Winter Wonder – a Story for the Darker Days

“It is not a bite mark,” Lennox said forcefully, “Although Mama was convinced at first and would send the children off into the country. Three weeks on and they are still there. Alfie is chafing to come home and… ”

Mary realised he was watching her so closely he’d followed her horrified glance. Thank goodness her mama-in-law had acted so quickly. What if it was a bite mark and she was a danger to her children? How could Lennox not understand the need for speed?

“There has been no report of any foaming dog, my love, be calm. No, towards the back of your thumb the impression changes shape. I think it is from a chain.” He leaned over her and traced the healing ridges of skin with a gentle finger. Shivers of recognition made her tremble. She glanced into his handsome face through her lashes. Her husband…and lover.

“Why?” she asked in a quiet voice, “Why would I have the marks of a chain around my hand?”

Lennox shook his head and the lock of hair that lay above his left eye fell across his cheek in an achingly familiar way. “I have said more than I should.”

Mary watched him and felt his relief when Malcolm, wrapped around in a thick plaid, crossed the gravel path carrying a tray. He came up to them and stopped.

“Lady Grizel insisted Lady Calder must eat, my lord.”

“Sensible woman, my mama,” Lennox agreed, “But perhaps I should carry Lady Calder back to the house before she attempts to eat porridge. The snow will be with us sooner than we think.”

Mary tore her startled gaze away from Malcom with his tray, to her husband. The sky had cleared while they sat talking and was now mostly blue with clouds high up. It would not snow soon. Then she caught the low growl in Duff’s throat. The huge dog was never far from Lennox’s side and had followed them from the house, no doubt.

Turning her head in his direction, she saw a shadow move through the trees.

“Down, boy,” Lennox ordered before scooping her off the bench and striding towards the house.

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