Daughters of the Dagger 03 - Amber (19 page)

BOOK: Daughters of the Dagger 03 - Amber
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Chapter 17

Lucas didn’t want to be rude to Sir Romney and his sister, or he would have refused to go see their addlepated aunt. He didn’t have time for this, as he had a ruby to steal.

Father Armand was going to be arriving in a few short days and if he was going to claim the castle, he needed that damned ruby to give him in exchange
as part of their deal. He decided he would just stop in and pretend to care about the old bitty and then he’d head on out and plot his next attempt.

He followed the group into the keep, through the great hall
, and down another corridor. Mirabelle had decided to come with them rather than stay in the courtyard alone. For some reason, she seemed to cling to every word Sir Romney said and she obeyed every order he gave her. She certainly didn’t learn that from keeping company with Amber.

“She’s in here,” said Helen, pushing
open the door to a room slowly. “The smallest thing makes her cry for no reason at all, so try not to do or say anything to startle her.”

They walked into the
room quietly. Lucas saw a woman sitting in a chair with her head down and her body slumped over. It was dark and he could only see her silhouette.

“Aunt Veronica?” said Helen softly. “Some people are here to see you.”

“I don’t want to see anyone,” she said softly.

“It’s me … Romney,” said the knight walking up to her and laying a hand on her shoulder. She jerked backward and held up her hand
to shield herself.

“Let me try,” said Amber, moving forward
slowly. “I am a nun,” she told the woman. “My name is Amber, and I’d like to pray with you.”

“I don’t want prayers!” she shou
ted, startling all of them. “Don’t mention prayers again.”

“My, she is temper
amental,” commented Mirabelle, causing the woman’s head to snap up, as she tried to see her in the dark.

“What is the Goose doing in here?” she asked, surprising Lucas that she even knew what a Goose was, let along was able to see her in the dark.

“I’m leaving,” said Mirabelle, her voice sounding shaky. Sir Romney put a hand out to stop her, but she continued to pull away. “I’m not going to sit here and be insulted by a crazy woman.”

“What did you say?” The woman’s voice sounded angry and Lucas thought she was going to cry out in rage again.

“This is ridiculous,” he said. “We’re all standing in the dark and walking on eggshells. Woman, if you’re going to sit here and feel sorry for yourself than you deserve to be left alone.”

“Lucas, don’t say that,” warned Amber, but he had enough of this nonsense and wasn’t going to be a part of it any more. He turned to leave,
but stubbed his toe on something in the dark. Angered, he shot across the room and ripped open the shutters on the window. Sunlight filled the room and a bright beam shot out and hit the woman in the face. She turned her head, raising her hand to block it and cried out as if she’d been struck and was in pain. Amber turned to him with fire in her eyes and her hands went to her hips. He’d never seen her look so angry.

“Stop it, Lucifer!” she c
ried, and Lucas knew she was more than upset with him or she wouldn’t have called him by his devil name.

“Lucifer?” The woman lowered her hand
slowly, the sunlight filling her piercing pale blue eyes. She wasn’t as old as he’d thought, though she was a good twenty years his senior. She grabbed hold of the arms of the chair and sat upright, staring at Lucas. “Are you Lucifer?” she asked, and Lucas saw what he thought was fear in her eyes.

“I’m not the devil,” he ground out. “So you needn’t worry that I’m here to take your soul.”

“My soul’s been gone for years now,” she said, and Lucas knew it was because of the husband and baby that Romney told him she’d lost.

“Look, I feel your pain, Lady Veronica, but forgive me if I won’t stand here and cater to your fits of depression.”

“Mayhap we should go now.” Amber grabbed Lucas by the arm and started for the door.

“Wait!” They turned back to see the woman standing.

“She hasn’t stood without help in years,” said Helen.

“Aunt Veronica, sit back down before you fall,” urged Romney.

“What do you know about my pain?” she asked.

“What?” asked Lucas, confused
by her question.

“What do you know about
a hard life and pain and losses?” She started crying and Lucas just shook his head and sighed.

“Now you’ve done it, Lucifer,” Amber said again and he
knew she was still very angry with him “You need to apologize.”

“I’m sorry I made you cry,” he told the woman. “But no one
’s life is as miserable as mine so I cannot say I feel pity for you, if that’s what you’re looking for.”

