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by Sandra Hill

Genre: England, Historical Romance

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John of Hawk's Lair was in his honey shed, working on his experiments, when Graeme the Stableman knocked.

"Is there a problem, Graeme? One of the horses?" he inquired.

Graeme twisted his cap in his hands. "Nay, the horses are fine. My manpart is not."

By the rood! What now?

His friend Hamr's ears perked up and, instead of leaving, he turned to listen to the conversation.

“I know ye pay me and me wife to slather that honey on my manpart so we kin stop breedin' babes, but--."

"You can go now, Hamr," John said.

"Are you daft? This promises to be the most fun I've had since I got here." Hamr sat on his stool once again.

He was about to tell Graeme to come back later, but he blathered on, "By the saints! I was tuppin' Mary in one of the horse stalls las' night, and I'm still pickin' straw off my ballocks and in my crack. Mary says she has straw up her woman channel, and it itches somethin' awful."

Way more detail than John wanted or needed.

Hamr had a hand over his mouth. Laughing, no doubt.

"We both got flies swarmin' around our private parts," Graeme was on a roll now. "What should we do, Lord Hawk?"

"You could take a bath," he suggested.

Graeme stared at him in horror. A bath a year was his routine, John guessed. Or twice a year, at best.

“I have an idea," Hamr said with a grin.

"Shut your teeth, fool," John advised. Then, to his stableman, "Do you want to quit the project, Graeme?" John had twelve couples of child-bearing years involved in his experiments to prevent conception. One less would not be fatal to the study.

"Nay!" Graeme replied. "We need the coin."

"My idea...does no one want to hear my idea?" Hamr was waving his hand to get their attention. "You could remove Mary's honey by licking her nether folds."

Graeme's expression bespoke his reluctance.

"And she could remove yours by sucking your cock."

Graeme's eyes lit up with delight. "Good idea!" he said. "I will tell Mary it is Lord Hawk's orders."

John's only response was a groan.

Without a by-your-leave, Princess Drifa walked up and gave him a greeting-hug. She smelled of barley flour and woman...and...oh, my God, honey.

Setting her back with hands on her upper arms, he asked, hesitantly, "Why do you smell like honey?"

"'Tis the oat cakes. I have a special recipe that calls for lots and lots of honey. Would you like to try one?" She carefully picked up one of the warm oat cakes with a piece of

cloth and offered it to him.

Ignoring her proffered treat, he inquired with as much calmness as he could muster, "Where did you get the honey, m'lady?"

"Uh...from the honey shed."

His eyes crossed with frustration. He breathed in and out, fisting his hands at his sides. Do not shake the witless woman. Do not kick the witless woman in her heart-shaped arse. Do not think about how she looks under those man-garments. "You used the wrong honey, m'lady. You have no idea how wrong."