Chapter 15

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'Why would I not? What else do I have to lose to you?' she challenged, her eyes locking with his.

One eyebrow arched enquiringly, as he none too gently guided her just outside the balcony doors, 'and yet I had been notably informed you had surrendered your virtue two summers ago,' he reminded her in her ear.

Fallon's cheeked turned crimson. Now that Braeden had lain with her, he knew the truth, that there was none before him.

'And what of Lady Abigail?' She demanded.

Braeden smiled pleasurably. 'She will be waiting for me when I return,' he answered smugly.

How she hated his arrogance, yet she could not deny her attraction to him, nor could she deny herself any opportunity to be with him, even if they were just stolen moments with him.

'What, no sharp rejoinder?' he taunted, placing her hand on his arm, as they walked in the garden.

'I'm conserving my energy, for when it's required,' she tossed.

Braeden laughed softly. He touched his free hand to her palm that was ever so lightly holding onto his arm. 'I wanted to know how you are faring Fallon, since the incident with Baxendale.'

Her eyes flew to his. Luckily the moon shed enough light. She could see genuine concern in his eyes. He was unsmiling now, awaiting her response.

She looked away. 'I am better now,' she replied. 'Earlier during the week, I was reluctant to go out anywhere ___.'

Fallon felt the tension in Braeden's arm. He drank in a deep breath.

'But I am determined that Chilton will not put fear in me,' she spoke on determinedly. 'I refuse to stay locked up indoors as if I am being punished,' she vowed.

'Bravo. That's my girl,' he smiled, patting her hand on his arm.

Fallon stopped walking. She turned angrily to face him. 'I am not your girl,' she hissed.

'Fallon,' he groaned softly, 'must you seek every opportunity for us to fight?'

She kept her head lowered. She did not like this soft, passionate tone of his voice. Why wasn't he angry and arguing back with her? She liked it better when they were crossing swords.

'I was just concerned for your well- being,' he murmured in that same seductive tone.

'I am fine ___ thank you,' she stammered.

'Good,' he smiled. 'Baxendale will not come near you ever again, that I promise my lady.'

'What have you done with him?' She whispered. 'He has not been seen about since ___ since,' she left her sentence unfinished.

'Let's just say I've reminded him of his station,' Braeden answered in a quiet, yet dangerous whisper.

Fallon stared into Braeden's face, not really surprised that it reflected neither fear nor favour for none, never mind that Baxendale was of the highest rank.

'Thank you for coming to my rescue that night,' she whispered.

'And yet you still walk out into the night with a dangerous rake who should be executed,' he teased with a smile.

Fallon laughed uncomfortably. She could recall quite clearly the dinner conversation at Lady Parsnips, where she had rather vocally argued in favour of capital punishment and that rakes should be executed. 'I did not say ___ you should be executed,' she replied guiltily.

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