Read Sapphire - Book 2 Online

Authors: Elizabeth Rose

Tags: #historical, #medieval, #series romance, #medieval romance, #medieval historical romance, #daughters of the dagger series, #elizabeth rose novels

Sapphire - Book 2 (18 page)

BOOK: Sapphire - Book 2
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“I only wanted to help make amends between
Dugald and Erin’s father,” she explained, hoping to make things
better. “And I knew how much in love they were and that they’d
never be married if someone didn’t step forward to help them.”

“You had no right to do that, Sapphire. Just
mind your own business from now on.”

“As lady of the castle, it is my business,”
she told him.

“And as you reminded me not long ago, we are
not married yet, darling. So you are not lady of the castle yet.
And when were you going to tell me you saw the baron at the pub and
that he’d almost accosted you?”

“You haven’t given me the chance,” she
retorted, not liking the way the conversation was going between
them.

“That was a stupid move, Sapphire. You could
have been hurt or even killed. I don’t want you leaving these
castle walls again without me. Do you understand?”

“So now I’m to be a prisoner here? This is
starting to sound no different than when I was married to the
baron.”

“Don’t even compare me to that bastard. And
I don’t like the fact that my wife is proving to be nothing but a
liar.”

“A liar?” That cut Sapphire to the bone. She
was so upset by it that she just turned and ran across the
courtyard, holding back her tears.

“Sapphire, come back here,” she heard Roe
call from behind her, but she didn’t stop. She needed to get away
from him and think things over. She had thought things were
wonderful between her and Roe but now she wasn’t so certain. Her
mother had told Sapphire and her sisters that they’d one day find
true love and she thought she’d found it even though she’d lost the
jeweled dagger years ago. But now she was starting to wonder if she
was somehow cursed just like her mother.

She ran to the solar that she alone occupied
and flung herself onto the bed. Burying her face in her arms, all
she could think of was home. She missed her father and her sisters.
She missed the comfort and the laughter. She was far from them and
felt so sad and so alone. She needed someone to talk to and only
wished her mother was still alive.

A knock came at the door and then the sweet
voice of Lady Katherine calling out, “Sapphire? Are you in
there?”

“Come in,” she called out and sat up on the
bed drying her eyes with the long tippet of her sleeve.

Lady Katherine came into the room and closed
the door quickly. However, Sapphire could see that Roe had been
standing right behind her.

The door opened and he marched in, and
Sapphire once again hid her head in the pillow. “I don’t want to
talk to him,” she said.

“Sapphire, we need to talk,” came Roe’s low
voice from behind her.

“Nay!” she shouted, still keeping her head
hidden.

“Roe, I think it best you leave us for now,”
instructed his mother.

“Mother, she is my betrothed and I will not
leave.”

“As your mother, I am telling you to leave
anon, son. This is going to be a private conversation between two
women, so remove yourself from the chamber at once, I beg you.”

She heard him sigh deeply and slowly leave
and close the door. At the sound of the click Sapphire sat up and
turned around to face Lady Katherine.

“Come here, darling,” said the woman,
reaching out for her. Sapphire could hold back no longer and burst
out into tears.

Neither of them spoke for a few minutes as
Lady Katherine continued to rock Sapphire in her arms and smooth
her hand over her back. It felt so good, so comforting, and
Sapphire could vaguely remember her mother doing this to her many
years ago when she was just a child.

“I miss my mother,” she said in a soft
voice, her head pushed sideways against Lady Katherine’s
shoulder.

“You have had a hard time ever since you
came from Blackpool,” the woman said in a calming voice. “But I am
here for you, darling, so don’t you ever forget it.”

“Thank you,” she said, pulling back and
drying her eyes with the back of her hand. “I feel so silly for
crying, but I have always been emotional. You have no idea how much
that means to me, Lady Katherine, as I have felt so lonely ever
since I left my father and my sisters.”

“Roe is a good man,” she told her. “He loves
you, I can tell. And he will take good care of you, Sapphire. You
don’t need to worry.”

“I know you are right.”

