HELD CAPTIVE BY A ROGUE

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Chapter 7

It was early morning when the first rays of sunlight came filtering through the open windows in the kitchen where Emma had just finished preparing a breakfast tray for Lord Christopher and Katie. Mumbling to herself about a dog in the house, she picked up the tray and carried it upstairs.

Entering Kathryn's bed chamber quietly, she set the tray down on the table and opened up the heavy, velvet drapes to let the sunlight into the room. She could see the injured dog sleeping comfortably on a pallet by the side of the bed and all the potions Kathryn had used sitting on the nightstand. With a raised eyebrow, she walked over to examine them a little closer. This mixture of roots and herbs were an old family secret. How in the world would Katie know about them? She wondered curiously to herself holding the bowl of potion in her hand.

A slight whimper sounded from the dog and he slowly flickered his eyes open. Instantly, Kathryn sat up with a start for she had heard his cry. "Has his fever returned? She asked, Emma worriedly before quickly climbing out of the bed.

"No, I don't believe so, his eyes actually look fairly clear as a matter of fact."

Kathryn sighed with relief at hearing the housekeeper's words and knelt down next to the dog and stroked him lightly. He looked up at her with his big brown eyes as she continued petting him. "You sure look a lot better this morning then you did last night, old boy," she said to him softly.

"Katie, where did you learn how to mix these particular roots and herbs?" Emma asked seriously, staring at her.

Kathryn stopped petting the dog and thought for a moment about Emma's question. "I don't know, Emma," she finally replied with a frown crossing her brow. "I vaguely remember an older woman, she looked kind of like you, teaching me how to use them. "Why do you ask? Is it important?"

"It's just that this particular root and herb mixture is an old family recipe, only known to my family, at least I've always thought so. That's why it's so strange that you know about them."

"Could I possibly know someone in your family do you think, Emma?" Kathryn asked with a hopeful gleam in her eye.

"Possibly, but I wonder who? I come from a rather large family and this secret has been passed down from generation to generation," she explained to Kathryn.

Christopher entered the room after he'd heard the two women talking to each other.

"Good morning, your lordship," Emma greeted him seeing him enter.

"Good morning, ladies," he said with surprise, for he saw that the dog was still alive. Actually, looking much improved from the day before. "I see you've performed quite a miracle, Katie. I thought for sure that the dog wouldn't last through the night."

"Well, it was touch and go for a while, your lordship, but he finally pulled through."

"I can see that," he said, gazing at Kathryn proudly. "What are you going to call him, Katie?"

"I don't really know, your lordship, I haven't really thought about it," she replied and then looked down, deep in thought.

Christopher reached out and patted the dog on the head. "You sure have dodged death, old boy," he said, the dog responding to his attention. "I thought you were a goner for sure last night."

"Dodged death," Kathryn murmured to herself. "That's it! I'll call him Dodger!"

"Dodger! What kind of a name is that for a golden retriever?" Christopher uttered in dismay. "Although, it does fit his circumstances quite well."

Emma rolled her eyes, glancing between the two of them and decided to leave quietly and reheat their breakfast knowing full well that it would be cold by the time they got around to eating it.

Kathryn became very much aware that she was standing there in front of Lord Christopher in only a thin muslin night dress for he was silently staring at her, passion obviously showing in his eyes. Clearing her throat, she walked over to the coffer and quickly donned a dark green, velvet robe that was hanging there.

"You never cease to amaze me with your abilities, Katie. I'm quite impressed with your powers of healing. That was quite a feat, to say the least."

Feeling uncomfortable with his compliment, Kathryn went over to where Dodger laid and began checking his bandages. Satisfied that they didn't need changing yet, she stood up and looked at Christopher, who was still staring at her intensely. "I really need to get dressed, your lordship," she said shyly, clutching her hands over her breasts. "So, if you wouldn't mind, could you excuse me?"

"Yes, of course," Christopher said, disappointedly. "I see Emma took our breakfast downstairs, so I'll expect you to join me shortly, in the dining room when you have finished changing."

"Thank you, your lordship." Kathryn said, with a sigh of relief when he had left the room. "Why does he make me feel so uncomfortable all the time?" She said to Dodger, who seemed to be listening to her every word. "It's like he's undressing me with his eyes every time he looks at me. Why am I telling you all this?" She laughed, shaking herself free from these thoughts.

After Christopher left Kathryn's room, he started to descend the stairs when he saw Steven Hawk standing in the foyer, speaking with Emma. "Young Steven, he shouted angrily, you're just the one I wanted to see. I was going to send for you this afternoon, but now that won't be necessary." He was next to him before he even had an opportunity to reply.

"Step into my study," Christopher demanded through clenched teeth, barely able to control his anger.

Kathryn hearing Steven's name used, darted out of her room like lightning to the edge of the staircase. She could see his lordship motioning Steven Hawk to follow him into his study. He lied to me! He said he had no intention of turning me over to the authorities. But he's here. Why else would he be here, except to take me away. She thought horribly. Running back to her room, she slammed the door shut and leaned her back up against it. No, I'm not going to get hysterical. If I am to be taken away to prison, then I'm going to go with dignity! She lifted her chin up and proceeded to change into her old blue and white flowered dress, preparing herself for what was to come. "What about you, Dodger? Who's going to take care of you when I'm gone?" She said, sadly looking down at the dog. Dodger let out a slight whimper and laid his head down on his front paws as if he understood every word she was saying to him. "It will be alright. Don't worry, I'm sure Emma will take good care of you."

