The Invalid ~ Excerpt from 'A Code of the Heart'

A Code of the Heart by Jacki DeleckiAmelia didn’t share Gwyneth’s amusement. She wanted to believe that Lord Brinsley cared about her, but who could rely on the opinion of a blissful bride? She wished she wasn’t lying in bed like an invalid with her tangled hair and a bandage wrapped around her head, but Gwyneth was adamant she had to remain recumbent. Doctor’s orders.

Gwyneth opened the door with the sound of the footman’s tap and waved in the visitor.

“Brinsley. Please come and see for yourself that the patient is doing fine.”

Gwyneth waited at the door, as Lord Brinsley entered. His brown, curly hair was tousled; his shirt and cravat were stained with blood. His eyes were dark and sunken with anxiety.

Amelia had been unaware of the tenderness she felt for him until now; she wanted to hold him, to comfort him, but she didn’t dare.

“Thank you, Lady Gwyneth.” Brinsley’s voice and manner were much subdued.

Gwyneth curtsied to the gentleman and left the room, closing the door behind her.

Amelia clenched her hands on the damask coverlet. She’d be scolding Gwyneth for this newest attempt at matchmaking. Gwyneth’s maid was in the dressing room a few yards away, but Gwyneth had left her alone with Lord Brinsley.

He edged closer to the bed, scrutinizing her face, noting details of the bandage and the facial swelling.

“Miss Amelia, are you comfortable?” His voice was hoarse with emotion.

She tried to lighten his serious mood. “My injury doesn’t warrant bed rest, but Lady Gwyneth and the doctor were quite fearsome.”

“Of course, you must rest. You lost a great deal of blood, and you’re quite pale.”

“I doubt greatly that I’m pale. This is my normal skin color. I suspect you look worse than I do.” There was purple bruising below his eye, covering his strong cheekbone almost back to his ear. “I stopped a ball, but by the looks of it, you stopped a very large fist. We make quite a pair; now we’re matching.” She teased, but the gorgeous man stared at her as if she were on her deathbed.

He stepped closer and she got a whiff of his scent—lime and male muskiness. “I’m truly sorry. This was my fault. If I had stayed quiet, you wouldn’t be injured.”

The way he looked at her, with such concern and care, she couldn’t look away. Butterflies danced a fast tempo in her stomach. She was captured again in his all-consuming stare.

A Code of the Heart

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