He waited for a response, and when he didn’t get one, he muttered, “We’re going to have to move this.” Oh dear God, he did want to move the bed.

But it was a huge, heavy piece of furniture, not something he could move on his own. After a minute or so of shoving and grunting and a good deal of cursing, he turned to Anne and snapped, “Help, for God’s sake.”

Her lips parted in disbelief. “My hands are tied,” she reminded him.

George cursed again, then strode over and yanked her to her feet. “You don’t need your hands. Just wedge yourself against it and push.” Anne could do nothing but stare.

“Like this,” he bit off, leaning his bottom against the side of the bed. He planted his feet on the threadbare rug, then used his body weight to shove against it. The big bed lurched forward, about an inch.

“You realy think I’m going to do that?”

“I think that I still have the knife.”

Anne roled her eyes and walked over. “I realy don’t think this will work,” she told him over her shoulder. “For one thing, my hands are in the way.” He looked down to where her hands were bound, still behind her back. “Oh, bloody hel,” he muttered. “Get over here.” She was over there, but Anne thought it best to hold that quip in.

“Don’t try anything,” he warned her, and with a tug, she felt him slice through her bindings, nicking the base of her thumb in the process.

“Ow!” she yelped, bringing her hand to her mouth.

“Oh, that hurts, does it?” George murmured, his eyes taking on a glaze of bloodlust.

“Not any longer,” she said quickly. “Shal we move the bed?”

He chuckled to himself and took up position. Then, just as Anne was preparing to pretend to be trying with all her might to push the bed against the door, George suddenly straightened.

“Should I cut you first?” he wondered aloud. “Or have a spot of fun?”

Anne glanced at the front of his breeches. She couldn’t help herself. Was he impotent? She didn’t see any evidence of an erection.

“Oh, so that’s what you want to do,” he crowed. He grabbed her hand and puled it to him, forcing her to feel him through the fabric. “Some things never change.” Anne tried not to gag as he rubbed her left hand roughly over his crotch. Even with his clothes on, it was making her sick, but it was far better than having her face cut open.

George began to groan with pleasure, and then, to Anne’s horror, she felt something begin to . . . happen.

“Oh, God,” George moaned. “Oh, that feels good. It’s been so long. So bloody long . . .” Anne held her breath as she watched him. His eyes were closed, and he looked almost trancelike. She looked down at his hand—the one holding the knife. Was it her imagination, or was he not holding it so tightly? If she grabbed it . . . Could she grab it?

Anne grit her teeth. She let her fingers wiggle a bit, and then, just as George let out a deeper, longer groan of pleasure, she made her move.

Chapter Twenty-two

“That’s it!” Frances shrieked. Her thin arm jutted forth wildly. “That’s the carriage. I’m sure of it.” Daniel twisted his body around to folow Frances’s direction. Sure enough, a small yet wel-made carriage was parked near the inn. It was standard black, with a gold decorative bar around the top. Daniel had never seen anything quite like it before, but he could see exactly why Frances had said it reminded her of a unicorn’s horn. If one chopped off the correct length of it and sharpened the end, it would make a marvelous addition to a costume.

“We will remain in the carriage,” Lady Winstead reaffirmed just as Daniel was turning to the ladies to issue instructions.

Daniel gave her a nod, and the three men hopped down. “You will guard this carriage with your lives,” he said to the outriders, and then he swiftly entered the inn.

Marcus was right behind him, and Hugh caught up by the time Daniel had finished questioning the innkeeper. Yes, he had seen a man with a scar. He’d had a room here for a week, but he didn’t use it every night. He’d come to the desk for his key just a quarter of an hour earlier, but there was no woman with him.

Daniel slapped a crown on the counter. “Which room is his?”

The innkeeper’s eyes widened. “Number four, your lordship.” He placed his hand on the crown and slid it along the counter to the edge until he could scoop it up.

He cleared his throat. “I might have a spare key.”

“Might you?”

“I might.”

Daniel produced another crown.

The innkeeper produced a key.

“Wait,” Hugh said. “Is there any other entrance into the room?”

“No. Just the window.”

“How high off the ground is it?”

The innkeeper’s brows rose. “Too high to sneak in unless you climb the oak tree.”

Hugh immediately turned to Daniel and Marcus.

“I’ll do it,” Marcus said, and he headed out the door.

“It will probably be unnecessary,” Hugh said as he folowed Daniel up the stairs, “but I prefer to be thorough.” Daniel was not going to argue with “thorough.” Especialy not from Hugh, who noticed everything. And forgot nothing.

When they saw the door to Room Four at the end of the hal, Daniel immediately barreled forward, but Hugh laid a restraining hand on his shoulder. “Listen first,” he advised.

“You’ve never been in love, have you?” Daniel replied, and before Hugh could respond, he turned the key in the lock and kicked the door open, sending a chair clattering into the room.

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