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Chapter 1 – page 12
And she just might shove haughty Cecilia into the mud on her way out.
“Thank you.” Uncle Henry smiled at Pa, then narrowed his eyes at Cecilia. “They’ve had a long journey. Please instruct Martha to prepare rooms for them. I’m sure they would like to rest before joining us for supper.”
“Yes, of course. You must be freezing in those wet clothes.” Now all stiff smiles and open arms, Cecilia ushered them into a nearby room, which had carved furniture and a blazing hearth. “Come, you can warm yourselves by the fire while I fetch Martha to prepare your rooms.” She hesitated, one fine brow arching. “I’ll have her heat water for baths as well.”
Eli leaned back and rubbed her full belly through the soft, brown fabric of the maid’s dress that she’d been blackmailed into wearing.
Two hours ago, she’d emerged from her bath to find someone had stolen her clothes. A pile of women’s garments sat in their place. Eli shouted for Pa. Instead of fetching her clothes, he gave her a choice—wear the dress or go hungry. So she’d tugged the impractical thing over her head. But left the undergarments where they lay. The ninny might choose to suffocate herself with corsets and petticoats, but Eli wanted to be ready to run if the need arose.
A satisfying belch burst from her mouth and she had to admit—the meal was worth the sacrifice.
Her gaze settled on Cecilia’s empty chair. Too bad the ninny had claimed a headache and disappeared. Her reaction might have been fun.
Uncle Henry pushed his chair back from the table and stood. “Shall we move to the drawing room, then?”
Eli’s eyelids tugged downward, but she forced them open.
Pa set his napkin on the table. “Did Amanda send you Pa’s Bible when he passed?”
Uncle Henry quirked a brow as Pa stood. “Yes. Along with a crateful of other things our sister thought I might like. Why do you ask?”
“It’s in your study, I suppose.”
Eli eyed the door the servant had disappeared through. The kitchen must be that way.
Uncle Henry clapped his hands together. “Would you like to see it?”
Had she spoken her thoughts aloud? No. He was looking at Pa.
Pa faced the hallway. “You get to bed, Eliza.” Without a glance in her direction, he strode from the room, Uncle Henry trailing behind.
Don’t forget to preorder your copy of Waltz in the Wilderness if you haven’t already!