Rufus paused with his hand
on the tent flap as a giggle sounded from inside. Not
the laundress again! What was her name?
He threw up the flap just
as a deep appreciative groan rumbled from the man sitting
on Rufus's stool in the center of the tent. "Donald!
This is my tent," Rufus muttered, striding inside
to dump his sword on his cot. He ignored the sight of
the woman's slender hand as she stroked downward across
Donald's naked belly.
The woman tossed back her
dark hair and giggled. "Milord, you sound like
a great bear."
Rufus shot her an irritated glance. She was always underfoot,
tending to his laundry, offering to bathe him. Was she
now attempting to make him jealous with this display?
Donald was welcome to her-but not his tent!
Perhaps encouraged by his
glare, the woman dared reach lower, smoothing the warm,
wet cloth over Donald's lower abdomen, approaching the
thatch of hair that framed his manhood.
An inch from success, Donald stayed her hand, wrapping
his fingers around her wrist. His sighed. "I asked
only for a bath."
She leaned over his shoulder,
her lips forming an attractive moue, while her glance
slid sideways to Rufus. "I'm yours to command,
sir," her true intent clear in the seductive smile
she cast Rufus.
The woman had stripped off her clothing save for her
coarse chemise-no doubt to keep them from getting wet.
She stood behind Donald, her ripe, wet breasts scraping
his back each time she reached over his shoulder.
Rufus should be amused at
her blatant invitation-and by Donald's chagrin.
His Captain-at-Arms gave him a lopsided smile. "I
stopped to speak with you."
"Oh?" Rufus lifted
one eyebrow and pulled his shirt over his head.
The laundress's eyes widened,
and her smile turned feline.
Donald cleared his throat.
"Gwen took pity upon my sad state and offered to
"Of course, she did.
And my tent happened to be available." He wondered
at his annoyance. The laundress's womanly scent and
lush figure weren't unappealing. Another time, he might
have grabbed a fistful of her long brown hair and brought
her to the floor for a quick tumble-might even have
offered to share her with Donald-she did seem willing.
But today he was restless
and irritated with her play. "I suggest you scrub
his back, mistress. He can take care of the rest. And
hurry it up-we have other matters to attend."
Issuing a resentful huff,
she dipped the cloth in the basin of warm water and
wrung it out.
Donald muttered and closed
his eyes, relaxing as she swept his back in quick, even
strokes. "What matters, milord?"
Donald actually remembered
who commanded whom? Rufus's felt tension knot his own
shoulders. "Lord Albermarle requests our presence."
He stepped out of the chausses he'd worn for his morning
exercise with the men, and tugged the knots from the
cloth covering his loins to strip it away.
The laundress's gaze drifted
to his cock.
Rufus turned his back.
"Is there a hurry?"
Donald leaned his head forward for the laundress to
wash his neck, seeming unconcerned with Rufus's growing
The man apparently didn't
realize how close he was to being throttled. A lifelong
bond of friendship wouldn't save him from being pounded
into the dirt.The thought cheered Rufus enormously.
"Albermarle has received word from his spies. He
wants us now."
lunged from his bench, startling the laundress.
She sputtered angrily as she
landed in a disheveled sprawl on the ground.
Donald scowled as he yanked
on his clothing. "We've cooled our heels in this
godforsaken place for a week, waiting for the man to
make up his mind to move, and he wants us now?"
Unabashed by his naked state,
Rufus sauntered to an open chest, grabbed braies, chausses,
a shirt and tunic and dressed himself. He pulled the
long woolen stockings up his calves, and then reached
for his boots.
Donald finished dressing in
his soiled clothing and leaned a shoulder against the
tent pole while he waited for Rufus to finish.
Seeing Donald's gaze drift
to the buxom beauty who sullenly pulled her gown over
her head and laced her bodice closed, Rufus smiled.
He'd interrupted Donald's little tryst. His friend had
his eye on the girl for some time, but she'd rebuffed
his invitations. Until today.
"Any word from Lord Percival?"
Donald asked, his gaze never straying from laundress's
Rufus good mood soured. "None, since word that
Sedgwick's entire garrison was laid low with a dose
of the scutters."
Lacing the last boot tightly,
Rufus glanced up to see the woman pull a face at Donald
and pout. There was much to admire in her appearance,
and those full pouting lips were especially pleasing.
He hoped Donald lost sleep over thoughts of those lips.
Rufus reached for a pouch
lying at the foot of his cot and withdrew two shiny
coins. Scooping up the pile of dirty clothing he'd removed,
he tossed it and the coins to the woman with hardly
a glance and strode out of the tent.