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Willem stood just outside the dining room where Lord and Lady La Croix were having supper. It had been almost a week since Genevieve had been kidnapped and rescued. She hadn’t spoken to her husband since then other than to greet him in the morning and make small talk during meals. She had even gone back to using the separate room instead of sharing a bed with her husband. He knew why. She couldn’t bring herself to face the fact that Desmond was also Raven. Willem had known from the beginning that Desmond was the Raven. Few people who worked for him knew and they were carefully selected individuals…or at least they were have supposed to have been.

Lately, Willem had been wondering if someone’s loyalty might be starting to fade. He hadn’t been overly suspicious of this fact until he had heard Genevieve’s friend, Giovanni, knew Desmond’s secret. How had he found out? Willem didn’t believe Genevieve’s brother had had anything to do with that. The boy didn’t seem capable of doing anything to harm his sister, so who the blazes was it? He was pulled from his thoughts when he noticed Isabel coming down the hall. She was carrying fresh bandages and Willem immediately knew where she was going.

“How is our guest doing?” he asked sarcastically as she passed and was rewarded with a scowl.

“He’s fine,” she chided. “Not that you really care.”

“I just don’t understand the reason for taking care of him after he kidnapped Genevieve.”

“He was worried about her,” Isabel said defensively. “He didn’t know what was happening here and it was driving him crazy. It doesn’t make what he did right but all I am saying is that I understand why he thought it was.” She turned to go about her business when Willem gently grabbed her arm.

“If I didn’t know any better I would say you were falling for that thief,” he said in a low voice.

“Well, then I guess ‘tis a good thing you know better,” she said before pulling away from him and heading up the stairs. Willem sighed just as the door to the dining room opened. Genevieve smiled at him as she passed and told him she was going for a walk in the gardens. When he asked if she wanted him to walk with her she politely declined and continued on her way. Willem watched her go and understood her change in behavior. She wasn’t sure if she was more hurt or scared by what Desmond had done. Hurt because he had lied to her or scared that he could be caught and hanged for what he was doing. Either way she would eventually have to accept what was going on and try to move forward. If not, Willem feared what would become of her and Lord La Croix.

*                      *                      *

Isabel quietly opened the door to the guest room and slipped inside. Giovanni lay on the large bed, asleep, with one hand down by his side and the other across his stomach. The blankets only covered his lower half which left his chest slightly uncovered with an unbuttoned shirt covering most of it. The long gash that ran diagonally across his chest had been healing steadily for the past week but it was still too bad for him to be moving around much. She set the bandages down on the table by the bed and looked at Giovanni.

“It’s time to wake up,” she said gently. “I need to dress your wound again.” When he didn’t respond she placed a hand on his arm. He immediately woke and grabbed her arm in a grip that was almost painful. He suddenly relaxed when he saw it was her. “How many times do I need to tell you? You are safe here, Giovanni. Lord La Croix has ordered that no one is to harm you in any way.”

“Unless it’s the duke himself,” Giovanni scoffed and Isabel sighed.

“I wish I could convince you he’s a good man.” Isabel didn’t say another word as she pulled Giovanni’s shirt open so she could see the entire bandage. Giovanni had his face turned away from her but she thought she saw his jaw clench when she began to remove the bandages. It wasn’t until he fists clenched that she realized how much pain he was in.

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