Yankee Wife

Yankee Wife by Linda Lael Miller

Book: Yankee Wife by Linda Lael Miller Read Free Book Online
Authors: Linda Lael Miller
read. Occasionally she heard voices tumbling down the hallway, male and female and tangled together, but there was no shouting. She was just beginning to hope Devon had heard Polly's story and understood when a nearby door slammed with an explosive crack.
    When Lydia peered into the hallway, unable to resist investigating, she saw the broad expanse of Devon's back as he stormed toward the main staircase. Just the set of his shoulders gave eloquent testimony that the soul of this quiet man brimmed with a rage he could barely contain.

6
    S OME INNER ALARM MADE B RIGHAM LOOK UP FROM THE paperwork spread over his desk when Devon came down the stairs and passed the study doorway. Even in the shadow-smudged light of the kerosene lamps, Brig could see that his brother's stiff composure was only a brittle shell covering some grievous injury of the spirit. He pushed back his chair and stepped into the entry hall.
    Devon. His only brother, his best friend, his partner. Although the two men never spoke of their affection for each other, Brigham would have suffered almost any sort of pain or privation if it meant sparing Devon.
    â€œWait,” Brigham said, reaching the front door just as Devon descended the steps.
    The other man stopped, his backbone stiff, his head tilted slightly backward, as if to look up at the stars. Devon's voice was raw when he spoke, and broken. “I can't talk now, Brig,” he said, without turning around. And then he strode off down the walk, disappearing into the noisy darkness of a summer night.
    It would be no favor to pursue Devon, so Brigham turned to go back into the house.
    Lydia stood in the doorway, a prim corduroy wrapper clutched around her enticing figure, her hair braided into a single thick plait resting against her right shoulder. The light behind her made an aura of flyaway strands, and her blue eyes were wide and worried.
    â€œAren't you going after him?”
    Brigham muttered an exclamation better suited to the lumber camps than his front porch, and thrust one hand through his hair. He had the distinct impression Lydia knew something about Devon's trouble that he didn't, and the idea irritated him.
    â€œNo,” he snapped, running his eyes over the length of her sumptuous person with deliberate insolence. “Are you?”
    Even in the thin light making its way through the front windows, he could see her color change. “Why, no—of course not. I was simply concerned.”
    â€œWhat's going on here?” Brigham demanded, without trying to couch the words in the slightest courtesy. “Devon is not a temperamental man, and I've never seen him the way he was just now.”
    She lifted her obstinate little chin. “I would be betraying a confidence if I answered that question. You'll have to ask your brother, or Polly.”
    Brigham felt wholly distracted in those moments, and wildly frustrated. All of a sudden his very being seemed to be pulled east from west, one part wanting to go after Devon, another to stay near this woman, always. Along with her fresh-faced good looks and saucy pragmatism, she presented a multitude of intangible mysteries Brig wanted desperately to solve.
    Feeling her soft, strong body buck beneath his in the fevered abandon of pleasure was only the beginning of the things he wanted from her. Beyond that primordial yearning were other needs, for solace, for challenge, for laughter and fury. He should have been thinking about his brother, and instead he was feeling things, things he'd never imagined, let alone experienced.
    The sudden awareness of the track his thoughts were following wrenched Brigham, slammed him hard against a wall of reason. He didn't know this woman. He didn't even particularly like this woman. His brother was wandering in the darkness, bleeding from some wound of the soul. And with all of that, here he stood, his brain full of images too lurid for a dime novel.
    Crickets and frogs sang in the darkness, and he

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