The Perfect Bride

The Perfect Bride by Kerry Connor

Book: The Perfect Bride by Kerry Connor Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kerry Connor
time here.”
    “Especially since your rental car seems to have broken down,” Adam observed.
    It was the first time he’d spoken since they’d sat down for dinner. The sound of his voice sent an unexpected frisson of shock through her. His tone was mild, but the words sounded vaguely insinuating.As though he thought she’d done something to disable the car.
    She forced the sweetest smile she could manage. “Fortunately they already brought a replacement.”
    “So you could leave anytime you like,” he said slowly.
    “If I wanted to. I just don’t think I’ll see the need.”
    “And you never know when something else might happen to the new car.”
    “Why would it?” she challengedhim.
    His lips curved slowly, the smile looking more like a smirk. “I can’t imagine.”
    “What did the rental company say when they picked up the car?” Meredith interjected, shooting her brother a look.
    “They couldn’t immediately tell what was wrong with it, but they’re going to check it out.”
    “Good. Well, I’m glad they were able to take care of it so quickly. And that Adam camealong when he did so you weren’t stranded out there,” Meredith added after a beat.
    Jillian figured she was better off not commenting on that. Adam didn’t, either, lowering his gaze to his plate.
    Trying to put him out of her mind for the moment, Jillian turned her attention to the fourth person at the table. Grace sat to Meredith’s right, giving Jillian a prime view of the woman. Jillianhad been mildly curious about the fact that the housekeeper had eaten dinner with them the night before, when none of the rest of the staff had. Rosie had served the meal, with Ed helping her, as they did tonight. Ray and Zack were nowhere to be found, presumably handling their own dinner arrangements. That just left Grace.
    Last night she’d chimed in to the discussion, describing some ofthe features of the house as they talked about the wedding plans. Tonight, though, she seemed to have little to say. Of course, given the tension hanging over the meal, she might just think it was better to keep her mouth shut.
    The woman certainly didn’t act like a housekeeper. Sitting stiffly in her chair, her head held high, she had the regal bearing of a queen. Jillian almost thought shelooked as though she belonged at the head of the table.
    Given a few of the looks Jillian caught her slipping Adam, she wouldn’t have been surprised if Grace thought so, too.
    “So, Grace,” Jillian said as casually as possible. “I think Meredith said you’ve been here for almost thirty years?”
    The housekeeper nodded, meeting Jillian’s eyes with a small, polite smile. “Yes, that’s right.”
    “So you must have known Kathleen Sutton.”
    “Mrs. Sutton is the one who hired me. I came here when she did.”
    “Oh, really?” Jillian said as if she didn’t know. “Where are you from originally?”
    For the first time, Grace hesitated, the pause long enough to be noticeable. “Philadelphia,” she said.
    Jillian wondered about her reluctance. Was it that she simply didn’t want to shareanything personal, or was there something particular about that piece of information? “Is that where Mrs. Sutton was from, too?”
    “Yes.” Grace quickly turned her attention back to her plate.
    “I’d love to hear more about her and Jacob. His love for her is so inspiring. It would be great to find out more about them as a couple.”
    Jillian almost wondered if she imagined the way Graceseemed to tense, the reaction so slight it was nearly imperceptible. “They loved each other very much. They were very happy here.”
    “What was she like?”
    Grace appeared to consider the question. “She was very kind,” she finally said, her voice softening in a way Jillian had never heard before. “Quite beautiful as you could see from the portrait in the main hall. Generous. Well liked. Wellloved. And, I suppose...irreplaceable, really.”
    It was a strange choice of words,

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