A Forever Love Ch. 01byDaniellekitten©
I'm still working on all the others that need finishing but this got into my head the other night and wouldn't let me sleep until I worked on it. I kind of like the beginning chapter so we'll have to see what happens next. I have another chapter almost done of An Unusual Prince Charming and I will be working on that next. Enjoy!
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A soft breeze blew gently against fiery silken tresses. The stirring of her long locks tickled her side and she moved, brushing at the disturbance without opening her eyes. She'd been lying out there for a while, enjoying the heat of the sun against her long limbs and the wonder of being stationary without having anyone harping at her.
The silence was almost a friend. Long lost and often sought, it shuddered through the clearing making her realize that the passing of time was as swift as the water rushing across the smooth pebbles in the brook. Rising seemed almost impossible, her limbs lethargic and heavy but she managed, leaning down to pick up her shawl. She used the well worn piece of fabric to cover her head, hiding her pink cheeks and bright eyes.
"There you are!"
Kinlye glanced up, little moved by the harsh voice. She barely acknowledged the man until he grabbed her arm.
"Momma's been calling for you for over an hour." His voice was an angry growl, his hand rough against her skin, digging into her flesh with little care of how he hurt her. "Where have you been?"
"What business is it of yours?" Kinlye snapped, regretting her hasty words when his grip tightened even more.
"It is my business, especially if you were causing trouble again. Don't think Momma doesn't know of the way you flit back and forth between the grocer and the baker. I've seen the eyes you make at them, shameless and disgusting it is."
"I've never..." she began, only to be interrupted.
"Don't you even think of trying your lies out on me," he hissed. "I know what lies inside of you, what sins you will commit. I know of your plans."
Kinlye shrugged, pulling against his grip. When he got this wound up, it was almost impossible to calm him down. "Let me go." She stood her ground, not allowing herself to be dragged further.
"Slut. Harlot," he cursed softly, his eyes on the people passing around them now. "If you do not move on your own volition then I shall have to let the good people of town know of your wickedness. Then they can help me move you."
"Why Daniel?" she cried suddenly, knowing he wasn't bluffing. "Why do you treat me with such disgust and hatred?
I'm your only sister."
"Look to yourself for the answer, Kinlye," Daniel growled, shaking her. "You look the part of town slattern; you open your thighs for any man who has the price. But not your brother, no, I'm not even allowed to look."
"I've ... I've never," she said, grabbing his arms to slow the shaking he was giving her. "I've never so much as kissed a man," she moaned.
"Lies," Daniel cried again. "I've heard the men speak of you, I've heard them tote on about their explicit affairs with you and how much you like it. Only a slut would allow herself to be passed around in such a way.
"They lie!" Kinlye dug her feet in and refused to move an inch. "I've never lain with a man, Daniel. I wouldn't lie to you about that." She stared up and into her brother's expressive face, seeing the doubt there. "What will it take for you to believe me?"
Daniel smiled, his lips twitching as she said the exact words he'd been waiting to hear. He paused for just a moment before he lifted her bodily out of the way of the foot traffic around them and into a doorway that was quiet and semiprivate. "You can gift me with your veil of innocence," he said softly and in her ear. "Let me be the first and then I will know you're not the slut others have been calling you."
"B-but ... but you are my b-brother. It is a sin." Kinlye shook her head emphatically, her hands clasping each other and wringing under the cover of her shawl. "We would be damned."
"Who'll know beside the two of us? I don't plan to tell." Daniel twisted so that she was trapped between him and the door, his fingers pulling at her shawl. "Come on, Kinlye; prove your innocence to me. Make me believe."
"No, Daniel. Stop it!" Kinlye tried to make herself a piece of the wooden paneling behind her, slapping at Daniel's hands when he wouldn't leave her be. "What would Momma say?"
Daniel dug his hand in the heavy hair at the nape of her neck, holding her face still so that he could find her lips. "She would say that it was about time," he rasped. Then his mouth came down hard upon the softness of hers and
she squealed in fright and pain even as she fought to turn her head away.
His lips were hard and wet. They seemed to encompass the lower half of her face, leaving it wet with his drool. His hand was torturous, grabbing a fist full of her hair and holding her still, yanking even more when his tongue pushed against her lips, trying to find a way inside.
