Her brows lifted.
“Didn’t think I caught it?”
“Didn’t think you bothered with it.” She countered.
Oh, I did. I hadn’t missed a single detail about the ceremony. From her hair to her toes.
“I’m interested in knowing much more than your name. Like where you learned to move like that.” I gestured to the stage.
“I wasn’t raised in a stringent fey home.”
“No? Who did you belong to before Ms. Neville?”
It was common in fey cultures for adopted children to take on the surname of their adopted parents, sometimes leaving the original parents’ name lost.
“I don’t know.”
“Hmm. Perhaps something I should ask her.” I said thoughtfully.
“Leave her alone.” She sparked. Annoyance flashing on her face.
“You don’t wish me to speak to her?”
“I don’t wish you to bother anyone I care about.”
“Hmm...Then I propose a truce.”
“It doesn’t sound like a truce. Sounds like you’re preparing to blackmail me.”
“I wouldn’t call it that.”
“You’re going to threaten to corner my adopted parent, if I don’t agree to your terms?”
“More of a bid for control.”
“You like to be in control, don’t you?” She hissed.
“I do. But I’m willing to share that.”
“Are you now?” She twisted to plop her elbows on the table and drop her chin in her palms, intrigued.
“I am.” I gave a single slow nod.
“And how do you propose to do that?”
“Why don’t you join me in my chamber tonight and find out.”
She scoffed. “I’m not nearly so easy as that.”
I could make her. I considered it. But I was rather more intrigued by this side of the woman and wanted to know more.
“Then invite me to yours.”
“I don’t invite men to my chambers.”
“Not even your husband?”
I frowned. I didn’t like the sound of that. Who does she invite then?
“Why not?” I queried.
“Because you’ve had quite enough.”
“What if I come up to talk? Without all these interested parties.” I nodded around us.
“You think they won’t be just as intrigued if I take you to my chamber?”
I grunted in slight mirth. “More. Likely.”
“You think I’m fool enough to be alone with you, when every time I’ve done so you pinned me down and took what you wanted?”
“I had intentions of marrying you.”
“Well, then!” She tossed her arms in exasperation. “That makes it just as well, doesn’t it?”
“No. I suppose not.” I frowned at her.
She’s the most contrary character.
Most Fey women would be fine with such an exchange. As far as all they’ve ever told me.
However, I’d never met one that spoke her mind quite so readily. Never before had a fey maid complained about me coupling with her.
She does. Regularly.
I was man enough to admit that perhaps I’d been misled about the creatures all my life. “I’m learning some things from you, Woman. I’m interested in learning more.”
“Such as what?”
“Perhaps most fey maids aren’t saying what they really mean.”
“Pretending to adore your lovemaking, you mean?”
I eyed her. Feeling a twinge in my pride that prevented me from admitting anything more. “Come upstairs with me, Woman. See if I’m as good as my word?”
Her mouth tightened.
I was tempted to remind her I could declare Royal Decree. But I bit my tongue and gave her some time.
“Fine. Prince. I’ll test your restraint.” She rose and waved at me offhandedly. Taking the stairs.
I walked boredly on her heels, as if in a big show of this being nothing unusual as I felt every pair of eyes in the tavern on us. My hand loosely gripped the railing, and I was several steps behind her. Seemingly unexcited by this change of events.
I thought I was playing it rather well.
Because I was excited.
She opened the door and we entered her chamber.
I closed the door behind me and found her standing in a far corner with her arms crossed over her chest. Eyeing me warily.
I leaned back against the wall. Dropping my head back to eye her sideways, not making a move toward her to let her relax. “Tell me more.”
“You. You look nothing like old Ms. Neville so to be the new lady of the house means that the Lord had made you his heir.”
“Yes. He did.”
“Because they raised me.” Her voice was hollow. Without emotion as she reflected on her upbringing.
“You’re not really the Lady Neville, are you?”
She was looking at a spot on the floor but at my question she lifted her gaze to me. They levelled on me. “No.”
I tipped off the wall to drop my head and give her a long look. “Who are you?”
“Kara Neville took me in and so her name I took.”
“What is she to you?”
“You refer to yourself as a Lady.”
“That was Kara’s idea.”
“So you have no real title?” I could feel my blood heating. The hint of outrage swirling through me at being deceived into thinking she was well-bred.
“Be honest, Prince. What would’ve been the difference if you’d known I had no lands or title?”
I’d not have offered to marry her.
I gave her a long look.
She uncrossed her arms and wandered to me. Walking semi-circles around me as she swung her head to keep me in view. Pretty silver curls swishing over her shoulders. The filmy purple fabric flowing around her as she moved. Parting to reveal the long line of those slim legs.
“You’d have taken me there in the dirt, as you did. And offered me nothing more than knowing I was ruined.”
“You’re not a lady. You weren’t ruined.”
That term only applied to Gems, the well bred fey.
She’s more or less admitted she’s not that.
Though she’s certainly not telling me what she is.
“You think it doesn’t matter to the untitled, that their women are whole?” She challenged. Lifting her head and levelling gorgeous green eyes on me.
“Was there blood on the ground?"