Shadows of the Past

Shadows of the Past by Margaret Blake

Book: Shadows of the Past by Margaret Blake Read Free Book Online
Authors: Margaret Blake
she was young but she was not that impressionable. She had quickly learned that many of those important people had feet of clay. But not the conte. No, never Conte Mazareeze. He was just perfect.
    If he had not been so stunning she knew she would have laughed off what he had said.
    It angered her because of the way he made her feel, not because of what he had said. She had heard worse many times before.
    A knock on the door disturbed her thoughts and to her ‘Come’, it opened to reveal Claudia and a younger girl. The younger girl carried a tray of food. Soft rolls, a pot of coffee.
    ‘Contessa, the conte asked me to bring you breakfast at this time. Are you ready, Contessa?’
    ‘Yes, thank you, Claudia.’
    Glad that she had slipped into her robe, she sat up in bed to accept the tray.
    ‘There is word from the conte too; he says he will meet you at noon, at the port. You will kindly take yourself there; the car is parked outside the door. You will need a small overnight bag. Shall I pack it for you?’
    ‘An overnight bag? I don’t suppose the conte said where we are going.’
    ‘No, Contessa, but to the mainland. I know because you are to meet the boat at the jetty. He sent word; I did not see the conte himself.’
    ‘Fine,’ and then to herself, she murmured, but why the overnight bag?
    It was intriguing. What should she pack? Red satin, perhaps? She smiled happily to herself.
    There was a lightness about her — she felt like running, dancing singing … Luca … Luca was in her heart, now she remembered how she felt about him, how he made her feel.
    Yet there had been times when … but what was it? Why was there a cloud now skimming across her heart … what had he done to her that made that shiver come?
    ‘Go away sadness,’ she murmured. ‘I need to be happy; when I am happy I remember things … ’
    She dressed in smart casuals, beautifully cut navy trousers and a dark mustard coloured cashmere sweater. There was a blazer on a hanger and she took that, slipping into it. Nautical but smart, she thought, before slipping into a pair of flat navy shoes. In the overnight bag she packed her nightdress, bag of toiletries and, on top, wrapped in tissue, a smart dress for evening wear. That and clean lingerie were really all she needed.
    I pack well, she thought, I am used to it. It came as a surprise that little statement and for a moment she sat on the bed and explored it. She had accompanied Tony to Europe on many occasions. Sometimes she had gone ahead. There were times when she packed for him too. His wife preferred to live in the country and Tony lived alone in London. Was that living alone in the city the thing that brought about the end of his career? Perhaps it was something even more damaging. Tony, she recalled, had made a lot of enemies. Yet he was not a bad man, just arrogant at times. However, he did very well by his constituents. That she knew. It was why she had put up with him.
    Sitting in the little Fiat, she hesitated. This would be her first time driving since she had arrived. Did she even know the way? Of course, down the drive, turn left, go through the village and right across the square, up the hill and down the other side, there, barely fifteen minutes away was the actual port. There was the harbour, with the shops and cafes circling the bay. They would be quiet this time of year but in the summer it was a hive of industry.
    Turning the ignition, she fired up the little car, pushed it into gear and set off smoothly down the drive. The huge gates were thrown back — unusual that, for they were usually closed. It would be Luca, he would have asked Guido to leave them open for her. Parking on the road, she went back and pulled the huge gates to.
    The launch was tied up by the quay and after sliding the Fiat into a parking space she walked eagerly across. Hoping it was not Antonio taking them, she felt relief when she saw that it was someone else. Someone she did not know. He was a man who

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