***

Christopher was seething when he closed the study door and turned and faced Steven Hawk who had a bewildered expression on his face. "How dare you enter my home without my permission?" He bellowed, his eyes going black with rage. "What explanation do you have for your actions? Speak up. I'm really interested to hear your reasoning."

"Sir, your housekeeper invited me into your foyer, he replied not understanding why the Marquis would be so offended by his being here.

"I'm not talking about today, you impertinent young upstart!" He roared. "I'm talking about the other day when you barged your way in here when I wasn't at home and demanded to speak with Katie against my wishes!"

"I'm sorry sir, you must have me confused with someone else for I've never been here before today."

"Christopher flew into a rage, "you lying son of a bitch," he thundered, grabbing Steven by the collar and shaking him roughly. "I know you were here! Katie said it was you when I questioned her about it. I want to know exactly what you said to her to upset her so. And I want to know now, Mr. Hawk!" Christopher snarled in his face.

"Your lordship, I think I understand what's going on here. You're mistaking me for my cousin, Steven. I'm David Cabot. I've only just recently arrived here in Dartmoor, to work with my uncle, the constable."

Christopher stared at David, intensely. "You are not Steven Hawk?" He said doubtfully, searching his face for some sign of the truth.

"No, I'm not, but Steven and I are identical cousins.

Christopher closed his eyes and let out a deep breath as the realization of David's words sunk in. "I guess I owe you an apology then, Mr. Cabot." Christopher said, before shaking David's hand. "These are you must admit, very unusual circumstances."

"Well, I was quite shocked myself when I first met Steven, face to face. You see, no one had ever told us we each had a double." David said, trying to make this arrogant Marquis feel more at ease.

"Since you're not Steven, then what are you doing here?" Christopher asked, curiously.

I came here to deliver a letter to your housekeeper from her sister in Glastonbury." David explained briefly.

Christopher sat down in a high back winged chair and felt totally ridiculous for accosting this poor young man for doing nothing more than trying to deliver a letter.

"You have my permission to deliver the letter, Mr. Cabot and again my apologies for the mistaken identity."

David took this as a dismissal and left the room quietly not wanting to upset this head strong Marquis again.

Emma was still in the foyer waiting anxiously for the letter from her sister David had mentioned before he was ordered into the study by Lord Christopher.

"Here's the letter, Emma." David said, pulling it out of his coat pocket.

"I really do appreciate you bringing this all the way from Glastonbury, Mr. Cabot. It's been months since I've last heard from Mary." Emma said.

"Lord Christopher sure has quite a temper doesn't he," David whispered to Emma after he walked over to the door.

"Oh, most definitely he does. Especially when someone goes against his wishes, like your cousin Steven did."

After she made her goodbyes to David Cabot, Emma hurried up the stairs to her own bed chamber now anxious to read Mary's letter. A frown crossed her old wrinkled brow when she pondered the sad news that Mary had related to her. "Kathryn Grey, missing?" She said aloud. Poor child. Mary was very fond of her and has practically raised her as her own ever since her mother died so many years ago. She was always a bit head strong though, for her own good. The very idea of her riding from London at night alone was just asking for trouble, she thought to herself. Suddenly Emma's eyes opened wide for an incredible idea occurred to her. "It sure is a strange coincidence that Kathryn Grey disappeared just about the same time as Lord Christopher brought Katie home. She also had been on that same road from London." She had always had her doubts about Katie all along. Her lady-like qualities and all the other suspicions she'd had about her never quite fit her occupation of being a highway robber, except for the simple fact that she was indeed present at the hold-up, even though she didn't participate. As she pondered this notion farther, she tried to remember how Mary had described her charge's appearance. It seemed to her that Mary had said that Kathryn Grey did have red hair. "Lordy, what if the two of them did in fact turn out to be one and the same," she said, aloud. The only way she could find out for sure was to write to Mary for a complete description of Kathryn Grey, to the last detail. Maybe she would have some kind of birthmark or other characteristic that would prove beyond a shadow of doubt, that Katie was Kathryn Grey. Coming to that decision, Emma quickly sat down at her writing desk and began penning out a letter. Emma looked up for a moment when another thought crossed her mind. The potions, could Mary have taught Kathryn Grey their old family recipes? That would explain how Katie knew about them. Excitedly, Emma finished the letter and took it downstairs to Henry, the coachman, to take it into town and have it put on the next public coach leaving on the main road, which passed by Glastonbury on its way to London.

***

Christopher leisurely walked into the dining room expecting Katie to be waiting for him but there was no sign of her. Nor was the table set for his breakfast either. "Damn it to hell! What is wrong with this household today! Where the hell is everyone?" He swore when he checked the kitchen and found no sign of Emma or anyone else for that matter. Holding his temper in check, he headed for the main staircase to look upstairs for the whereabouts of his missing staff.

