The bastard’s treachery kept Evan up most of the night. Of all the low down and despicable things to do, George had certainly done a number on Lily. Lying, cheating, stealing. And then having the barefaced cheek to approach her last night as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. It beggared belief.
Until some time before the sun came up, Evan remembered how jumpy George had been. His hands wringing that bar towel and his eyes constantly darting back towards his wife—and likely his unsuspecting wife too. Which might be all the leverage Evan needed to fix things. He might not be able to stop her hurting, but he could certainly have a good go at getting Lily’s money back.
He made sure he was dressed and loitering in the stables before the innkeeper served breakfast, knowing from his own experience of working in a similar establishment that it would be all hands on deck for all the staff during the morning rush until all the overnight guests left. It didn’t take long for the duplicitous George to make an appearance, allowing Evan to collar him all alone by the well as he fetched the water.
“I want a word with you.” Evan had never been much of a fighter, preferring to use his gift of the gab to settle disagreements than to have to resort to fisticuffs. But George didn’t know that Evan had purposely left his coat in the stables and rolled his sleeves to show the thick workman’s muscles he had built up over sixteen years of hard toil. “And I think we both know what I want a word about, don’t we?”
George couldn’t look him in the eye and covered it by filling one of the buckets. “Can’t that say I do, friend.”
“Firstly, I’m not your friend. I prefer my friends not to be the lying, cheating and thieving type. And secondly, does fifteen pounds, three shillings and sixpence ring any bells?” Evan examined his nails then stared at the scoundrel blandly. “I’m sure you only took her hard- earned money as a loan to start your new life here with your fancy woman and always intended to give it back.”
The fool blushed, considered denying it until his eyes flicked to the innkeeper who couldn’t have picked a better time to stride across the yard, then muttered. “I don’t have it! Not yet. But I’ll pay her back, I swear it.”
Evan made a great show of staring at the innkeeper then allowed his gaze to travel up the walls of the huge inn. “Borrow it from your father-in-law, then. He looks like he’s doing pretty well for himself.”
The fear was instantaneous and visceral, exactly as Evan expected it would be. “I can’t ask him!”
“Well, ain’t that a shame—I guess I’ll have to then?”
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