Kinlye whimpered at the pain, her hands in fists pushing against his chest. But he seemed like a boulder, unmovable, impenetrable, and unwilling to hear her cries. His other hand ran down her body, pinching and probing at her flesh. He thrust that hand down the back of her skirt, his fingers moving over the softness of her buttocks even as she screamed again.
The voice was quiet, melodic but filled with an unassuming strength. The interruption caused Daniel to lift his head and Kinlye wiped at her face with one corner of her shawl, not hiding her disgust from either man standing near her now.
"What do you want?" Daniel asked harshly and with little gentlemanly décor.
"I couldn't help but note that your lady does not seem to be a willing party here." He nodded his head at Kinlye.
"I'm not," she said quickly, before Daniel could put lies in her mouth. Kinlye reached out to touch her savior and felt him take her hand to pull her away from her brother. She shivered as the coldness of his touch startled her and her eyes flew to his face.
And she was lost. He had the face of an angel, his hair dark and long, touching the wide shoulders of his coat. Sharp cheekbones slashed below devilish eyes that seemed almost to dance in laughter at her reaction to his skin. They were deep blue, unreal looking in that face that would confound any woman. His lips were pink, held in a smile that she wondered was supposed to placate or because he couldn't help his amusement at her reaction.
"Will you come with me?" he asked softly, for her ears only.
"Yes," she sighed, unable to say anything but. His hand pulled hers under his arm and he helped her down the two steps that her brother had forced her up, gliding almost carelessly back into the foot traffic that clogged the streets as people hurried home.
"Where are we going?" he asked, his eyes on her face.
"I-I don't know," she admitted, her eyes seeking the comfort of his face.
"Don't you think we should take you home and inform your father of that man's attack upon your person?"
Kinlye shook her head frantically, pushing a tress of her red hair out of her face. "He ... He ... he is my brother," she was finally able to say, feeling his cold fingers hook the unruly lock of hair behind her ear. "My father is dead."
"What of your mother, then?"
"Stepmother, his mother." She sighed, seeing the comprehension on his face.
"And she'll believe anything he tells her." He didn't need to see her shake her head yes, he already knew the truth.
"No other family?"
"N-no." She moaned when she felt Daniel's hand grabbing at her arm but her savior was already in motion. He easily pulled her out of the way and then his fist flew, landing with audible force and turning Daniel's nose into a flattened tomato, blood gushing.
"Sir, that was your only warning," the man said, watching as Daniel stumbled for a moment before he fell to the ground. "She said no and she meant no."
Kinlye felt laughter bubbling, slightly hysterical at the sight. She turned away from Daniel's eyes, wanting to be away from the crowd of people that were now gathered around the three of them. She didn't slow until she felt the icy touch of her rescuer's fingertips on her hand.
"I hope that didn't disgust you," he said in that silky smooth voice.
"N-no. I must thank you again. I've never seen him act this way." She felt his hand take hers and shivered slightly.
"Well, I can say I understand his motivation." He chuckled, a husky sound that trickled over Kinlye's spine making her want to hear it again.
"Motivation?" she asked, perplexed.
"You are quite lovely."
Kinlye felt the heat of her blushes against her cheeks and dropped her eyes, staring at the shiny leather of his boots.
"Oh no, now I've embarrassed you." His finger touched the tip of her chin, lifting it until he could see in her eyes. "I'm sorry I was so candid, Miss ... ahh..."
"Kinlye Smalley," she supplied.
"Miss Smalley," he finished, his finger slipping over her bottom lip. "Kinlye is such a beautiful name."
"I was named after a friend of the family," she said. "But you have me at a disadvantage. You are my savior and I have no idea what to call you."
He lifted her hand, tugging a bit to get her moving. "I am Christian Davalos. You are the first person I have met since I transplanted my life here."
"Truly? Well, I hope that I am not a disappointment, Mr. Davalos." She dropped her eyes and looked at the buttons that closed his shirt. "I owe you, a lot. You saved me today."
"Please, call me Christian." He took a step closer and let his fingers rest against her chin to lift her face. "You're very beautiful, Kinlye."
Her breath came out in a rush and he closed his eyes, his body going stiff.
"I'm sorry." The words were spoken softly and she reached up to touch his cheek. "Did I do..."
"No." His sigh was heartfelt and he took her hand in his. "I want to take you to my home. I'll give you a place to stay until we can figure something else out."
"Y-your home? "J-just the two of us?"
"Oh, no. My brother and his mate live with me and we have a houseful of servants, Kinlye. You'll be well chaperoned, I promise."
