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Veronika didn’t look up when the library door opened. “It took you long enough to get back,” she said.

Really?” Simon asked.

She jumped up, her book sliding out of her hands to the floor. “I thought you were Evgenii.”

Simon raised both brows. “You were arranging a tryst in here?”

Veronika felt herself color and was glad the room was lit only by the hearth and a small oil lamp beside the chair. “No, of course not! I—” She stopped. If she told Simon that Evgenii had walked his betrothed home, would he misunderstand? Get angry? Or would he get angry that Ev had left the house at all?

Simon shut the door and walked toward her, his gaze never leaving her face. He stopped inches from her, near enough that she could feel his body heat. He smelled of cold weather, leather, and a hint of cherry tobacco. She had to will her mutinous body not to step closer.

I thought it was understood neither of you were to leave the house. Where did Borscov go?”

He escorted Elaine home. You were not here.” She lifted her chin defiantly to stare into his face. “We are well aware that we are your prisoners.”

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