She was singing loudly as she cleaned when the doors opened behind her.
“La la la love…” she trailed off into a hum, jumping when the doors slammed.
Whirling around, she met the amused gaze of the Lord. She blinked rapidly before dropping her eyes and her body to the ground.
Silence descended on the room and she watched as his sandaled feet walked slowly by her. She bowed lower, wondering who’d been the one to painstakingly thread the gold into his footwear. The hem of his robe swept the newly cleaned stones, and she noted how it too was shot through with gold in places. What a tedious job that had to have been. Her own tunic was simple to the point of being plain, but she liked it that way.
“Excuse me?” Amusement shoot through his deep voice.
The feet backtracked to stand behind her. Light streaming through the window caught the gold and made it glint in her eye. She stayed bent to the ground, hoping he’d carry on with the advisors who continued to move by.
She felt the touch of his hand to her head. His fingers sifted through her curly strands trailing to her nape to gather the hair in his fist. He gave a light tug and she let him guide her head back to meet his eyes.
They were a vivid blue, so stunning she had to look away.
“No,” he admonished with a tug. “You will hold my gaze since you can speak so freely to me.”
Her widened eyes bounced back to his. “My Lord! I would never… I’m sorry for any thing I’ve said to offend. I’m–”
“What is your name, girl?” He lowered himself to the ground in front of her. “I would know the name of one so bold.”
Should she give him her real name? She darted her eyes to the closed door, contemplating how she could escape before she was punished.
His laughter brought her focus back to him. “Could you make it to the door, little one? I think I have you caught. Your name?”
The urge to lie dissolved under his regard.
“Lillian, My Lord,” she whispered.
“Innocence; purity; beauty.” He stepped closer, his full lips tilting up in a smile. “A fitting name for one so sweet.”
“My mother believed me destined for someone great.” Heat stole across her cheeks. “Forgive me for being so forward.”
“I think your mother is a very wise woman.” His voice dropped and something keen entered his eyes.
It was the two of them in that moment. She didn’t fully understand what was happening, but was too caught in his gaze to flee. The hand at her nape began to massage, the gentle touch relaxing her.
“I would have you for myself, Lillian.” His face neared her own. “I find myself unable to walk away now that I’ve seen you.”
That drew her out of the spell. A wave of indignation swept through her. “For your own? But I’m not a thing to be owned!”
His eyes darkened, turning predatory as he stared at her. “Well, I’ll just have to remind you that I’m Lord and I always get what I want.”
Before she could protest his high handed speech, he captured her lips in a kiss that sizzled right through her defenses.