Rafe watched as Kitty slowly, hesitantly made her way about their bedroom at Isabel’s home. She walked with her hands outstretched, her footsteps light and cautious, and her face drawn into a pensive expression as she explored her new and unfamiliar surroundings. It was a large, spacious room, although modestly decorated, as was the fashion of the Spanish gentry. The left side of the chamber was graced with a broad terrace that overlooked the courtyard garden below. obooko.
The two servants who had delivered them to the quarters lingered near the doorway, watching Kitty, curious by her blindness, and by the fact that she was unmarried and would still be keeping company behind closed doors with a man―and with only one bed between them. A sharp voice scolding them for their impertinence sent them scuttling for the corridor once more, and Rafe turned to find Isabel’s housekeeper, Maria behind him.
She was a short, thin, aging woman with her coarse black hair streaked with grey, gathered back against the nape of her neck in a prim, if not somewhat severe, bundle. Her face was long and drawn, the corners of her mouth seemingly downturned by nature into a disagreeable frown. Like her mistress, Maria wore the black, unadorned garb typical of mourning.
“The Condesa will receive you in the garden now,” Maria told him in Spanish. It was not an invitation, or an inquiry; with Isabel, things seldom were. She issued demands, and those about her usually catered to these immediately and without argument.
Rafe glanced back at Kitty, uncertain. He did not want to leave her alone. He had not told her yet of his plans to free her. He also had not told her yet that they would be staying in the room together, much less why.
“You were a servant to el Conde, were you not?” he asked Maria. He did not want to leave Kitty, and he sure as hell did not want to be alone at the moment with Isabel. He had no idea what to expect from her―he had not from the moment he had seen her outside the smithy, and he certainly did not now, to have discovered that her husband, el Conde, had died. He suspected Isabel might want to resume their relationship precisely where it had ended, and while even a week ago, that notion might have been Rafe’s deepest, most shameful desire, now it was likely the furthest thing from that.
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