Miss Marks had relented, although it was clear that she would have preferred to be elsewhere. She took up as small a space as possible, a narrow, colorless figure wedged between Beatrix and Dr. Harrow. The governess rarely looked up from her plate except when Leo was speaking. Although her eyes were partially concealed by the spectacles, Kev suspected they held nothing but dislike for the Hathaways' brother.
It seemed that Miss Marks and Leo had found in each other the personification of everything they disliked most. Leo couldn't stand humorless people, or judgmental ones, and he had immediately taken to referring to the governess as "Satan in petticoats." And Miss Marks, for her part, despised rakes. The more charming they were, the deeper her loathing.
Most of the dinner conversation centered on the subject of Harrow 's clinic, which the Hathaways regarded as a miraculous enterprise. The women fawned on Harrow to a nauseating degree, delighting in his commonplace remarks, admiring him openly.
Kev had an instinctive aversion to Harrow, although he wasn't certain if that was because of the doctor himself, or because Win's affections were at stake.
It was tempting to disdain Harrow for all his smoothfaced perfection. Except that a roguish good humor lurked in his smile, and he displayed a lively interest in the conversation around him, and he seemed never to take himself too seriously. Harrow was obviously a man who shouldered heavy responsibility-that of life and death itself-and yet he carried it lightly. He was the kind of person who always seemed to fit in no matter what the circumstances.
While the family ate and conversed, Kev remained quiet except when called upon to answer some question about the Ramsay estate. He watched Win circumspectly, unable to discern exactly what her feelings for Harrow were. She reacted to the doctor with her usual composure, her face giving away nothing. But when their gazes met, there was an unmistakable connection, a sense of shared history. And worst of all, Kev recognized something in the doctor's expression… a haunting echo of his own fascination for Win.
Midway through the gruesomely pleasant dinner, Kev became aware that Amelia, who was seated at the end of the table, was unusually quiet. He looked at her closely, realizing her color was off and her cheeks were sweaty. Since he was seated at her immediate left, Kev leaned close and whispered, "What is it?"
Amelia gave him a distracted glance. " Ill," she whispered back, swallowing weakly. "I feel so… Oh, Merripen, do help me away from the table."
Without another word, Kev pushed his chair back and helped her up.
Cam, who was at the other end of the long table, looked at them sharply. "Amelia?"
"She's ill," Kev said.
Cam reached them in a flash, his face taut with anxiety. As he gathered Amelia in his arms and carried her, protesting, from the room, one would think she'd suffered a severe injury rather than a probable case of indigestion.
"Perhaps I might be of service," Dr. Harrow said with quiet concern, laying his napkin on the table as he made to follow them.
"Thank you," Win said, smiling at him gratefully. "I'm so glad you're here."
Kev barely restrained himself from gnashing his teeth in jealousy as Harrow left the room.
The rest of the meal was largely neglected, the family going to the main receiving room to wait for a report on Amelia. It took an unnervingly long time for anyone to appear.
"What could be the matter?" Beatrix asked plaintively. "Amelia's never ill."
"She'll be fine," Win soothed. "Dr. Harrow will take excellent care of her."
"Perhaps I should go to their room," Poppy said, "and ask how she is."
But before anyone could offer an opinion, Cam appeared in the doorway of the receiving room. He looked bemused, his hazel eyes vivid as he glanced at the assorted family members around him. He appeared to search for words. Then a dazzling smile appeared despite his obvious effort to moderate it. "No doubt the gadje have a more civilized way to put this," he said, "but Amelia is with child."
A chorus of happy exclamations greeted the revelation.
"What did Amelia say?" Leo asked.
Cam 's smile turned wry. "Something to the effect that this wouldn't be convenient."
Leo laughed quietly. "Children rarely are. But she'll adore having someone new to manage."
Kev watched Win from across the room. He was fascinated by the momentary wistfulness that hazed her expression. If he had ever doubted how much she wanted children of her own, it was clear to him then. As he stared at her, a flush of warmth rose in him, strengthening and thickening until he realized what it was. He was aroused, his body yearning to give her what she wanted. He longed to hold her, love her, fill her with his seed. The reaction was so barbaric and inappropriate that it mortified him.
Seeming to feel his gaze, Win glanced in his direction. She gave him an arrested stare, as if she could see down to all the raw heat inside him. And then she looked away from him in swift rejection.
Excusing himself from the receiving room, Cam went back to Amelia, who was sitting on the edge of the bed. Dr. Harrow had left the bedchamber to allow them privacy.
Cam closed the door and leaned back against it, letting his caressing gaze fall on the small, tense form of his wife. He knew little of these matters. In both Romany and gadjo cultures, pregnancy and childbirth were a strictly female domain. But he did know that his wife was uneasy in situations she had no control over. He also knew that women in her condition needed reassurance and tenderness. And he had an inexhaustible supply of both for her.