“Then why is it you are crying when you
should be smiling? After all, you are getting married in a few
short weeks.” She reached out and ran a hand over Sapphire’s hair
in a doting manner. It was naught but a small, comforting gesture,
but Sapphire liked it.

“Oh, Lady Katherine, Roe thinks I am naught
more than a whore and a liar.”

“Nay, don’t say that.”

“’Tis true. When I was married to the baron
I was so unhappy that I often sneaked out to the Bucket of
Blood.”

“I know. I told you that I saw you
going.”

“Well, what you don’t know is that on the
night Roe returned from overseas, he thought I was naught more than
a whore with the disguise I wore.”

“Oh, I’m sure that’s not true.”

“He took me upstairs to a room and made love
to me and tried to pay me,” she explained.

“Oh, my! I see what you mean.”

“And I know I should have stopped him from
laying with me, but I felt like I would never know elation from
coupling nor would I ever know love being married to the baron.
This was the only chance I’d ever have. Besides, we all know the
baron is barren, so I would never have the children I wanted
either.”

“So you coupled with him in order to have a
child?” she asked in astonishment.

“Nay. I did it because it felt so wonderful
that I could not bring myself to stop.”

“That doesn’t make you a whore, sweetheart.
Do not blame yourself for wanting to feel alive. You are lucky, as
many women never find that feeling in an entire lifetime.”

“I know you’re right,” she said. “And I’m
thrilled to be getting married to Roe. But I did sneak behind his
back to the pub while he was gone, but only to enable Dugald and
Erin to be married.”

“Well, then there’s nothing wrong with it,
even if he thinks there is.”

“The baron was there,” she told her. “And he
would have beat me hadn’t I paid a guard to come along to protect
me and keep my secret. Even though he didn’t.”

“You need to be careful, Sapphire. You could
have been killed.”

“The only reason why I didn’t tell this to
Roe was because of a promise I made to Erin.”

“What was that promise?”

“I told her I wouldn’t say anything, but I
just have to tell someone. She thinks her father has something to
do with the smuggling and that the baron is involved.”

“Oh, Sapphire, you have to tell Roe.”

“I can’t. I promised Erin that I wouldn’t
expose her father. She has only one parent and I know how hard it
is. She loves him, as he is the only family she has.”

“I understand, but if he did something
wrong, he needs to be punished.”

“We don’t know for sure that he’s involved,”
she said. “But I have a suspicion because when I was there I heard
a noise, and I think it was the opening of a secret passageway
under the pub and the owl call used by the smugglers.”

“You really need to tell this to Roe.”

“I don’t know what to do,” she said.

“Do what is right. Turn the man in.”

“Even if it is going to hurt and take away
from someone the person they love?”

“I believe so.”

“Well, you may want to reconsider, Lady
Katherine, because I have something else to say that might just
change your mind.”

“Nothing could change my mind, no matter
what you say.”

“Are you sure?” she asked. “Because I
believe they have another accomplice as well. And I do believe that
man is none other than your own husband.”

Lady Katherine’s face clouded over and she
just shook her head in denial.

“Mayhap we need to find out more information
before we mention this to my son after all.”

“I agree,” said Sapphire. “And perhaps you
can help me.”

Chapter 17

 

Several days passed and though Roe had tried
to make amends with Sapphire many times, she was avoiding him,
because she didn’t want to be called a liar when he started asking
questions that she didn’t want to answer.

Since she had her own solar by her request
at the betrothal, it was a little easier to not get into a
situation where they were bound to end up making love. While she
missed coupling with him immensely, she just felt as though she
needed to find out more information about the smuggling possibly
happening at the pub first. She didn’t want to accuse Erin’s
father, nor Lord Henry until she knew for certain that they were
involved. And until she knew for certain, she didn’t want to be in
intimate situations with Roe where he might confront her regarding
this issue.

Lady Katherine had kept quiet as well, and
they were trying to figure this out together. However, nothing had
happened lately that seemed suspicious. She knew she needed to get
back to the pub to see if there were any secret passageways.
However, Roe had kept such a close eye on her that she couldn’t
have sneaked out even if she wanted to.

