Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Temptation of a Kiss ~ Chapter 8

Chapter 8

   He took a seat at her kitchen table. The cottage he thought was larger inside than it had looked from the outside. He admired the fire place in the adjoining room. Made of all river rock. It spanned upwards two stories. The opening of the fire place itself was at least six feet tall and just as wide across. A man’s fire place, he thought to himself.

   A crash pulled his attention to where Brook was in the other room. “Brook!” He ran in there to find her under a pile of books and luggage on the floor. Landon started throwing the books off her to the side.

   Her face emerged from the pile. “I’m alright.”

   He pulled her to her feet. Landon saw her cheek begin to swell and a dot of blood was forming on her lower lip. Landon took her by the hand and led her into the kitchen. Taking the cloth in his hand, he wiped her lip gently.

   Brook gazed up at him seeing the concern in his eyes. “I’m positive it is not all that bad Landon.”

   His eyes flew to meet her. “You’re bleeding, Red and your cheek is starting to swell.”

   She could not help but smile at him. He was being so serious about it. “I don’t break that easily.”

   Landon then smiled. “Are you sure you never had brothers? Most women would be in tears and fainting by now.”

   “Well I am not most women,” Brook said softly and then winked at him as she smiled.

  He chuckled out loud. “No you are not Red.”

   The long journey to Quentin’s country estate started out smooth until they came upon the first town. Grams had decided it was time for her to stretch her legs out. Devon had commented it was more likely she needed to seek out some sweets. She had only been talking about it since they left the estate.

   They traveled in groups of three and just to mix things up Grams suggested they pair off into anything but couples. Brook rode with Quentin. Landon rode with Sarah and Devon with Grams. Devon agreed only for the simple reason he believed he was the only one to possess a deaf ear to all her chitter chatter.

   “The girls and I will be walking about for a short spell. We will return soon.” Grams said as she left with Brook and Sarah looped through each one of her arms.

   Landon chuckled as he watched Devon’s mouth drop open. “I’m sure they will not be gone long Devon.”

   “Who is thirsty?” Quentin asked as he walked towards the tavern across the street.

   “A pint might hit the spot about now,” Landon said and then followed Quentin. He caught up quickly to him. “Did you see anyone lurking about?”

   “No but that does not mean I am comfortable with the women wondering around unaccompanied,” Quentin answered.

   “Once we get inside you distract Devon and I will find the women. I don’t think we should be lingering around. If someone comes through here and starts to ask questions, it won’t be long before someone will be able to provide them with a direction to go in after us,” Landon said.

   Quentin pushed open the door to the establishment. It smelled of old ale and sweat. “Wow,” Quentin said as he got a whiff.

   “What?” Landon asked. “Oh bloody hell.” The stench hit him.

   Devon pushed past both of them and walked to the bar top.

   “What can I do you for Sir?” The short man behind the bar asked.

   “Three ales,” Devon said and place the money on the bar.

   The short man jumped down from what Devon assumed was a stool and disappeared under the bar. He gazed over to Landon and Quentin who were laughing with no control.

   They watched as three pints one by one appeared on the bar top. Devon leaned over slightly. The man looked up and smiled. “Can I be getting ya anything else Sir?”

   Devon shook his head no and reached down to hand him the shillings. He joined Landon and Quentin at a table next to the window.

   Landon took his ale and drank it fast. As he got up Devon asked where he was going. “To find our little women and get out of here.”

   The first place he stopped at was the bakery. He was positive the girls would be there. Peering through the window he only saw a little boy with his face pressed against the glass to the cookies.

   He looked up and down the street. “Where could they have gone?” Heading in the direction towards the carriages he passed by a boutique shop and gazed in the window. Inside there stood Brook in a pale purple gown. The color of it next to her red hair was stunning on her.

   Before he was noticed he turned and leaned up against the face on the building next to the door. Five minutes is all you’re getting ladies.

   Well five minutes turned into ten. Landon was starring off across the road down a ways when he noticed three men he knew from London. Two of them men had been mentioned by Quent as McMay’s thugs. He quickly crossed the street a dipped into an ally. Creeping silently down towards the men he came up behind them.

   “I have to say gentlemen, you three are the ugliest mutts I’ve run across in a long time,” Landon said with a chuckle. He ducked as one of the men’s arms swung over his head.

   Landon turned to land a punch in the tall round man’s ribs. His body fell into the man behind him. Landon then moved the opposite direction and made contact with the man’s face who took a swing at him moments earlier.

   As he swung around swiftly, kicking both men behind him hard across the chest and one in the chin. Landon was seized from behind and then quickly released. He turned to see Quent standing over the man on the ground.

   “Always in the right place at the right time aren’t you,” Landon asked.

   Quentin smiled and said, “Lucky for you I seem to be. Let’s get these guys in the end of the ally. Grab his legs.”

   Landon and Quentin had just finished removing any evidence of a struggle when Devon and the girls approached the carriage next to the ally.

   He helped Grams into one of the carriages. “I do hope you left some clothes for the locals to purchase.”

   Grams giggled. “I did not acquire anything for myself, if you must know.”

   Landon smiled at her sweetly. “No I don’t, but that won’t stop you from telling me will it my lovely.” He heard Devon laugh as he entered in from the other side. He gave Devon a quick wink and said, “She is all yours Lord Price.”

   Devon chuckled and shook his head. Grams began to comment when Landon shut the door on her.

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