Savage Legacy - S.R. Jones

Chapter One


“Come in,” I command at the soft knock on the door.

It opens, and Sylvia steps into the room, her face drawn.

“Well?” I snap. “Did she eat?”

“No, Master,” she says.

Her voice is shaking, and I know why. Sylvia thought I was a nice man. A good man. Now, along with Amelia, Sylvia knows I am anything but.

Her father is sick, and I’m paying for him to have private medical care over and above what he’d get in the local hospital. It means Sylvia is the perfect person to cater to Amelia, since she has every reason not to talk.

It also means Sylvia no longer sees me as a kindly beneficent princeling, giving all to his grateful courtiers. No, she probably sees me as the exact same devil Amelia insists I am.

I sigh and rub my jaw. It’s been two days now, and Amelia hasn’t touched her food. I haven’t talked with her yet because the only time I went into her room, she flew at me like a wild cat.

I had to leave. Not because she hurt me or scared me, but because she turned me the fuck on, and going at it like an animal with her isn’t the best course of action right now.

“You may leave,” I tell Sylvia.

She turns to the door, then hesitates.

“You want to say something?” Why not? I mean, Marcello has already given me at least five pieces of his mind. Why not the damn maid? “Speak freely,” I tell her. “I mean it. Say what you want.”

“It’s wrong, Signor. She’s going to get sick. She looks dreadful. Maybe a doctor? She needs some air. The sun.”

“Sylvia,” I say, then try to temper my tone to stop the impatience bleeding through. “Amelia is in grave danger. There’s a reason I’m not simply letting her go.”

She looks skeptical, as well she might. I’m lying to myself as much as I am her. Oh, Amelia is in danger here, but if I sent her straight home to Maine on my private jet, she’d most likely be safe. I’m not going to do that, though. Because I want her here. With me. After all, I’ll protect my perfect beauty from any threat, but the greatest threat is me.

She’s mine.

I watched her. I was the only one who saw her real beauty. When she was ready, I was the one who sent for her. I plucked her when she was ripe and claimed her. I didn’t do that for someone else to enjoy her now.

I collected her, like the rare jewel she is, and I’m not letting her go.

“All you need to know, Sylvia, is that Amelia is in danger, the same way those girls were in danger.” Her eyes widen. “She’s being kept here for her own safety, until she can leave and not be at risk. Unfortunately, she’s stubborn and headstrong, and she’s not taking to it kindly.”

“Would you?” Sylvia asks me, taken by surprise. “Sorry, but would you? Take kindly to being locked in a room, even if it were for your own good?”

She has a point. Maybe Amelia needs some sun. “Okay, Sylvia. I will go and see her.”

I stand and walk to the door. Sylvia moves aside for me. I pause and tip her chin up. She’s a very pretty girl, and I’d bet she has a lover here in the village, or one of the coastal towns. “Remember, not a word of this to anyone. No matter who they are or how trustworthy you think they are, do not tell a soul.” Then I layer it on. “If you do, you might very well get Amelia killed.”

Her face pales, but she nods. “Good girl.” I pat her cheek and leave her standing in the den I’ve just vacated.

Stalking down the corridor, I try to shake off my bad mood. Amelia’s bags and possessions were moved to her new room, on the wing currently being renovated. No one will venture down there. It’s safe from a structural point of view as the room she’s in is already finished, as is that section of corridor, but some of the rooms down there are deathtraps. None of the staff will wander those corridors. My men are guarding the entrance to her room anyway. Two men, in shifts of eight hours, day and night. They’re armed because it’s not a lie that Amelia is in danger. It’s a lie that her being in danger is the only reason I’m keeping her here.

Footsteps fall in beside me, and