tagNovels and NovellasLord Reynard's Fancy Ch. 02

Lord Reynard's Fancy Ch. 02

byrosamundi©

Thanks to my readers who comment, I am improving greatly as a writer, hence I have edited this chapter. I've also switched categories to romance. I live for your feedback, so please comment, even briefly, when you rate this to tell me why you gave it the stars you did. Thanks again! - Rosamundi

*

On market day a fortnight later, Lord Reynard addressed Lilac as she cleared breakfast, "I am visiting the smith with John, and I would have you ride with me."

She spun instantly, glowing eyes and dimples answering as she told him, "I will take stock and be ready when the horses are." As he walked off he heard her singing, "So she's made her way to her father's good stable..." Just the response he had wished for!

Hopes so high as Lilac's could only be disappointed. When John helped Lilac up behind their master she unwisely looked down as Saracen trotted out of the gate. Saving the odd mule cart ride during harvest, she had never been so high watching the ground move while she sat still, and in carts she had been distracted chatting with other workers. With a sound of pure terror she tightened her hold on Lord Reynard for dear life. The pleasant shock of her soft and shaking body pressed into his overwhelmed the knight's senses. He had thought her fair, hired her into service over others because she was so and meant to bed her. None of it prepared him for Lilac to embrace him in truth, no matter how little intended.

The regret he felt at calling a halt did not reach his voice. "Lilac, a country girl like you frightened of a horse?"

"I be not afraid of horses, sir. I feared me I would fall off. I never sat atop of one before!" Panicked, she lapsed into the rough speech Mother Genevieve had improved over the years as they cared together for orphans and others without family or fortune to provide for their needs. Lilac found safety at the nunnery, while the sisters and their wards found her strong back and soothing voice alike of benefit.

Lord Reynard looked around at her with surprise at this, unable to recall a time before he could ride. Warm memories of snuggling into his father's strong arms in the saddle flooded him, making him smile with a new thought.

On impulse he kissed her hand, "My apologies, Lilac, I did not consider it. You must needs sit before me, I see, the better to learn riding."

He dismounted Saracen, then cheerfully placed his hands on her hips, "Scoot you to the front of the saddle and hold it. Saracen ever shifts while I mount. Brave lass! Look now to the tree line and not the road, and grasp my arm." Circling her waist, he grinned as she wrapped her hands around his forearm dragging it higher for balance.

Signaling Saracen into a walk, he explained, "He will walk until you are ready to move faster. Then will you learn the steps he gains speed with." As Lilac's fine hair that never seemed to stay entirely bound caressed his face and he watched her breasts bounce, he realized his day had improved almost by the moment.

"I am ready."

Despite his doubt, Sir Reynard moved Saracen to a trot. Lilac held on tighter, sitting up stiffly. He felt rather than heard her gasp.

"If you hold yourself looser, Saracen will feel calmer." Sir Reynard then spoke more softly as he pulled Lilac tighter between his thighs, so close that his beard tickled her ear, "Think you I cannot hold you fast? Have no fear, I will not let you fall."

"If you hold yourself looser, Saracen will feel calmer." Sir Reynard then spoke more softly as he pulled Lilac tighter between his thighs, so close that his beard tickled her ear, "Think you I cannot hold you fast? Have no fear, I will not let you fall."

"My thanks," she replied, barely recovering her composure and gentled speech. She leaned into his large form and tried to do as he advised. It comforted her at first, but as they rode on rubbing snugly against each other her heart did not stop pounding. To her horror she realized why. This was how she felt in rare but longed for embraces with Willie, son of the innkeepers she cooked for betimes. Willie, who was of her station. Nay, even he was above her birth. They had hidden their affection for that very reason.

So much the more her lord, who paid her meat and wage and shielded her unwittingly from beatings at home. Even as Lilac commended herself to her duty she noticed anew Lord Reynard's muscled arm just under her breasts, his chest hard at her back, his heat surrounding her. She must never betray such a brazen lapse if she hoped to keep the comforts of her service at the manor. Lilac knew well that Lord Reynard himself would never mark it if she lusted on him, or act on any such toward her. His honor was beyond doubt and he looked not to servants for sport. John and Maisry both had shrewd eyes enough to see the sun by day though.

Saracen sped to a canter, unrestrained by Lord Reynard as he marked Lilac's distracted air. John watched the scene before him, well entertained by his usually stern knight's open flirtation and joyful mood. "Lilac grows bolder already, well done. Mayhap you might teach her to wield a sword anon." She giggled at the thought and Lord Reynard threw back his head and roared.

He sobered a bit and declared, "Indeed, she bears courage as high as any lad I have trained up. I have never seen her a-scared before this day though she has had cause."

Lilac replied instantly, "Pray, my lord, tell me when I have had cause to be scared in your household."

"Most would call me a man of fearsome strength and a warrior," he said, then growled playfully, "And it is true."

"Yet, I have never seen you harm any."

"You have watched me fight my squire here! I have harmed him."

"You have wounded John, and he you, while both stay in..." here she was interrupted by John's merriment-laced thanks.

"I hope I do not grow so feeble that I cannot get a blow in, when I fought beside his father while he lay swaddled at home!"

"Talk of my swaddling clothes more in Lilac's company, John, and you will mind your age when we meet next in the yard."

Lilac waited until their chuckling faded and spoke on seriously, "You have not harmed him. Keeping your sword arm skilled and your men likewise in their wits protects us all. I trust you the more because of it, and do not take fright when I see it. You are not cruel, or unjust. You have never raised a hand to any of us in anger over trifles. I have felt fear aplenty in my life, but never in your company or house."

"My temper is reckoned fierce. I have seen grown men shake to hear me shout at them, yet you do not so."

Lilac rolled her eyes at this, "A babe not one day in this world can squall louder than you, and with worse temper, and I do not shake for he will not harm me. No more will you. It is the same."

"By Our Lady, I am glad of your good regard, Lilac. I pledge I will strive to keep it. In turn I keep mine of your courage, and your understanding."

In truth, Sir Reynard reflected, he had enjoyed the results of her intelligence and observant nature without noting the abilities in themselves. From deliciously seasoning dishes, to singing dozens of songs with a dozen verses each, to tact in dealings with his men Lilac's actions reflected these qualities daily.

"It wants no understanding, my lord. I serve you, and you protect me. It is the way of the world."

"God forfend I need a child to teach me the way of the world." He called over his shoulder to John with twinkling eyes.

Before thought and heedless now of drawing notice to incipient admiration, Lilac whipped around glaring. "I am no child!"

His brows rose up but his voice deepened as he gazed into her eyes, "Nay, Lilac, you are no child. I will not mistake you again."

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