Today’s three wishes come from Elizabeth Thornton, the heroine from Elizabeth’s Destiny.
Elizabeth wishes her mother and the church elders hadn’t sent her to India.
Elizabeth wishes she didn’t have to wear such smothering gowns in the horrid heat.
Elizabeth wishes she wasn’t destined to live the dull life of a missionary.
Sometime you get what you wish for…
And sometimes you wish they had never came true.
Maxwell has eyed the lovely Elizabeth in the market place and wants her. He has set his plan in motion to capture the lovely English girl.
“That one, the English woman. Steal the basket and knock her to the ground.”
“Yes Sir.” The boy beamed up at him and quickly put the coin in the pocket of his tattered pants. He hurried after Elizabeth, and waited until she was past the busiest of streets, then swooped in on her. He slammed into her from behind, full force, and grabbed the heavy basket. Elizabeth cried out in shock, flying forward into the dust as the basket was torn from her hands. She landed hard, chin bumping the dirt road, cutting it open, hands scraping across the small stones, then lay still, stunned by the attack.
Maxwell, watched with delight then ran a hand over his face to turn his smirk into a grimace of disgust, and rushed to the lady’s aid. No one else was close enough to have seen the assault, and therefore only he was aware of her peril. He raced forward, past Elizabeth, as if he were contemplating chasing the thief, but then turned back to her and knelt by her side. “Here now, Miss. Are you hurt? Let me help you.”
Elizabeth tried to push herself up but winced when her injured palms touched the ground. Max put a hand under her elbow and steadied her, helping her into a kneeling position.
Looking at her like this, his mouth no more than a foot from hers, took his breath away. He’d known she was beautiful; he’d been close enough to see the color of her eyes before as she stood in the shade of a market stall bargaining for fruit, but he’d never been this close, never close enough to kiss her. He felt her body begin to tremble, and watched as her eyes filled with tears, her lower lip starting to quiver.
“There, there now luv. It’s all right. I’m here to help you.”
“I… He… I never saw him coming. My things, oh he took all my things.”
Elizabeth knelt there in the dirt, her mind in a whirlwind because of the attack and the nearness of the stranger who’d come to her aid. His soothing English accent and gorgeous blue eyes were both mesmerizing and comforting. She studied his face in silence, admiring the sharp sensuous cheekbones and full lips. His hair was so blonde it was almost white, and some curls had escaped the leather tie that held it back in a tight ponytail. She imagined some would call him beautiful if the term was used for a man. The sight and nearness of him addled her wits.
She dropped her eyes, unable to meet his gaze, only to take in the broad expanse of his chest and muscular arms. She shook herself mentally as she gawked at him. What was the matter with her? Here she was, sprawled in the dirt, and all she could do was gape at her savior, her heart pounding like a bird trapped in a cage.
She brought a tiny hand up to rub at a painful spot on her chin, and gasped when it came away red with blood. The combination of the heat, the excitement, Maxwell’s nearness, and the sight of her blood made Elizabeth’s head spin. She closed her eyes, moaning, feeling as if she were about to faint.
“Here now luv, you need to get out of the hot sun. I’ll take care of you, sweet. Don’t fret about your chin. It’s still pretty as ever. I’ll fix you right up.”
Maxwell scooped her up in his strong arms and Elizabeth didn’t protest. He gazed down at the beauty he held close, stunned by the ease with which her abduction was going to take place.
“Ah, I see some shade down this street Miss. Let’s find you a place to rest before you faint. Then I’ll tend to your chin and hands.”
Maxwell carried her down the deserted alley to a wooden crate in the shade. He set her upon it gently, and Elizabeth tried to give him a little smile, but her lip quivered again.
“There, there pigeon, it’s okay. What’s your name luv?”
“Elizabeth Thornton. I’m from the Baptist Mission. I… I was headed home from the market and… Oh I simply hate taking a carriage, so I decided to walk. I’ve been so foolish and look where it has gotten me.”
She gazed into those gorgeous blue eyes again then bit her lip as she lowered her own. That also proved to be a bad move because the sight of his muscular thighs encased in his tight breeches only made things worse. Her heart skipped a beat, and she drew in a quick breath. Elizabeth was finding her rescuer’s presence to be extremely unnerving. Maxwell saw a hint of a blush tint her cheeks and had to hold off a wicked grin. Miss Prim and Proper liked what she saw.
“Maxwell Harrison at your service, Miss Thornton, but everyone calls me Max. I’m with the British East India Trading Company, been here about three years give or take. I must say it’s a good thing too, or I wouldn’t have been here to tend you after that little scallywag’s attack. As for you being foolish, I disagree, luv. The fact that you like to walk shows me you’re independent. You aren’t one of those simpering ninny’s who can’t lift a finger to fend for themselves. I prefer my women to have spirit.”
Elizabeth’s chin and eyebrows shot up at this declaration, her cheeks flushing with anger, and she made to get off the crate, but Max quickly dropped to his knee before her, damning himself for forgetting a lady would take offense at such talk.
“Forgive me Miss Thornton. I didn’t mean to insult you. Please believe me when I tell you I am only here to help. I won’t do anything to tarnish your virtue, nor make any improper advances. You have my solemn word. Will you allow me to clean your wounds and escort you home?”
Elizabeth eyed Maxwell carefully. What should she do? On one hand, it was this type of situation that had gotten her into trouble back home in England, on the other, her knees and hands were scraped up and her chin was bleeding. She was also frightened and quite shaken up. Elizabeth couldn’t deny the trembling that still gripped her body. She would be terrified walking home alone, afraid of every noise, jumping at her own shadow.
“I will, as long as you promise to conduct yourself like a gentleman. I do have spirit Mr. Harrison, and I have also been told I have a fiery temper. Don’t get any ideas about me being your kind of woman. I am a lady, and as such you will treat me that way and refrain from further undignified comments.”
The fire that flashed in her green eyes and the proud way she held up her bleeding chin made it impossible for Maxwell not to admire her spunk. The woman had sass all right, and it led him to believe she would be a spitfire in bed. Right now her breasts were heaving as she fought to control her anger, and her cheeks were flushed the prettiest shade of pink. Max very much wanted to kiss her senseless, but those activities would have to be saved for later. Right now it was time to get her safely back to Jeeval’s estate.
“I promise to be nothing but a gentleman, Miss Thornton.” Maxwell pulled a handkerchief soaked in ether from his back pocket before she could say anything else, and moved to wipe the blood from Elizabeth’s chin. He tilted her head back then slipped his hand around behind it to hold her steady.
“This will sting, luv. Close your eyes. I promise to be gentle.” Elizabeth did as he asked, and Maxwell moved in for the kill, pressing the drug soaked cloth to her nose and mouth and sliding his hand under her sunhat so he could wrap a fist in her hair. Elizabeth began to struggle immediately when he covered both her nose and mouth, but Maxwell held tight, and before long she was forced to take a breath of the ether. Once she was unconscious he pulled the cloth away and wiped the blood from her chin before bending down and brushing his lips over hers.
“So sweet. I’m going to greatly enjoy your lessons, luv. Such a beauty and all mine.