"All right." The words were spoken almost too softly to be heard. "I thank you, Christian. I owe you more than I can possibly ever repay."
"It is my honor, my lady." He lifted her hand to his lips, lingering against her palm. "My home is only a few blocks away. I can hail a cab..." He cocked his head to side.
"No, oh no, Christian. I can walk. It's no problem." She smiled up at him when he tucked her hand on his arm and then matched his long stride to her smaller one. "You are a kind man, Christian, a good man."
He laughed, his blue eyes dancing as he gazed down at her. "It's easy to be kind to a woman like you, Kinlye. I will admit that I find you fascinating."
"I'm not." Her face became rosy and she couldn't meet his eyes.
Christian chuckled, enjoying her reaction to his words. She was fascinating. This city became much more interesting than it had been before he'd gone on his walk today. She was not only lovely, her fiery hair blowing around a face that was angelic. Her eyes, those gorgeous green orbs that seemed so shy and ladylike, glinted with an independent spirit that called to him.
But it was her scent that had pulled him in until he knew it would be torture to let her go. Her scent was luscious, sweet with a hint of spiciness that left him knowing she'd be a hellion in the sheets. It wasn't the reason he'd offered her a safe haven in his home, but it had helped him to decide.
He stopped walking in front of a wide staircase that led to two thick oak doors. Two huge white lions, trapped forever in an aggressive stance, guarded the doors.
"This is yours?"
"Yes," he smiled at the sound of shock in her voice. Then he led her up the stairs, watching as the doors opened before he even got close to them. "Leonard."
The man behind the door, an older man dressed nattily in an immaculate jacket and white shirt, a cravat wrapped around his neck, causing his collar to stand stiffly next to his chin. "Master Christian." Leonard's voice was deep and as grizzled as his face. "Your brother and Master Nikolai are in the green salon."
Christian nodded and then drew Kinlye forward. "This is Miss Kinlye, Leonard. She will be staying with us for a while."
"Shall I prepare the Rose suite, sir?"
"That would be perfect. Bring Kinlye a tray in the green salon as well, Leonard."
Kinlye nodded at Leonard before turning her gaze on Christian. "I could work for my keep, Christian. I don't need a suite, just a room with a bed and to know what you need doing."
He drew her hand up to his lips again, breathing in her scent. It was delicious and he forced himself to let her go. "That is definitely not necessary, Kinlye. I shall enjoy having you as a guest to the house for however long you wish to stay."
"No, Kinlye. I'm not even going to discuss this with you. You shall be staying in the Rose suite and as soon as possible, I will have Mrs. Toombs have you fitted and have a wardrobe prepared for you."
"Christian, I can't let you do that."
"You aren't letting me do anything, Kinlye. You will need clothing and I can very well afford to purchase one for you. You will be expected to be my hostess while you are here and I would think it would be embarrassing to be seen in the same...outfit day after day. Please, Kinlye, don't argue with me about this. Let me enjoy this."
"You'll enjoy spending money on me?"
"Oh yes, definitely." He cocked his brow at her, waiting to see if she would argue more. When she took a big breath and opened her mouth, he drew his finger down her nose before touching the tip to her lips. They were soft and sensuous and he ran his finger across her lower lip. "I want to do this, Kinlye."
His finger tickled her lip and she drew her head back slowly, her tongue coming out to dampen her lips. "How can I say no?"
"But...I will pay you back, somehow."
"We shall see, Kinlye." He tugged on her hand, laying it once more on his arm. "I want to introduce you to my brother."
"I'd like that." She walked next to him as he led the way to an archway. She could see the pale green walls, the patterned silk that covered those walls. Beautiful water-colored paintings were on those walls and a cheery fire was burning in the white painted fireplace. "This is beautiful."
Christian smiled at the awe in her voice. "It's a room, Kinlye."
She didn't have a chance to say anymore as a man with black hair and blue eyes, eyes that looked remarkably like Christian's stood, holding his hand out to another man, who took it and rose as well.
"My brother, Kinlye, this is Raphael and his mate, Nikolai. Rafe, this lovely lady is Kinlye Smalley. She rescued me this morn from the advances of a very aggressive sales lady."
Kinlye had worried about how Christian would explain their meeting and she couldn't help but smile as he made her out to be a hero. "It was nothing," she said softly as Rafe moved around the cream and sea green striped sofa to come and lift her hand from Christian's arm. He kissed it gently.