“I think we all should go now,” said Sir Rom
ney, and they headed for the door.

“Nay!” Lady Veronica shouted out. “Tell me,
Lucifer, have you ever lost a loved one?”

“I can’t say I have,” he admitted. “Because I had no loved ones in my life – ever. And I rather like it that way as it keeps my head from becoming clouded. Forgive me for saying, but you need to forget about your past and move on, Lady Veronica. If not, you are going to lose whatever you have in the present.”

With that, he turned around and rushed from the room, hearing her voice whisper, “Lucifer. You’ve come to get me.”

Chapter 18

Lucas sat on the wooden bench near the fire in the great hall, not wanting to sit next to Amber during the meal since she was still angry with him for the way he’d talked to Lady Veronica earlier. He, himself, was so upset by the turn of events since they’d arrived in Canterbury, first with the ruby and now with this, that he couldn’t even eat.

“What’s the matter, Lucas?” asked Sir Romney, sitting down next to him.

“What isn’t the matter?” he said, taking a last swig of his ale and banging the metal tankard down on the trestle table.

“Don’t worry about the incident with Lady Veronica. She’s been like that ever since I’ve known her. I guess the incident happened just before my
older sister, Helen was born. My aunt moved overseas many years ago, I think trying to escape her memories. I thought when she’d returned that she had been healed of her inner wounds, but I was wrong. There is nothing anyone can do about it. We just learn to live with it, that’s all.”

“I don’t know how you put up with such nonsense,” he told him. “I certainly wouldn’t.”

“Well, mayhap we won’t have to any more,” said Romney, staring across the room.

Lucas looked up to see Lady Veronica enter the room with Helen right behind her. She looked beautiful, dressed in a long taupe gown that hugged her at the bodice and trailed down her thin waist to the ground. He
r golden hair was pulled upward in a half-braid and she wore an airy short veiled headpiece attached to the metal, jewel-embedded circlet on her head. Lucas swore she looked ten years younger than she had looked while sitting and sulking in her room.

She scanned the room with her eyes, and Amber noticed and jumped up and ran to her side. They conversed for a moment, and then Amber pointed in his direction and started leading the lady toward him.

“God’s eyes, they are coming over here,” he grumbled. “I just want to be left alone.”

“Remember the Code of Conduct,” Sir Romney reminded him. “Try to act respectful like a knight and mayhap she won’t start crying again.”

Lucas didn’t really care about acting like a knight nor did he care about ladies crying right now. All he wanted was to be left alone to think. And Amber bringing the addlepated woman right to him was the last thing he needed.

He got to his feet, intending to leave, but Amber called out to him. “Lucas, Lucas, wait!”

Well, at least she wasn’t calling him Lucifer any more. He bit back an oath and tried to smile, though he was really ready to dart out the door.

“Thank you, Lucifer,” said Lady
Veronica coming to join him. The woman actually had a smile on her face and Lucas didn’t know if she was happy or just about to have another crazy fit.

“My name is Lucas,” he snapped

“It is?”

“He likes to be called Lucas but his real name is Lucifer,” Amber intervened. “Have you ever heard such an odd name?”

“Just once before,
” the lady said, her eyes burning into Lucas, making him even more uncomfortable. “But that was a long time ago. And I never thought I’d ever hear it again.”

“Well, if I have anything to do with it, you won’t,” he
assured her.

“It’s the most wonderful name I’ve ever heard,” she said with a smile.

Now Lucas knew the woman was mad. No one ever thought his devil name was wonderful.

“Was there somethin
g you wanted?” he asked, wishing to be done with this already.

Helen rushed up to join them then and Mirabelle was with her.

“My aunt has seemed to have a miraculous recovery and she said she has you to thank,” relayed Helen.

“I’m named after the devil, not God,” he told her. “I don’t do miracles so you don’t have me to thank.”

“But I do,” the woman said. “Before you came to me I thought I had no hope of ever being happy again. But now I know I can be happy. You were right when you said I need to forget about the past and live in the present and that’s exactly what I intend to do.”

“That’s wonderful,” he said. “I’m h
appy for your revelation. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to be on my way.”

“But we haven’t even had time to get to know each other. Please stay. I have so much I want to tell you.”

