In Only Marriage Will Do, there seems to be a little mystery afoot. Amiable Dawson has stepped in to rescue a damsel in distress and to his amazement the damsel–who he’s never seen before–is calling him husband and introducing him as the Earl of Manning (who, if you may recall, is Katarina’s brother from Only Scandal Will Do and a friend of Amiable’s). Amiable is a tad confused, but gamely carries on with the subterfuge. He too is interested in why her suitor claims she is his wife and seeks a more thorough explanation. St. Cyr has just asserted that Juliet is married to him and no one else.
After another slight altercation, St. Cyr leaves and Amiable comforts a distraught Juliet. Finally, having found out that Katarina is not there, he is pressed into service of a different kind. He agrees to escort Juliet to her friend’s house. While he is attending to matters outside, inside the carriage, Juliet is making other plans. And unexpectedly, those plans escalate, leading Amiable to make an offer.
In a moment Amiable moved to sit beside her. His arm went around her shoulders, his voice as he consoled her low-pitched and soothing. “Any papers he brings would be a forgery, would they not my lady? You can insist the Claypools take them to an attorney for authentication.”
Juliet’s eyes teared, her fears not allayed in the slightest. “But what if he has been clever about it? What if they can’t tell they are forgeries? He seemed so determined this morning I believe he would do anything to. . .to. . .” Great sobs broke from her throat. “I. . . just. . .just wish my brother. . . was here,” she managed to stammer before weeping overtook her in earnest.
“My dear! Please do not distress yourself so.” Amiable’s hand steered her head to his shoulder for the second time that morning. She struggled to get herself under control, all the while reveling in the feel of his strong arm around her, the clean scent of his clothes and the fainter but still comforting smell that was simply male. It was a scent that reminded her of Duncan and therefore made her feel protected.
He stroked her hair, her cap having come off again, as it spilled all around her shoulders. She must look the very devil. Juliet attempted to sit up, but he would have none of it, pressing her to stillness against his chest. She nestled there quite readily, happy for this closeness to him. “I feel so safe with you, Captain Dawson. Is that not strange?”
She felt his cheek move against her head, as though he smiled. “I suppose it is, my lady, as we have only known each other for about an hour. Of course,” he chuckled, “we were married for at least half that time.”
Juliet smiled at that. He was so comfortable to be with. She never wanted them to be apart. “I begin to fear I will not be safe at the Claypool’s. I find I truly do not wish to go there, Captain Dawson. If Philippe finds me I am afraid he will manage to take me away with him, and I would rather die than have to be married to him.”
He drew her head away from his body and lifted her face so he could look into it. “Is there somewhere else I can take you, Lady Juliet? Some place you will feel safe?”
Juliet paused, thinking carefully how she could seal Amiable Dawson’s fate.
Hope you enjoyed the final bit of Only Marriage Will Do for now. Stop by SSS tomorrow for a look at my new WIP, Time Enough For Love: Betrothal, Part 1 of my medieval trilogy. Thanks for stopping by today!