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Robyn Donald- Shadow of the Past

Robyn Donald- Shadow of the Past

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Published by rucraj

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Published by: rucraj on Sep 26, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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CHAPTER ONEGETTING three pre-school children, their convalescingmother and a vast mountain of baggage fromChristchurch to Kerikeri was, Morag Nelson decided,quite the most exhausting exercise she had ever mountedin her life as Karitane nurse. At least they didn't have tochange planes, and the baby had slept all of the way onher mother's lap, leaving Morag to cope with Jason andRichie, the three-year-old twins. They were a handful, but fortunately this was their first flight, so they weresomewhat in awe of the whole procedure, which madecoping with them a little easier.'Nearly there,' she promised now, as the glitteringexpanse of water which was the Bay of Islands appearedon their right. 'Look, boys—there's the sea.''The sea—the sea!' Richie crowed, while his brotheadded, 'See the sea, Morag. See the sea, Richie!'Morag nodded, awed by the beauty of it. A sudden filmof moisture blurred her vision. Surreptitiously she blinked, wondering why the sight of the bay should makeher homesick for the first time ever. After an absence of six years it seemed rather ironic, especially as she hadshaken the dust of this part of northern New Zealandfrom her feet with unmitigated joy, vowing never tocome back.Well, here she was, and heading furthermore straight intothe lion's den. A swift glance at Richie's absorbed face brought the sick feeling back into her stomach, thefeeling she had had ever since his mother had announcedthat she hated Christchurch without her husband and wasgoing back home to stay with her brother.
Who just happened to be Thorpe Cunningham. Who justhappened to have thrown Morag out of Wharuaroa sixlong years ago, ordering her never to darken his doorsagain in the approved manner. They were alike, he andhis nephew, but what in Richie was a bony unchildlikeface had suffered a sea-change in his uncle, turning himinto a startlingly handsome man, if you liked big menwith dark copper hair and hard, blue-green eyes. Foherself, Morag didn't, and it was not entirely due to hisreaction to the knowledge that his brother wasdetermined to marry her. The antagonism between themhad been instant and inexplicable, made worse by thefact that Graham had fallen in love with her seventeen-year-old self, but it had not been caused by thatknowledge.If she cared to she could summon up that last scenewithout closing her eyes. He had stopped his car on theside of the road, almost forcing her and her bicycle intothe ditch, then came out of it like a beast of prey, hisexpression so black that she had been terrified.Without preamble he had demanded, ‘Are you pregnant?'Her temper had fired to meet his. 'No, I am
Andyou've got a nerve—''Shut up. I thought as much. Girls like you don't get pregnant, do they? Well, how much do you want?'And when she had gaped he had repeated harshly, 'Don'ttry to look innocent, Morag. How much will it cost me toget rid of you?''I don't want your money,' she flashed indignantly.'You don't want Graham, either. Oh, I've watched you.He wants you, all right, but you're distinctly lukewarm.'Which was true enough. She wasn't in love with Graham, but she didn't know how to break things off without
hurting him—and anyway, she thought marriage to himcouldn't be any worse than her present life. She hated being wardmaid in the little cottage hospital—or perhapsshe was jealous because her own dream, to take care of children, was impossible. To become a Karitane nurseyou needed money to keep yourself over the first twentymonths, and there was no way that her aunt and unclewould fork out for that. So marriage to Graham and her own children to care for seemed some sort of alternative.'Well?'Afterwards she never knew how she had managed to bidthe nerve to say coolly, 'Actually, I wouldn't mind somemoney.''I thought so,' he said, a note of satisfaction runningthrough his voice. 'How much?'Arrogant beast, Morag said to herself as aloud she namedan impossible sum.His dark brows drew together, but without sayinganything he reached into his hip pocket and drew out acheque book. On the long bonnet of his car he wrote thecheque, ripped it out and handed it to her, his contemptclearly evinced by the twist of those hard lips.Almost she had torn the cheque up in front of him, butshe had been humiliated this far, she would not back down now. 'Thank you,' she said coolly, hoping that hewould attribute the shakiness of her voice to triumph.'Not so fast.' This time he used the back of an envelope toscribble on. 'Sign this.' Nausea clogged her throat, but she read on doggedly. 'I,Morag Nelson, promise that in return for the sum of money I received from Thorpe Cunningham I will leaveWharuaroa for Auckland or further south and will notattempt to contact Graham Cunningham in any way ever 

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