The Sea King by C. L. Wilson

The Sea King by C. L. Wilson

Author:C. L. Wilson
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: 2017-10-31T04:00:00+00:00

Gabriella pulled her hand back. “If you’re serious about courting me, you need to stop that. There is more to marriage than sexual attraction.”

It pleased Dilys to no end that both her hand and her voice shook as she pulled away. It pleased him even more that she acknowledged the attraction between them. The mention of marriage was, of course, just a ploy, a bait to manipulate him into surrendering one of his most powerful weapons in their war of wills. But he liked that she’d mentioned it all the same. The more often she spoke of marriage, the more used to the idea she would become.

“Indeed there is,” he agreed, settling back into his chair to give the illusion of a small retreat. “I believe it is customary for couples to use their courtship to get to know one another better. Let’s start with you. I already know that most people think you are honest, even though you lie whenever it suits your needs.” She rolled her eyes, which made him laugh. “I know that you love beautiful flowers but only those with an equally beautiful fragrance, and that you are very generous—except when it comes to sharing Zephyr Hallowill’s chocolates. Those you hoard, even from your sisters.”

She gaped at him. “Who told you tha—” Her lips pursed in an exasperated scowl. “Autumn.”

He grinned. “She and I have become good friends these last few weeks.”

“Too good, it would seem,” Summer groused.

“Her first loyalty is to you. She just happens to agree that I would make an excellent husband for you.” Before consenting to help him with his pursuit of Summer, Autumn had vowed to roast him like a sausage on a stick if he ever mistreated her sister in any way. She hadn’t been joking. “My cousins and I thoroughly enjoy her company. I get the feeling it’s rare for her to have male friends, especially attractive, unmarried males in their prime.”

“Your modesty continues to leave me speechless.”

He laughed. “I was actually referring to Ari and Ryll, but thank you. ”

The servants delivered the second course, a salad of baby greens topped with sliced pears, candied nuts and apricots, and crumbled goat cheese. He waited for the servants to depart and Summer to pick up her fork before saying, “Tell me about your mother. What do you remember about her?”

Gabriella shrugged. “Not much. I was very young when she died.”

“You were seven, I believe?”

She poked at her salad. “Yes.”

Old enough to remember more than vague impressions. She had memories. She just wasn’t sharing them. “I understand she was very kind and gentle, a calming influence on your father.”

“She was.”

“I’ve heard you are very like her.”

“So people say.”

He reached for his wine, took a sip, and regarded her over the rim of the crystal flute, until the silence made her stop shoving her salad around on her plate and look up at him. Gently and without recrimination, he said, “A conversation works best when both parties actually participate, Gabriella.” Setting his glass aside, he reached across the table to take her hand.


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