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Prudence's heart leapt to the back of her throat and both hands came to her mouth to stifle a gasp. The man that writhed about the ground like some common scoundrel was her guardian? The man whose barest touch sent a river of desire through her very core? She spun from the spot as if her feet had wings and raced through the winding passages bordered by fragrant rosebushes. Her sleeve caught on an untrimmed branch. She stopped just long enough to pull the delicate fabric from the thorns and hurried toward the gate.
How could he?
She sniffled. She had no right to cry. Will held no place in his heart for her. Why should he? She represented only a burden to him. Just as she did to her father. Another mouth to feed.
And just like her father, he placed his affection, and his ... other parts ... wherever he pleased.
Anger replaced shock and fury. She fisted her hands and drew her arms over her torso like a shield. She should go back to the hall and expose the couple for what they were. Adulterous heathens who found their pleasure in public forums. The woman's husband might find that information useful. She stomped over the even, well-tended path until her heels ached from the broken shells that poked through the thin slippers she'd borrowed from Lydia.
How would Lydia react? She loved her brother; that much was evident in her manner and speech. But then, she obviously had no idea what kind of man he was. Not that it mattered. All men bore the same traitorous mark. Right between their legs.
Somehow, the description which should fit Will more than any other rang hollow and false. Nonsense. Albeit, a part of her had hoped Will might be different from other men.Something in his eyes, something in the way he made her shiver and want promised passion should she reach for it.
Not that she ever would. 'Twas the first step on a journey toward ruination for a woman to grasp such folly. She had vowed to stay her course and gain her freedom, and that was the only goal she meant to keep.