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House of the Shining Tide

House of the Shining Tide

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Published by romantic lady
Romance
Romance

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Published by: romantic lady on Jun 10, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/13/2013

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Essie Summers - House of the ShiningTide
CC You and your sister are two of a kind! "
 
Judith had always had trouble with her stepsister, so when Lorette got engaged to a youngfarmer Judith felt a great relief.But it soon appeared that Lorette's fiance's family wanted to prevent the marriage, andJudith responded to her stepsister's selfish demands for help one last time, to try to keepthe engagement together.She had formidable opposition from the autocratic Craig Argyll, who didn't like Judith atall. "Another woman with an eye to the main chance!" he said.
CHAPTER ONE
Judith awoke to the warmth of an Australian morning and, even at this early hour, to themurmur of Sydney traffic. She lay there blissfully, savouring the complete relaxation of half' slumber, then rubbed her eyes and turned over on her other side to see through her  bedroom door the bright sunlight streaming down through the skylight on to the canvasshe had been working on the day before.Even from this angle she could see it was good. Pure happiness washed over her. And sheneedn't put it away and hurry off to teaching. In fact, today she needn't even go on withany illustrations. She could please herself.There would be no Lorette to distract her, no extravagances making it imperative to havea regular wage coming in. She could branch out on her own, be a free-lance. Her illustrative work would bring in enough for her own simple needs, and that meant shewould be free to express herself on canvas. Free to roam Australia in her little car,seeking subjects dear to her heart. She would try to capture in a succession of pictures theAustralian scene, its varieties, its mood, that light washing over every scene that was soindividually Australian—something you didn't realize till you left your homeland andcame back.From now on Lorette would be her husband's responsibility. A feathering of uneasinessruffled the edges of Judith's mind. Poor Michael! What disillusionments lay ahead of him? She wondered. But he had been so overwhelmingly in love with her stepsister, alittle bemused, inclined to wonder at the good fortune that had given him Lorette. Judiththought he might very well in later life say to himself: "Whatever did I see in her?"She shook off the feeling of discomfort that was almost guilt. That sort of thing wasalways pulling. The eternal wonder… what could somebody see in someone else? Hadn'tBarrie said: "Love is not blind; it is an extra sense that shows us that which is mostworthy of regard." PerhapsMichael had found some kindred touch in Lorette. It was a comforting thought, but notconvincing. It was far more likely infatuation than love on Michael's part. He was blinded by her beauty, unaware of all that was mean and self-seeking and malicious in her.
 
Others had fallen for that ethereal beauty, wistful and dream-like, the red-gold hair, thelaughing sapphire eyes, the dainty ways of her, but in so short a while they had seenthrough her. Still, none of them had been as wealthy as Michael. Lorette was shrewd beneath that naive exterior; perhaps this time Lorette would think it worth while tocontinue to show her best side to Michael, to his mother and stepfather, overcome her  bone laziness, her selfishness.She had certainly marked Micheal down for her own. From the moment Michael hadshown them the colored slides of his home, had mentioned that their Argyll Hillshomestead had been chosen as one of the homes to rest Royalty on their last tour, Lorettehad been determined to become Mrs. Michael Argyll. He was the only son, another happy circumstance.Lorette and Michael had become engaged before he returned to his home in NewZealand. In less than a month his mother had sent for Lorette. It had been a graciousletter, warm and friendly. It had suggested that Lorette go to Argyll Hills in the SouthIsland and remain there till her wedding. Only one phrase had given Judith the leastuneasiness. It had said: "So we can get to know you better."Lorette had been there just over a month and must be happy, for there had been only one brief lettercard, written the day after her arrival, full of purring content.Judith had given her all the cash she could spare, since Lorette was a free spender andmustn't appear to be penniless. Knowing Lorette, she had given her half then and the promise of the other half in two months' time. Since the wedding was to be early in thenew year this should suffice, she had pointed out, and had added: "In any case, therewon't be any more, Lorette… I'm giving up my job teaching and concentrating on painting. So it's a fair warning"Lorette had flung her arms about her, all sunshine and sweetness (naturally, Judiththought, with half the money to come), and said, "Judith, my darling pet, I've been a soretrial to you, haven't I? But I can't help it; I was born that way, and Mummy spoiled me.But you've shed your responsibility now, darling. Michael's got plenty and to spare."Judith stopped musing. Time to be going on with her new, free life. She got out of bed,tall and slim in pyjamas, her long smooth hair caught back with a white ribbon, wanderedout into the studio, gazed critically at her canvas, picked up a towel, went into the shower room.Finally she emerged from her bedroom, trim, workman- like, lithe, with a buoyancy inher step that had been missing for a long time. She wore blue cotton slacks and a tailoredwhite blouse that would be covered with a paint-stained smock later, and there werewhite sandals on her bare brown feet. The smooth hair was brushed back and twisted intoa knot at the top of her head, as glossy as an acorn, the grey eyes clear, eager. Tomorrowwas hers.

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