Seeking Persephone (The Lancaster Family #1)

Adam Boyce, are you teasing me?” She hoped her shock sounded feigned enough to not offend him. She’d more than once seen Adam close up after what he perceived as a criticism. “I never tease.

Adam crossed to her bed and pulled off the blanket. He reached her at the window and draped it over her shoulders. “Adam?” Persephone looked up at him, so obviously confused. “You should have come in when the wolves first started.” Adam made his way to the door. “Come in?” she repeated. “And curled up on the bed.” He stopped at the door and turned toward her, waiting. “You knew?” Persephone whispered, her face paling noticeably. “I . . . I thought . . . I thought you were asleep.” “Asleep?” Adam answered, with an ironic raise of his eyebrows. “That’s the problem.” “Problem?” “I can’t sleep.

Adam grasped him by the throat once more and, his face an inch from Smith’s, growled out, “I am the Duke of Kielder. I am the law.

Adam pressed a kiss to her forehead. “Why did Hades go after her?” he asked in a low voice, his lips still brushing her face. She barely managed to keep breathing. “He must have loved her,” she whispered. Adam’s response emerged breathless. “He must have.

Adam?” “Yes, dear?” Dear? Adam sat stunned for a moment that such a word had come so naturally to his lips. “Please stay with me,” Persephone whispered. He didn’t know what brought on the impulse, but he leaned over and kissed her lightly on the forehead, lingering a moment longer than necessary. “If you will stay with me,” he answered silently.

Every other guest has left the castle, Harry. Why haven’t you?” “I am here to be your conscience, Adam. To save you from yourself.

He actually winked at Persephone as if to say, “I told you.” “You had better be suffering from an uncontrollable muscle tic,” Adam grumbled, still seemingly concentrating on the food on his plate. “Completely uncontrollable.” Harry’s smile belied his words. “Good. Otherwise I would think you were just winking at my wife.

He tried to kill my wife,” Adam threw back. “If the wolves don’t tear him to pieces, I will.

I am sorry, Persephone,” he whispered to her as she slept. “But I cannot let you go.

I can do that, Your Grace.” The abigail apparently expected him to relinquish his duties. Adam silently shook his head, softly rubbing more blood from her ankle. “It is not seemly for a duke to be acting as a lady’s maid or a physician, Your Grace.” “Perhaps not.” Adam didn’t take his eyes from his task. “But a husband is charged with keeping his wife in sickness, is he not?” “Yes, Your Grace.” The maid sounded more confused than anything else. “Then I would venture that tending to my wife is perfectly seemly.” Lud, her ankle was terribly swollen, and tender, if her continued grimace were any indication. “It is highly unusual.” “And when has the Duke of Kielder cared what was usual?” The bones didn’t feel out of place. If anything, there might be a small crack. Persephone was fortunate in that, at least. “Yes, Your Grace.

No one is as dangerous as the Duke of Kielder.

Our castle is in need of a good exploration,” he said. “I believe we should schedule one. Perhaps if you have no other plans for Christmas, you might do so then.” Artemis grinned and ran to where they stood, throwing her arms around Adam’s legs. “You’re the best duke that ever lived!” she declared. “Yes, he is.” Persephone smiled up at Adam. “Yes, I am.” Adam didn’t force down his grin. “The luckiest, at least.

Thank you,” she said once more, stepping to where he was and lightly kissing his left cheek, placing her hand on Adam’s chest for support. She felt her face heat at the gesture of gratitude but did not regret her actions. She needed him to know that what he’d done went beyond the ordinary polite interest most people took in the suffering of others. Relieved that he, at least, didn’t object to her offering, Persephone smiled a little shyly and stepped away, determined to run all the way to her rooms and devour Linus’s letter. She didn’t manage a single step. Adam reached for her—something he’d never done before—and with a look of intense determination, he pulled her back to her previous position, hand pressed to his chest. He kissed her. Not on the cheek, not a friendly greeting, but a kiss unlike any she had experienced before, made even more remarkable by the fact that it was entirely unexpected.

You’re supposed to be fearsome and unkind, but I ain’t never seen a man care for his wife the way you did for Her Grace. And you apologize to someone who really ought to be beneath your notice. It’s not what people would expect from the Duke of Kielder.

You tell me to trust you, but I don’t know that I can. I don’t know anything about you, Adam. I have no idea what kind of man you are. And that . . . that frightens me.” “I frighten you?

You will, once again, have to save me from myself. You have done that, you know.” “Saved you?” “My Persephone,” he whispered in her ear. “Do you know I would have come for you no matter how far you’d gone?” “Hades always came for Persephone,” she echoed his earlier explanation. He lightly kissed her again. “And she always returned home.” “Always,” Persephone repeated. “Always.