Connie Brockway
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Bridal Favors

Bridal Favors

EXCERPT

"True, you're slender, but it's nowhere near the bone," he replied, sitting back on his heels and tossing the washcloth after the pant leg. "There. All nice and clean. Have a look for yourself."

"Thank you, no. If you'd be so kind as to put a bandage over it, I'm sure I can finish tying it up." She began struggling to a seated position but he stopped her, his big hand enveloping her shoulder and gently pushing her back down.

"Not a bit of it, m'dear," he said cheerfully. "Besides, always finish what you begin. Or so me old granny used to say."

She breathed a heartfelt "thank you." She hated being brave about blood. She'd never seen any real value in it, except that it made everyone else feel better just when you were feeling your worst, which was enerally the time a girl needed a bit of sympathy.

"You just rest easy and think of something else. I know," he said, as if a novel idea had only just occurred to him. "Why don't you tell me why you broke into my house?"

"Broke…? Oh. That. The insufferable person who answers your door kept insisting that you were not at home. As I had to see you, I had no choice but to find an alternative entry."

"Beverly told you I wasn't in? How reprehensible!" Justin said and then, "I suppose there was some good reason you didn't believe him?"

"Of course," she answered. "I saw you."

"Saw me?" Justin repeated mildly. He opened the little amber bottle and withdrew a small glass wand from it. Carefully, he guided it along the cut.

"Ow!" Evelyn squealed, pulling away and glowering at him with the air of one grossly betrayed. "You hurt me!"

He grimaced apologetically. "Sorry. Carbolic acid. Should have warned you it would sting a bit."

"I should say," Evelyn muttered bad-temperedly.

"Almost done. Just a bit of bandaging and you'll be right as rain. Now, then," he began unrolling a linen bandage, "you were saying how you spied me in the house and thus deduced Beverly to be the lying knave he undoubtedly is. Where did you see me?"

"Through the back window here."

"Ah." Justin nodded. "So, having been told I was not at home, you at once became suspicious of Beverly's villainous mien and decided to walk around to the back of the house, climb the alley wall, and look through the windows. Most enterprising."

Evelyn frowned. "Put that way, it sounds rather…intrusive."

"No, no," Justin said affably. "I'd say the actual intrusive spot came when you broke into the house. Up to that point I'd call you merely…" He looked at her hopefully, as though she would supply the word that eluded him.

"Prying."