At the top of the stairs, he could see Katie coming down, one step at a time, with all the grace of a royal queen. Her head was held high as she made her decent. When she reached him, she placed her hands together in front of her and lowered her head. "I'm ready to go now, your lordship."

Christopher couldn't figure out what the hell she was talking about. "Go, go where, Katie?" He asked, inquisitively.

"With Steven Hawk, of course."

Christopher stared at her in astonishment. "Why do you have this obsession of being taken away by Steven Hawk," he blurted out angrily at her.

"He's here, isn't he," she stated with a slight gesture of her hand. "Why else would you have sent for him?"

"Damn it to hell, Katie! I didn't send for him, he just showed up. No, no actually it wasn't even Steven Hawk who was here, it was his cousin, David Cabot and I think he said his name was. I don't know. They're identical cousins. This has got to be the strangest morning I've ever had! People who aren't who they're supposed to be. The servants disappearing. You, with this damn obsession of yours. God, I think I'm going crazy, and to top it off, I haven't even had my breakfast yet!" Christopher shouted holding his hands up against his head.

Kathryn felt a wave of relief wash over her when she found out she wasn't being taken away after all. She stared at Christopher as a mixture of emotions crossed his face, not understanding anything he was talking about.

Christopher finally took Kathryn by the hand, "let's start this day over again, shall we," he said and led her into the dining room. "Do you have any idea where any of the servants are this morning?" He asked seriously just when Emma came bursting through the kitchen door.

"Where the blazes have you been, I've been looking all over for you," he shouted at the housekeeper.

"Begging your pardon, your lordship, but I had received a letter from my sister and I was so excited, I neglected my duties. I'm sorry," Emma replied, sheepishly. "I won't let it happen again, sir."

"Well, I'm starving," Christopher grumbled and plopped down in his chair at the dining table.

Both Katie and Emma quickly scampered off to the kitchen to get this very distraught Marquis his much needed breakfast.

***

It was well after dark when Billy and Tommy met in their secret hide out which laid deep in the forest on the outskirts of Dartmoor. They had discovered this cave covered over by over-grown bushes by sheer accident when they were spotted by the authorities for poaching and were trying to find a safe place to hide.

Waiting for their ringleader to arrive, Billy and Tommy poured themselves some ale and sat down at the table that was at the far end of the cave, wondering why this meeting was called.

"I can't see no reason for this meetin, Tommy." Billy said, emptying his glass. "We'd done nothin wrong of late."

"I don't know either, Billy, so we'll just have to wait and see, won't we," Tommy replied, feeling a little uneasy at this unexpected visit from their boss.

It was a little over an hour later when the leader of these ruffians finally arrived and made his way through the brush at the entrance of the cave.

"Bout time ya be showin up. Tommy and me here we've just about given up on ya." Billy slurred for he was now working on his third ale.

"Is there ever a time you're not intoxicated, Billy?" The ringleader said, gruffly. Irritated at Billy's never ending drunkenness.

"Nope," Billy replied with a smirky grin.

"You're going to have to lay low for a while boys and stay away from the public coaches especially. Because David Cabot, the new assistant constable will be riding it in the efforts to catch the likes of you two. So hold off on any more robberies until I let you know the coast is clear."

"Ooh, I'm really scared, aren't ya, Tommy? See, I'm a shaken in me boots." Billy snickered, leaning back and almost falling out of his chair.

Ignoring Billy's antics, the ringleader continued. "Since when did you two take on a new partner?" He snarled at them.

Billy sat back up in his chair. "What's ya talkin about? New partner, we aren't got no new partner, have we Tommy? It's always been just the two of us, until you came along, that is."

"I'm talking about the woman who was with you when Lord Christopher shot her and took her back to Crestwood Hall."

Billy and Tommy looked at each other. "She wasn't with us willingly, sir, Tommy said in their defense. "We had just robbed her and Billy here wanted to bring her along to have a little fun with her later. That's all. We wouldn't take on a new partner without you knowing about it."

"Well, this poses quite a little problem for us boys. Luckily she has amnesia right now but when she regains her memory, she could identify both of you."

Billy and Tommy stared at each other as they thought about what their boss said. "I told ya Billy, we should have left her alone, but oh, no, you had to have your way with her!"

"Oh shut your yapper, Tommy. Billy said in a huff.

"That will be just about enough out of the both of you!" The ringleader yelled. "I'm trying to think! Well boys, we're just going to have to get rid of her, that's all." He said, finally coming to a decision.

Billy's eyes lit up as he rubbed his hands together in anticipation. "I'll be happy to do your dirty work for ya boss, if I can have a little fun with her first!"

"I'm sure you will Billy," he said. "But don't do anything until I contact you first. Do you hear me, Billy?" He demanded seriously knowing of Billy's fetish for women.

"Ya I hear ya boss," Billy drawled disappointed for the delay.

"The plan for her demise must be perfect so none of us are implicated." I have to get back before I'm missed, so remember what I said!" The ringleader growled before he disappeared out the front of the cave.


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