“No disrespect, my lady, but I doubt you’d have anything to say to me that could possibly hold my interest. Now if you’ll excuse me, I bid you a goodnight.”

He turned his back on her, meaning to go to the cham
ber Sir Romney had given him to use during his stay, but stopped dead in his tracks when he heard her reply.

“I once had a child I had to abandon on the steps of the church. His name was Lucifer.”

Lucas’s body stiffened, and he felt a course of anxiety wash through him. Could this woman be his mother? After all this time, could he finally have found the woman who abandoned him three and twenty years ago, leaving his life in the hands of Father Armand? He wanted to know, and at the same time he didn’t. He didn’t need a mother who abandoned him in his time of greatest need coming back to him now. He had his life planned and he was about to get everything he’d ever dreamed of. With one last task he’d be able to attain the wealth, the title and the castle, and live the rest of his days the way he wanted. Why the hell did this have to be happening now?

“I’m not your son, if that’s what you think.” He didn’t turn around, and she
came up and lightly touched his elbow.

“Were you found on the steps
of St. Ermengild’s three and twenty years ago and taken in and raised by a priest named Father Armand?”

“He was,” Amber answered for him

The anger inside him was growing. All the lon
eliness, the suffering and the hope of her someday coming back to claim him year after year welled up in his chest and threatened to choke him. She hadn’t returned for him. And if he hadn’t come to Canterbury Castle, she still wouldn’t have sought him out. She knew where she left him, and she couldn’t take the time to collect him again after all these years. So why the hell should he even care about her now?

“I think you have the wrong man,” he ground out. “My mother abandoned me on the steps of the church and paid the priest to take me.” He turned and stared into her eyes. The eyes that were birdlike and light blue and looked a lot like his. Her hair was blond as well, and he didn’t want to admit she could be his mother. “I hate my mother for not coming back for me and I hate her even more for leaving me with a priest who thought to raise me as a monk. So if you really are my mother, than you were best left in that dark room feeling
pity for yourself. Because, I swear to God, I want nothing to do with you!”

He rushed out of the great hall feeling dazed and confused and very, very angry. And as he ran down the hall to his bedchamber he heard the woman who’d called herself his mother crying once again.

Chapter 19

Amber helped Lady Veronica sit on the bench, apologizing for Lucas’
s bad behavior. The woman was crying hysterically, causing a ruckus in the great hall.

“Get her ba
ck to her room,” Sir Romney ordered his sister, Helen. “And someone go talk some sense into Lucas and tell him he needs to apologize to her at once to make her stop crying.”

“I’ll go talk to Lucas,” Amber offered, hurrying down the hall and stopping in front of the door that was his chamber. She took a deep breath
then released it, not knowing what she was going to say to him. Her heart went out to him as she knew how hard it was to be raised without a mother. She wished more than anything that her mother could have somehow returned to her. But now Lucas had a miraculous thing happen to him and he was going to throw it all away.

She’d felt his pain of abandonment and seen the hurt in his eyes when Lady Veronica told him she was his mother. He was confused, and she couldn’t blame him for being angry. She didn’t know the woman’s reasons for abandoning him all those years ago, but it did seem that if the woman was a noble, she could have come back to get him. If she loved him, she would have. That meant to Amber, and she was sure to Lucas as well
, that the woman hadn’t loved him. Lucas needed love and understanding right now, and Amber decided she was the one who was going to give it to him.

She straightened her
stance and threw open the door and barged in, not giving him the chance to deny her entry.

She stopped, and looked around
the room, but didn’t see him anywhere.

The door swung closed
slowly on its own, and there was Lucas standing behind it with his arms crossed and his back against the wall.

“I knew
you’d follow me,” he ground out. “But I’m warning you now, I don’t want your prayers, I don’t want your scolding and I definitely don’t want –”

She grabbed him by the front of his tunic and pulled him to her, fastening her lips upon his in a forceful kiss. Then she let go of his tunic and he fell back against the wall
with his arms splayed out on either side of him.

“I didn’t expect that,
” he said, looking more than shocked.

Well, would you rather have me reprimanding you for what you did?”

“I highly expected that
. Why did you kiss me?”

“I don’t know,” she said, shaking her head, tears welling in her eyes. “Probably for the same reason you ran out of the room when you discovered Lady Veronica was your mother.”

“Because you hate me?”

