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Margaret Pargeter-The Wild Rowan

Margaret Pargeter-The Wild Rowan

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Published by: Tety Sulelino Matoneng on Jul 25, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/06/2013

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 CHAPTER ONE A 
NNA 
was so excited that at first Lucinda could makelittle of what she was trying to tell her. When eventually she didher heart sank, stone-like, to the bottomof the serviceable pair of shoes she happened to be wearing at the time, but, in the opposite direction, asmouldering anger rose to every last strand of herabundant red hair.'You're quite .sure of your facts, Anna?' she ex-claimed, trying quickly to control her too impulsivetemper. 'Rumours do tend to get exaggerated.'
 
'Well, this one isn't, you can take my word for it,' Anna replied with a glance of hurt dignity. 'Why should I be alarming you to this extent if it wasn'ttrue? Just after Christmas, only a week or two after we'd left, according to Jock the post, his lordship movedin with almost an army of workmen. Jock has itstraight from the Castle itself. They're all set to openalmost immediately!''Oh, no!' It was as near to a groan of desperation asLucinda had got since Anna and she had come herethree years ago. The many things which had frustratedher then, however, were nothing compared to the sizeof the catastrophe this latest piece of information mightrepresent. It could mean she had slaved all this time,trying to establish her hotel for nothing. They weretoo small, here at Lachlan House, to withstand thekind of competition Bruce Lamont would bring. If he had really turned the Castle into a hotel then woe betide Anna and herself! Everything they had strug-gled for, worked so hard to achieve, could come tonothing.On lop of this, all Anna's hard-earned savings, as well as the legacy left to Lucinda by a favourite aunt, would be lost. All because of the probably idle whimof a man who never obviously appeared in any urgentneed of extra money.
 
'I'm sorry, Anna.' Suddenly aware of Anna's grow-ing apprehension, Lucinda tried to speak calmly. 'It'sa shock, I admit, and while I don't doubt your wordI do find it hard to believe Lamont could do such athing. I never liked the man and perhaps it's unfor-tunate I never tried to conceal it, but I don't think forone minute, if he does mean to open the Castle as ahotel, that there could be anything personal behind hismotives. We've only met once or twice and it's appar-ently years since he's actually lived here.''He's been too busy amassing a fortune in foreignparts. At least we all know that,' Anna shook her grey-ing head sagely. 'What made him decide to return homepermanently is another matter. Maybe he just wants tospend the last of his days here, although, as Jock wassaying, he'll scarcely be forty.''Bruce Lamont isn't the sort of man to think abouthis last days,' Lucinda retorted bitterly. 'Each new one will merely be a challenge until he comes to the endof them. And then he'll be surprised!''Now I don't know,' Anna gazed at her young part-ner doubtfully. 'Anyway, dear, don't let him upset youtoo much until we learn a bit more. After all, he is just one man!''Against two women, you mean?' Lucinda's greeneyes darkened bleakly. 'You know he's the kind of man who could fight a dozen women and win, if only be-cause he has enough money to employ the most tellingmethods. In the Castle he has every weapon to deal with us that he could possibly require
and I don'tmean only those which decorate his impressive hall. What tourist coming here for a holiday would so muchas consider stopping at our humble door when he canhave such spectacular beauty, so much authentic at-mosphere just a mile or so away? To say nothing of Mr Lamont himself. However much one might deploresuch a man one could never deny he has the sort of presence strangers seem to look for in a Scottish laird!'

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