Roe and Sapphire walked to the courtyard arm
in arm, having attended mass this morning, and just finishing the
Michaelmas feast of roasted goose. ’Twas always a tradition to have
goose on the feast day of the archangel Michael. ’Twas a
celebration of the protective warrior angel as well as of the first
days of autumn. The reaping of the crops to be used for the rest of
the year from the fields also happened upon this day.

“Sapphire, you seem as if you’re trying to
avoid me lately.” She could hear the tension in Roe’s voice.

“Really?” She faked a smile. “Why would you
say that?”

He took her in his arms and kissed her. She
found it hard to deny her body’s reactions and wanted more than
anything to make love with him again. Patience, she told herself,
as she would hopefully find all the answers she needed soon and
once more be in his bed and then be able to answer any questions he
might ask.

“Because we’ve not made love since I’ve
returned from the hunting trip. And I don’t need to tell you how
much I’ve missed you.”

He pressed up against her just then and she
felt the bulge beneath his tunic. A wave of heat coursed through
her and she realized that she could ignore him no longer. He was
soon to be her husband and she didn’t want to frustrate him. She
felt that same frustration and knew things needed to change. She
admitted to herself that she had been wrong and childish in staying
angry with him. Perhaps she just needed to let things happen, and
deal with the circumstances as they arose.

“I’ve missed you too, Roe, and I am sorry
that we quarreled.”

“I’d be willing to make amends with you
right now, my little lark. How about we make a quick visit to the
solar?”

Sapphire looked around at the hustle and
bustle of the courtyard. Today was a huge festival day and people
from all around came to a fair that Roe had set up right there in
the castle. A high pole with a large glove staked atop it was
displayed just outside the castle gate, denoting to everyone from
towns around that this was the meeting place for all to come to
sell their wares and celebrate Michaelmas.

Merchants’ carts lined the courtyard as they
called out their wares to passersby.

“Fish for a penny,” called out a
fishmonger.

“Candles of beeswax and also tallow,” called
out the chandler, as they tried to outshout each other.

Jugglers wandered through the courtyard and
alewives snaked through the crowd with large trays full of tankards
filled to the brim held high upon their shoulders. The ale sloshed
over the sides of the mugs and down to the tray as they walked.

“Taste my sweet pies,” called out
another.

“Come to the mews to see my performers
reenact the lord’s hunt,” called out a man in a costume with fake
deer antlers atop his head. Two more performers, one dressed like a
huntsman, the other like a hound were acting out a scene from the
hunt in pantomime.

“Flower for your lady?” A woman with a
basket of flowers walked up to them. Roe picked out a daisy and
handed the woman a coin. He broke off the stem of the daisy and
tucked the flower behind Sapphire’s ear.

“What do you think, sweetheart?”

“Thank you for the flower, Roe, but we can’t
leave right now. The courtyard is so crowded with merchants and
knights and serfs that we need to be here. This is an important
festival day and we represent nobility and order. You are Lord Rye
and I am soon to be Lady Rye. It could be quite embarrassing if
someone were to see us slip away for a tryst at a time like
this.”

“I suppose you’re right,” he said. “And I
see the reeve signaling to me from across the courtyard. Today is
the day I need to collect rents and unpaid debts from the
villagers. I also need to see that the fields have been harvested
properly and fully and that the castle’s share of food for winter
is stored away.”

“Then mayhap tonight when the festivities
end, we could make our amends,” she told him.

“I can barely wait,” he said, running his
hands close to the sides of her breasts as he pulled them away.

“You are going to make me into a wanton
woman if you don’t stop your teasing.”

“I am already a wanton man so you’ll be in
good company. Sapphire, I see my mother across the courtyard. Today
is the day we hire new servants. I want you to assist her so you
can see how it’s done.”

“Of course,” she said. “And I will see you
later.” She reached up and kissed him again, only to be interrupted
by the voice of an old woman sitting on the back of a merchant’s
cart. She was surrounded by pies of many shapes and sizes.

BOOK: Sapphire - Book 2
4.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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