“Nay, because I
am just as confused as you. But one thing I do know is that I love you, Lucas. And I just couldn’t bring myself to admit it before.”

“You did admit it, the night you got drunk and tore off your clothes.”

“That was the wine talking, but I’m sober, now,” she said. “And I am tired of living in fear. Fear that my family is going to go to Hell if I don’t sacrifice myself for them by becoming a nun. Fear that I’ll never find my true love, or ever know what it feels like to make love with a man. Fear that –”

It was her turn to be surprised now, as he reached out and pulled her to him and fastened his lips roughly upon her
s in a punishing kiss. Then he released her just as quickly.

“What was that for?” she asked
, he fingers going to her lips which were now burning with passion.

“Just for being you

She reached back up and kissed him again and this time his hands closed
around her waist and as he slid them downwards slowly, he gripped her hips.

“Make love to me, Lucas. I need
to know how it feels.”

“Don’t tempt me, my little pure dove, because I just might do it.”

“I want you to. Please. And I don’t want to be pure anymore.”

“You’ve begged me for this before
, and then the next day you’ve changed your mind and despised me.”

“I could never despise you, Lucas.
When I saw the pain in your eyes when you found your mother, I realized that you are the strongest man to walk the earth.”

“I walked away
from her,” he pointed out. “That was being a coward.”

“Nay, just the opposite. It takes a strong man to stand up for what he believes.”

“I don’t believe in anything, so you are wrong.”

“You believe in yourself, don’t you?” When he didn’t answer, she continued. “I believe in you, Lucas.”

“Well, don’t, because you may end up sorely disappointed.”

“I know y
ou have had such sorrow in your life and you don’t deserve it. You have every right to hate your mother for what she did, and every right to never speak to her again if you so choose.”

“I have never felt the lo
ve of anyone in my life, Amber. I am not about to start now. Not with a mother, not with you. I don’t need love in my life. I’ve survived this long without it and I’ve learned to accept it. Do you understand me? If we couple tonight, it doesn’t mean I love you or that I ever will. Let’s make that point perfectly clear right now before we go any further.”

She felt
a tear drip down her cheek, as she understood him perfectly now. He was just as frightened as her. About coupling with her, and about the subject of love in general. But that was all going to change. She wanted to give him the happiness he deserved and find the answers she sought as well, even if he never said he loved her in return.

up and make love to me,” she said, noticing the surprise in his eyes.

“You don’t sound like a nun, Amber. If you do this with me, there’s no going back.”

“And neither do I want to. It’s not my fate to become a nun, and I’ve realized that now. I think you knew it all along.”

“I knew it from the moment I kissed you in the infirmary
. You have just as much need and passion repressed inside of you as I do.”

“Then let’s not be repressed any longer. Couple with me, Lucas, please.”

He grabbed her by the shoulders and turned her quickly, pinning her against the wall. His face was close to hers and his knee parted her legs as he pushed his groin against hers.

“Do you feel how hard I am?” he asked her. “You’d better not be toying with me and you sure as hell better not be changing your mind as soon as you become scared, little girl. Because whether you know it or not
, you’re doing naught but tempting the devil.”

“I thought you didn’t believe in the devil,” she said
boldly, looking into his eyes that were filled with lust and tinged with anger. She did feel scared right now, but she wouldn’t back down, not for anything. This is the night she would lose her virginity, and this is the man she wanted to take it from her.

“I didn’t
believe in the devil. That is, not until you told me to believe in myself.”

“You’re not the devil, Lucas,” she told him, feeling her body starting to tremble from the anticipation.

“You may change your mind about that in the next day or so,” he said, almost sounding as if there was something he wasn’t telling her.

She felt his need for her growing beneath his braies, and she
bravely reached out and untied his hose. His hands loosened the grip upon her and he backed up slightly. Then, all the while staring into his piercing blue eyes, she slowly slid her back down the wall, pulling his braies and hose with her as she went. His freed arousal was right in front of her face now, as she fell to her knees on the ground before him.

“With a
bold move like that, you’d better the hell be planning on doing something other than praying right now,” he warned her.

She felt her body trembling, and didn’t answer. She’d heard how to do this, and she was curious, but it scared her to death. She reached up and took a hold of his form, then closing her eyes, she parted her lips
, opened her mouth, and bent forward.

