope in her cloudy existence.She pulled away and wiped her wet eyes. “Oh, Mrs. Winters. I didn’t know what
Marcus blinked, not believing his eyes. The older woman standing just in front of a younger one, glared at him.“Will you please excuse us, Sir,” Mrs. Winters snapped. “You’d think me and my lady were spirits the way you almost walked right through us.”He bit his lip so he wouldn’t say anything too rude. His character didn’t talk like Captain Hawk did when expressing his thoughts. Captain Hawk wouldn’t have tolerated the older companion’s rude behavior. When he looked past Mrs. Winters to Miss Stanhope, all thoughts vanished. Meek and reserved, she stood behind her companion, her eyes downcast as a frown pulled at her mouth. His heart wrenched, knowing he’d contributed to her pain. Nonethe