Authors: Jade Lee
Major Wyclyff's Campaign
A LADY'S LESSONS
USA Today Bestselling Author
MAJOR WYCLYFF'S CAMPAIGN
Reviews & Accolades
"...splendid... witty... complete with eccentric characters and highly amusing antics."
~RT Book Reviews
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"I danced with young Blakesly yesterday. I am quite sure he purposely stumbled so that he could catch himself on a most inappropriate place on my person. It was most mortifying, but..."
Lady Sophia continued to prattle on, trying to sound bright and cheerful, but her thoughts weren't on her words. Instead, she was looking down at the gaunt man in the hospital bed. He had been handsome once, she was sure of it. But now his angular face looked thin and bony, and his rich brown curls lay flat against his slick brow. He was a man who should have been surrounded by military honors, but now his companions were pain and dreariness.
"I am quite certain," she continued, "that Lord Blakesly would not dream of being so impertinent if you had been there. You must rouse yourself, Major Wyclyff. I do believe I need your escort."
He would never accompany her, she knew. Even were he the picture of health, the major and she did not travel in the same circles. However, it had become a game between them in her last month of hospital visits. While he lay on his sickbed, they would speak of what they would do together when he was better. She spoke of picnics and strolls, of Vauxhall and the museums. And when he tired of that, they would argue politics or religion, spring as opposed to fall, or any other nonsense in between. He liked to argue and, while she did not, she would do anything to help him pass the time while he lay abed, his mangled leg stretched out before him.
For a while, she had believed their silly plans would happen.
But then, a week ago, the major had taken a turn for the worse. His wound turned an angry red. All too soon, his smile faded into a grimace of pain and his skin grew flushed with fever. Yesterday, he had been delirious. Today, naught but a low moan escaped his parched lips.
He was dying.
Sophia stroked his broad hand, tracing the length of his fingers, her heart feeling frozen within her body. In five years of hospital visits, she had seen many men die. She knew the signs, and knew that her major would not last much longer.
A tear slipped down her face to land on the back of his hand. Blinking, she wiped away the moisture, startled by her reaction. "You see what you have done, Major? I am crying because of you." There was a touch of amazement in her voice, surprise that his imminent death would move her so deeply. After all, she had never cried before. Not for any of the other soldiers. Not for anyone, including her own father.
"I hold you directly responsible," she said with mock severity. "You must wake immediately or I shall be forced to take drastic measures. Crushed strawberries on the eyes to take away the redness. Cucumbers to suppress the tendency toward puffiness. My word, think of the expense and time such a toilette requires, Major. Truly, you must wake immediately. I command it."
She had not expected her words to have any effect. She spoke them to distract herself from what she knew was coming, so it was with considerable shock that she looked up to see his eyes had opened.
They were a mysterious brown, fever-bright, and so intense, she wondered if he had not been possessed by some spirit. No man on the verge of death could look right through one, as though to one's very soul. She should have been frightened, but for some reason she was not. It was her major lying there, looking at her not only with lucidity, but as though his very life depended upon it.