True Love

Free True Love by Flora Speer

Book: True Love by Flora Speer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Flora Speer
Tags: Romance, Medieval
the
warning.” Braedon's fingers brushed lightly across Catherine's
cheek. “And I thank you, too, for your kind offer to take in
Linette.”
    “I know Eustace well enough to be certain
that what happened was not in any way her fault,” Catherine said,
silently renewing her vow never to reveal the truth about her scar
. “My heart aches for the pain Linette must have suffered, and for
your grief at her pain.” To emphasize her point, Catherine laid a
hand on Braedon's chest. His fingers quickly covered hers, holding
her hand there, pressing it against the solid muscle until she felt
the steady throbbing of his heart.
    She looked into Braedon's night-dark eyes and
what she saw there warmed her very soul. She did not doubt a word
that he had said, nor did she question his gratitude at her
response to Linette's sad tale.
    She made no protest at all when Braedon's
warm lips skimmed over hers. It seemed an action entirely
appropriate to her sudden new knowledge about his past. Knowing
about his affection for his cousin and his determination to avenge
Linette's lost honor created an intimacy between them. She felt
Braedon's arms come around her, drawing her nearer. Her hands crept
upward to encircle his neck. Catherine nestled against him and
opened her mouth on a sigh.
    Braedon's lips grew more insistent. Catherine
did not complain. Her blood began to sing, her heart was racing,
and when his hand covered her breast she murmured softly and
pressed her mouth more firmly against his. The circumstances of his
birth did not matter to her. Braedon was an honorable man, a hero
willing to defend his ruined cousin. He was vibrantly alive,
thrillingly masculine, and she reveled in his closeness.
    “Catherine.” Slowly, with unconcealed
reluctance, Braedon separated himself from her. “We must end this
now. Surely, you know that.”
    “I do know it.” She let her fingertips trail
along the edge of his mouth before she stepped back from him. “I
don't want to end it, but you are right.”
    He took her hand and bestowed a lingering
kiss on the palm of it. Then he departed, closing the stillroom
door softly behind him, while Catherine remained gazing after him
as if she was moonstruck.
    It was some minutes before questions began to
throng her mind. The first question was, who was Braedon's father,
that he could provide a suitable dowry to Linette on short notice,
and influence an abbess to admit the girl into her convent? It
seemed likely that he was the same person who had seen to Braedon's
education and to his training as a knight.
    Romantic liaisons between noblemen and
commoners were not unknown. Sometimes, the families of the women
involved found the connection so profitable that they raised no
objections. Braedon's remark that his uncle had been well paid to
care for him further suggested that his mother's lover was a
wealthy and powerful noble. It occurred to Catherine that perhaps
her father could tell her who Braedon's male parent was.
    Only after reaching this point in her mental
review of the interlude with Braedon did Catherine realize that
once again she had been distracted from her primary purpose. She
had become so caught up in Braedon's story about his cousin's ruin
at the hands of Eustace, so concerned about Linette's fate, and so
deeply moved by her own emotions toward Braedon that she had failed
to insist on answers to her original questions.
    “Did he do it deliberately, or was he as
disturbed as I was?” Catherine asked the empty room. “One thing is
certain: I would make a wretched spy, for I cannot keep my mind on
the main subject.”
     
    Braedon ran down the steps from the tower
keep to the inner bailey with his thoughts in turmoil. He did not
make a habit of unburdening himself to others. Mere words could not
change the fact that he was illegitimate, nor did words have the
power to alter what had been done to Linette. Yet he recognized
that a large portion of his enduring fury over his cousin's fate
was

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