He gasped and his legs almost gave way under him. She didn’t really know what she was doing, but
she got the impression she was doing it correctly by the sound of his labored breathing.

“Bid the dev
il, how the hell does a nun know how to do that?” he asked.

She pulled away long enough to tell him. “I’ve been talking to Mirabelle,” she ex
plained, resuming her position, but this time sliding forward down his shaft. She felt his knees bending slightly and his hand came around the back of her head and he growled like a bear just like Mirabelle had said, pushing himself into her so far that she almost choked. Then he moved away from her quickly, breaking the connection.

Dammit,” she heard him curse, then saw him drag a hand over his head, his fingers gripping at his hair in frustration. “Amber, come here,” he said in a low voice. He reached under her arms and pulled her to a standing position, still pressed up against the wall. “Tell me right now that you really mean what you said and that you’re not just toying with me. Because if you are, I don’t think I can take it.”

“I don’t want to be a nun, Lucas. I promise you it’s true. I want you. I want to spend my life with you. And if you don’t want that, then I’ll respect it, but I want you tonight either way.”

“No changing your mind?” he asked. “This is the last time I’m going to ask. By the rood, Amber, you’d better be sure. Because once I start, I won’t be able to stop.”

“No changing my mind,” s
he said, feeling her own body becoming aroused in the process.

He came down on her like a man possessed, kissing her like there was no tomorrow. “I’ve wanted you for so long,” he said, his hands caressing her breasts right through her gown. Then he reached behind her and took hold of the cloth of her gown
roughly, and almost ripped her dress right off of her in the hurry to undress her.

ince she had no undergarments, she now stood there naked. His eyes glowed with the intensity of a man about to take a woman to his bed, the desire within them so vibrant and alive that she found herself scared, but at the same time very aroused.

He l
owered his head, nipping at her collarbone as his hands squeezed her breasts.

“Oh!” she cried out, feeling her legs becoming weak beneath her. This felt so good that it was sending a shiver of pleasure
dancing across her skin. Then he looked at her and took her hands in his, placing them on the front of his tunic, closing her fists until she gripped the cloth.

“Rip it off of me, Amber.”

“I … I can’t,” she said, her labored breathing making the rising and falling of her chest more pronounced. She wanted to oblige, but it felt so wanton and so wicked that she just couldn’t bring herself to do it.

“Do it!” he ordered. “If yo
u really mean what you say, than show me you are willing to drop your guard and veer away from your pious ways.”

She thought she’d already shown him that by attempting the little trick with her mouth that Mirabelle had told her men love. She hesitated, and when she did, he used his
own hands over hers, and pulled. The sound of tearing cloth filled the room, and with his guidance she ripped the tunic from his body. He now stood there as naked as she.

“Oh my!” sh
e gasped, realizing what just happened.

“I have waited so long, and I will wait no more.”

He pulled her to him in a tantalizing kiss, his tongue reaching out to part her lips and enter her mouth. She felt herself suddenly vibrating between her thighs, realizing that a part of him was inside her body. Then he reached out and cupped her breasts, bringing her nipples to rigid peaks. She arched her back in elation while he covered one breast with his mouth, then pushed them together and buried his face between them.

He was hungry and rough and she found she liked this dangerous, dark side of him, though she never thought she would.

Both of them let out all their pent-up emotions, she making noises of passion that she never knew were in her.

“Let me show
you what you would have missed out on by being a nun, sweetheart. He slid his hands down the front of her, suddenly hunkering down and tasting her very intimately in her most private spot, the way she’d done to him.

She gasped as he worked his magic with his lips and his tongue,
knowing exactly what he was doing. She cried out as she felt herself finding that release she needed so desperately. Her legs opened farther and she gripped at his hair to keep from falling over.

“Lucas, I never knew it could feel … so good.”

“You haven’t felt anything yet, Sister,” he said, about driving her wild with his words.

He picked her up
, spreading her legs for her to hold on around his waist as he made his way to the bed. Laying her down upon it, he straddled his naked body atop hers and kissed her so passionately she thought she would burst. The anticipation was maddening, the excitement beyond control. She, the virtuous one of all her sisters, the one who was going to be a nun and give up the chance of coupling forever, was finding out that she would have been making a very big mistake.

BOOK: Daughters of the Dagger 03 - Amber
12.28Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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