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.No wife of mine willbecomeanother man's whore."******************Rose knew she was deliberately goading Dragon, but it felt good.She would never forgive him forlaughing at her.Though she had no intention of leaving Dragonwyck with her uncle, needling Dragonsoothed her hurt pride.It did surprise her, however, that Dragon thought she wanted Gunn.It was evenmore startling143 that he sounded jealous of the Scotsman.Rose suppressed a smile.Dragon cared naught for her, so why would he be jealous? The reason came toher in a burst of insight.Dragon was a possessive man, one who did not relinquish easily that which heconsidered his.She was his property, like Dragonwyck, and was to be held at all costs.Rose ponderedher lowly place in Dragon's life and wondered how long it would be before he sent for his mistress."Rose, did you hearme?" Dominic growled."You will not leave Dragonwyck without my permission, norare you to seek out Gunn for any reason.""Once again you accuse me falsely," Rose charged."I am not interested in Gunn.""What are you interested in?" Dominic asked."My home.My family.Our people.""Do you want children, Rose?""I always thought children would be a blessing and a comfort," Rose said wistfully.Dragon's expression gave away nothing of his thoughts.Was he thinking about the children he might havehad with his mistress? Rose wondered.A daunting thought occurred to her.Did he want that otherwoman to be the mother of his children?Rose blurted out the question before she could change her mind.The expression on Dominic's face madeher wish she had held her tongue."You are the woman who can give me legitimate children, not Veronica."Veronica.Now she knew the name of the woman he loved.But when Rose considered his answer, shedecided he had adeptly evaded her question.144 Iknow you did not ask," Dominic continued, "but I will tell you anyway.I want children, Rose.There isnot a man alive who does not want heirs.One day our son willbe Lord of Dragonwyck."Rose swallowed convulsively.The thought of having Dragon's children brought her no pleasure when sheknew that the father of her future children loved another woman."Mayhap I am barren," Rose said for lack of a better answer. Time will tell," Dominic said.Abruptly he changed the subject."Did your uncle say when he wasleaving?"Rose was not sorry to see the end of the previous discussion and answered with alacrity."Nay, but Idoubt his visit will be an extended one.He must return soon to protect his demesne from rival clans.""Good," Dominic said as he placed a portion of stewed root vegetables on the trencher."I will not besorry to see the last of him.I have been thinking," he continued,"Christmastide is a perfect time for a celebration.We could invite the marcher barons and their families and announce our marriage at the sametime.'Tis time I met those of King John's barons whom I do not already know.""You wish to hold a fete?" Rose repeated."Tis a great undertaking, my lord.Rooms must be preparedand the keep cleaned from top to bottom.We need to send out hunters and fishermen immediately, andmake sure enough help is available to cook and prepare food for the banqueting tables.""Can it be done?" Dominic asked.Actually, the idea of a Christmas celebration excited145Rose.Visiting with friends from other baronies was always a treat.Organizing a grand fete would bedifficult in the short time available, but not impossible."Aye, it can be done with enough help.""We can hold the celebration between Christmas Day and Twelfth Night, with activities like hunting andhawking on each of the twelve days," Dominic decided."My knights will provide fresh game and fish,and I will send out riders with invitations to the marcher barons.Does that meet with your approval?""Aye.Mama and Papa always handed out gifts on the first day of January," Rose said wistfully."Eachvillein received a length of cloth and food.I hope there is enough cloth in our stores to accommodate ourpeople.""You must check the stores," Dominic said."We, too, will make gifts to our people."Rose nodded silent agreement, keeping her most fervent wish to herself.She wanted her mother andStarla to visit Dragonwyck during the festivities but did not know how Dragon would react to herrequest.The meal ended, and a place was cleared in the center of the hall for the bard.Rose had not been onhand when he had arrived earlier in the day and was surprised at his advanced age [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]