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He covered her mouth with his own, swallowing her wail, ravishing her at will. Until she broke all at once
and waves of pleasure rushed over her so fast she felt dizzy. George shook in the after-tremors, clinging
to Harry as he bent her backward over his arm and fed on her mouth. His fingers left her to stroke over
her hip soothingly.
His mouth gentled.
Then Harry broke away to hiss in her ear,  I told you, decide what you want before coming to me. I m
not a goddamned lapdog you can pick up and pet and then send away again. You can t get rid of me that
George stumbled, both from his words and from the fact that he d let her go. She clutched at the back of
a chair.  Harry, I 
But he d already left the room.
Chapter Thirteen
Harry woke with the taste of stale ale in his mouth. He waited a moment before opening his eyes.
Although it had been a very long time, he never quite forgot the painful torture of sunlight and a hangover.
When he finally cracked open his dry eyes, he saw the room was too bright for early morning. He d
overslept. Groaning, he lurched up and sat for a moment on the edge of his bed, head in hands, feeling
uncommonly old.
God, what an idiot he d been to drink too much yesterday eve. He d been trying to track down the
rumors about the woman poisoned on the moor, had gone first to the White Mare and then to the Cock
and Worm, but Dick wasn t at his tavern, and no one else would speak to him. In every face he d seen
suspicion and, in some, loathing. Meanwhile, what the scarred man had said to him in West Dikey had
sounded in his skull like a chant. Man-whore. Man-whore. Man-whore. Perhaps he d been trying to
drown the words when he d drunk multiple tankards of ale last night.
A clatter came from the cottage s main room.
Harry swiveled his head carefully in that direction and sighed. Will was probably hungry. He staggered to
the door and stared.
The fire blazed and a steaming teapot sat on the table.
Will crouched on the floor, strangely still.  I dropped the spoons. I m sorry, he whispered. He hunched
his body as if he was trying to make himself smaller, maybe disappear altogether.
Harry knew that posture. The boy expected to be hit.
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He shook his head.  Doesn t matter. His voice sounded like the scrape of a shovel on stony ground. He
cleared his throat and sat down.  Made tea, have you?
 Aye. Will stood up, poured a cup, and carefully handed it to him.
 Ta. Harry sipped and scalded his throat. He winced and waited, but his stomach felt better, so he took
another mouthful.
 I cut some bread for toast, too. Will brought a plate for his inspection.  They re not so nice as yours,
Harry looked at the uneven slices with a jaundiced eye. He wasn t sure his belly could take solids at the
moment, but the boy needed praise.  Better than Lady Georgina s try.
His painful smile died as he thought about what he d said and done to his lady last night. He gazed at the
fire. He d have to go apologize sometime today. Assuming she would still talk to him, that is.
 I ll toast them. Will must be used to sudden, awkward silences. He went about skewering the bread on
the crooked fork and finding a spot to hold it over the fire.
Harry watched him. Will had no father, thanks to Granville, nor mother, either. Just that old woman, his
grandmother, and a less loving woman he d rarely seen.
Yet here he was, competently tending to an adult sick from too much drink. Perhaps he d had to care for
his grandmother after a night of swilling. The thought was bitter in Harry s mouth.
He took another sip of tea.
 Here we are, then, Will said, sounding like an elderly woman. He set a pile of buttered toast on the
table and bustled around to another chair.
Harry bit into a piece of toast and licked melting butter off his thumb. He noticed that Will was looking at
him. He nodded.  Good.
The boy smiled, revealing a gap in his upper teeth.
They ate companionably for a while.
 Did you have a fight with her? Will swiped up a drip of butter and licked it off his finger.  Your lady, I
 You could say that. Harry poured himself more tea, stirring in a large spoonful of sugar this time.
 My gran said gentry was evil. Didn t care if regular folk lived or died, so long as they d gold plates to
eat off of. Will traced a circle on the table with a greasy finger.  But your lady was nice.
 Aye. Lady Georgina s not like most.
 And she s pretty. Will nodded to himself and took another piece of toast.
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Aye, pretty as well. Harry looked out the cottage window, a feeling of uneasiness beginning to build in
him. Would she let him apologize?
  Course, she s not much of a cook. Couldn t cut the bread straight. You ll have to help her with that.
Will wrinkled his forehead in thought.  Does she eat off of gold plates?
 I don t know.
Will eyed him suspiciously, as if Harry might be withholding important information. Then his look turned
to pity.  Haven t you been invited to supper, then?
 No. Well, there d been that dinner in her rooms, but he wasn t telling Will about that.  I ve had tea
with her, though.
 She didn t have gold plates for that?
 No. Why was he explaining himself?
Will nodded sagely.  You ll have to go to supper before you know. He finished his toast.  Have you
brought her presents?
Will s pitying look was back.  All girls like presents; that s what my gran said. And I think she must be
right. I like presents.
Harry propped his chin in his hands and felt wire-stiff stubble. His head was feeling bad again, but Will
seemed to think presents were important. And this was the most the boy had talked since he d shown up
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