“That remains to be seen, Lady Lavinia.”
He brought the wagon to a halt, set the brake, and climbed down. No one seemed to be about as he walked around to her side and held up his arms. She scooted over until he could bracket his large hands on her narrow waist while she placed her small hands on his broad shoulders. Slowly, ever so slowly, as though he were in no hurry, he lifted her down until her feet touched the earth.
For the briefest of moments, he seemed to be studying her, and she wondered if he was ever going to release his hold on her, wasn’t certain she wanted him to. No one had ever looked at her as he did—with such intense interest, as though she fascinated him. It was rather thrilling to be the object of such attention. Finally, he dropped his hands and stepped back. “My brother has wagons and horses for hauling the brick. Over here.”
She followed him to a large paddock—not a proper stable, although she could see what appeared to be some sort of wooden shelter in the distance. The horses she saw standing around were much bulkier than the ones in her father’s stables, but then she supposed they needed the muscles for hauling something as weighty as bricks. Then she spotted the elegant white mare with her silver mane, and her heart leaped with such joy she was surprised it didn’t burst through her chest. “Sophie! Here, girl! Here, sweet girl!”
The horse trotted over, and Lavinia petted her, pressing her forehead against Sophie’s. “I thought never to see you again. I suppose after tonight that will be true, but at least you’ve not been taken from me completely. I’ll know you’re here, frolicking about, having a grand time with your new friends. I’m sorry I treated you poorly, tried to use you to gain another’s attention. Oh, sweet girl, I shall forever miss you.”
Throwing back her head, Sophie neighed, and Lavinia couldn’t help but believe the horse