Everyone turned their attention to the other man in the room whose back was now turned to them as he seemed to be studying one of the great portraits on the wall.
“Leigha,” Charles said as the man turned slowly to face them all, “this is Sir Stephen Montieth.”
Leigha drew her breath in sharply, her head spinning, when she saw the tall blonde man turn to face her. His cold blue eyes met hers and held them prisoner in their grasp as he walked over to the small group by the stairs and peered down into her ashen features, a smile curving his thin lips. The lack of a beard upon his face did nothing to disguise the fact from Leigha that he was Captain Simon Montieth.
“I am very pleased to meet you, Lady Leigha,” he said smoothly, his familiar voice sounding hollow and far away to her ringing ears. Ignoring her reaction to him, he continued in gracious tones as he extended his hand to touch hers lightly, “Congratulations are in order, I believe, on your upcoming marriage.”
The ringing in Leigha’s ears grew louder, her knees buckling at his touch, and she gave way to the cold blackness that enveloped her. Fainting, she fell forwards into Simon’s arms.
“Leigha!” Robert gasped in shock and came to her as Simon shifted her position in his arms and easily lifted her up against him.
“I’ve got her,” he said as he carried her over to a sofa where he then gently placed her unconscious form. Bending close to her unheeding ear, he whispered, “It seems that you are always escaping me in some way or another, my little one.”
Simon stood up and composed his features to show shock as the others rushed to his side. Robert sat down beside Leigha’s still form and began chaffing her hands. Puzzled and concerned, he turned his dark eyes to Simon and then looked to his father as the older man spoke.
“Sir Stephen Montieth? Hmmm, Montieth,” Lord Dagon scowled in thought as he figured out what must be wrong with Leigha. Looking at the lean muscular man, he asked, “Are you by any chance related to Captain Simon Montieth?”
“Why, yes, I am. Simon is my twin brother. He is currently serving in the army,” Simon answered, looking innocent and confused as he asked, “Why would you ask such a thing and what has this to do with this lovely lady’s collapse?”
“It explains her reaction completely I’m afraid,” Robert said, looking with even greater concern at Leigha’s pale face. “Please excuse me, gentlemen,” he said as he lifted her into his strong arms and started for the stairs, glancing back at his father, he said, “I’m going to take her to her room. Will you send for Kirstie?”