The Legacy

The Legacy by Fayrene Preston Page A

Book: The Legacy by Fayrene Preston Read Free Book Online
Authors: Fayrene Preston
Tags: Fiction, General, Romance, Regency
water glass. All she had to do was concentrate on tomorrow when Nico would be gone. After he left, she’d be fine.
    Peering over the edge of the crystal rim, she studied him from beneath her lashes. He’d been quiet during dinner, speaking only to answer Ramona or to compliment her cooking.
    “I think I’ll drive down to Boston next week,” Ramona was saying. “There are a few things I should check on at home, and—”
    “Home?” Nico interrupted unexpectedly.
    “I live with Julia, Caitlin’s mother,” Ramona said. “She has a home in Boston, and, as a matter of fact, so does Caitlin.” She turned to Caitlin. “Ill run by your place too, honey.”
    “There’s no need. The security firm’s watching it for me. ”
    “I know, but it’s no bother, and I’ll feel better.” Caitlin smiled at her. “Thank you.”
    “You’re welcome. And now that I’ve met you, Nico, I think I’m also going to do a little shopping at DiFrenza’s. I’ve been in there a time or two with Julia, but I’ve never—’’
    “You mean Caitlin is going to be left all alone in this big house?” Nico asked, interrupting again, this time in a more strident tone.
    Both women looked at him, startled. “I’ve stayed here by myself before,” Caitlin said. “When I was in college, I’d sometimes drive up to get away from everything so that I could concentrate on studying. ” “And there is Ben Stephenson, you know," Ramona said. “He’s always around. ”
    “That’s not exactly reassuring,” Nico said grimly. Caitlin blinked, uncertain why Ben Stephenson would bother him. “Why not?”
    “The man has been around forever. I ran into him on one of my walks around the estate, and we talked. He’s very nice, but the fact is, he’s an elderly man, overdue for retirement. I don’t know how he’s managed to look after this place all alone for as many years as he has.”
    “He’s had help,” Caitlin said defensively. “We’ve always paid a special fee, so the county sheriffs department would keep an eye on things for us. On those occasions when vandals have threatened, we’ve hired off-duty sheriffs for security until the problem’s passed. The main thing Mr. Stephenson has done for us over the years is keep us alerted to trouble.”
    “That’s all well and good, but how can he alert anyone to trouble when he’s out in his cottage and you’re up here alone?”
    “I"ll be fine,” she said quietly. Heartbroken and lonely, she thought, but fine.
    “She really will be, Nico,” Ramona said. “Now I’d be afraid to stay here by myself. I’d never get a minute’s sleep. There are just too many empty rooms, strange shadows, and unexplained noises for my taste. But Caitlin is a child of SwanSea. She knows this house, and this house knows her.”
    “It’s not the house that bothers me,” he said, staring broodingly at Caitlin.
    “I wouldn’t leave her here alone if I wasn’t sure she’d be all right,” Ramona said in a tone that made it clear she felt she had brought the subject to an end. “Now, would you like some more wine?”
    He shook his head and pushed back from the table. “I think I’ll explore the library for a while and see if I can find a book to read.”
    “By candlelight?” Caitlin asked in surprise.
    “Sure. Why not?” Anything to try to get his mind off her and his leaving her in the morning.
    Ramona waved her hand toward the candelabra lined up on the sideboard. “Take a couple of those with you. ”
    “One will be fine. ” He cast a glance at Caitlin. Her head bent, she was studying the crystal goblet in front of her. What was she thinking about, he wondered bleakly. Had he made her hate him?
    He shifted slightly. A current of air waved outward from his body, and the candles flickered, sending ripples of white-gold light through the cinnamon strands of her hair. But Caitlin didn’t move.
    “Good night,” he said.

    Five
    Caitlin’s shadow was her only companion as she paced

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