Shelves: never-ever-never , dnf-at-all Ok, I might just need to create a new shelf, titled to-stupid-to-live. This would fit perfectly on said shelf. The story had the make up for a perfect setting. Grumpy, loner guy saves the pleasant, non-bitchy heroine from a bad situation and because they are caught alone escaping from the bad situation they now need to marry.
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The damn fools were chanting now. He could swear he heard beads clicking together as they shuffled into a circle. Only two beeswax candles illuminated the drawing room. The candles, accompanied by various incense burners and a large brass statue of a naked female figure, sat on the mantel of a cold fireplace at the far end of the room.
The incense was strong, a convergence of scents at once flowery and spicy, mixed with the warmth caused by too many people in too small a room. He should never have listened to his solicitor. Instead, he faced a group of chanting monks. For that fact alone, he was grateful. At least no one of his recent acquaintance would learn of this idiotic exploit.
He knew enough Latin to recognize it was the language the men were chanting. Their voices were low, melodic, and not one of the so-called monks slipped in their recitation. The circle parted, forming two half-moons. He clenched his hands, forced himself to relax even as he felt his heartbeat escalate.
A figure separated from the others, walked to the mantel, taking one of the candles. With great ceremony, he lit the candle each man held in front of him. The chanting grew louder; the flames flickered as a door opened in the opposite wall. A tall, black-robed figure entered, moving to the center of the group. The man — the leader? The monks answered him in one voice. According to instructions given him, he should have remained in the anteroom until officially summoned.
The damn mirror could have remained a mystery for all he cared. A figure, clad in a blue robe, was supported by two monks, and led through the circle to stand before the leader. The crowd surged toward her, the atmosphere abruptly changing from a religious ceremony to one more predatory. A hungry and expectant pack of wild dogs ready to set upon a wounded deer. He took a few steps to the right, to see the woman more clearly. Her face was pale, her profile nearly perfect.
Pale pink lips were curved in half smile; her eyes blinked slowly as if she had recently awakened. Another brown robed figure brought a bench into the circle.
The woman was made to kneel upon it, and place her folded hands on the small ledge in front of her. Otherwise, she would have comprehended the danger implicit in the sudden eagerness of the men around him.
She shook her head, then reconsidered when one of the men at her side bent to whisper something in her ear. He pushed past the first row of garbed members, ignoring the murmur of protests around him. The woman was oddly ethereal, kneeling as she was, candlelight illuminating her face.
She was looking up at the leader, an expression of solemn wonder on her face, her green eyes clear and guileless. This time, his voice was louder. The crowd around him pressed closer, evidently eager to see the rest. The men behind the leader parted, revealing a table draped with a white cloth. He placed his hand against the pistol tucked into his jacket. A four-year-old habit of never going anywhere unarmed would prove helpful tonight.
Reaching into his robe, he grabbed the handle of the mirror. If nothing else, the damn thing would serve as a second weapon. Glancing at the woman, then the door, he calculated the distance. A Fairfax man knew when to fight and when to walk away.
He had to save the woman, but damned if it made him happy. Search for:.
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