"Thank you, Kinlye. You must be awfully brave."
"I try." She glanced over at Nikolai, who'd also moved and stood next to Raphael. "Mate?" The term confused her.
"Nikolai is my companion, Kinlye. Say hello, Nikky." Nikky smiled, his teeth glinting behind red lips. His eyes were a soulful brown, soft and very young looking. They blended well with the soft golden curls that encircled his head. He held his hand out to her and she slipped hers into it.
The cold shocked her, especially since the room was so warm with the fire. Nikky lifted her hand to his lips and she shivered.
"What's wrong, Kinlye?"
She glanced up at Christian. "Nothing." But she untangled her hand; clasping it in her other hand as Christian guided her around the sofa the two men were sitting upon. There was another that matched it and he sank down, pulling her down with him.
"Kinlye is going to be staying with us for a while, Rafe."
"Marvelous." Rafe's smile was wide and genuine and Kinlye couldn't help but like him. "We do have plans for this evening, though, Christian."
Christian smiled. "That's great, Rafe. Kinlye's had a rough day. I bet she'd be glad for an early evening."
Leonard suddenly appeared in the doorway. The man was so quiet, he startled Kinlye. He sat the heavy tray of food he carried in front of her, nodding at the men, then left as quietly as he'd arrived. The tray had delicacies that could tempt even the most finicky of eater and Christian reached out, lifting a pitcher of milk and pouring Kinlye a glass.
"Eat your fill, Kinlye," he urged.
"But what about you?"
Christian smiled as he glanced at the other men. "I gorged myself earlier, when I was in town. Don't worry about me." He held out the glass of milk until she took it from him and took a small sip. It was thick, and rich, still warm from the cow. He loaded up a plate for her and she nibbled a bit of everything he'd put on it until she was full. It was the most she'd had to eat in a while and she barely stifled a yawn as she finished her glass of milk.
Christian smiled at her milky white mustache, taking her napkin and dabbing it from her lip. "I think Kinlye has had it for today."
"Oh yes. Goodnight Rafe, Nikky. It was wonderful to meet you. Thank you for opening your home to me." She rose, her hand upon her stomach, then reached out to take the hand that Christian held out to her.
"You'll see plenty of them, Kinlye." He tucked her hand onto his arm and led her out of the salon and toward the wide stairs that curved round toward the second story. "You'll probably grow sick of them."
"No, Christian. You all have been so kind to me. I could never grow sick of them. I do wish you'd reconsider and let me work to earn my keep."
"Kinlye, I do a lot of entertaining, and as you can guess, Nikky and Rafe's relationship can be a little difficult to explain to some people. Having a beautiful and intelligent woman as hostess will take a lot of the pressure off of Rafe. They can go about their own business with you here. It is the perfect solution." Christian brought her hand to his lips, his cold lips. They sent a strange thrill through her and she found herself breathless.
"If...if you're sure, Christian. As long as you think I will be helpful. But if the day comes that I am no longer a help and become a hindrance...you will tell me."
"I promise." His smile was wide and he passed a couple of doors before coming to one that was open. "This is the Rose suite." He drew her through the doorway and then stopped to watch the look in her eyes.
They were wide and she couldn't seem to take it all in. The walls were soft rose silk from chair railing up. From the chair railing down was white paneling. The furniture was light weight oak, pale and lovely against the deeper rose carpets. On one table was a huge bouquet of roses in different colors from white to a pale lilac that was unlike any she'd seen before. "You're not seriously....you can't mean for me to have a room like this. It's too grand, Christian."
"I think it's a perfect fit, Kinlye. I think it's exactly right for you. And yes, I seriously mean this for you. I don't think you've been given enough in your short life, Kinlye. I think you deserve surprises and luxury, and I plan to make sure that you get them."
"But..." Her eyes were huge as they looked up at him and she took a step closer to him, her other hand coming up to rest against his chest. "I'm no lady, Christian. You saw my brother; you know what he wanted to do to me."
"What are you really afraid of, Kinlye?" His hands went to her upper arms and he drew her even closer. "Are you afraid that I will try to take advantage of you? Do you think I'm like your brother and that I have no conscience? Are you afraid that I'll try to seduce you?" He drew her up so that she was against his chest and her hands were flattened against him. Then he bent his head and his cold lips were on hers.