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Alison Fraser Princess

Alison Fraser Princess

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Published by Jahaine Reid

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Published by: Jahaine Reid on Aug 29, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 When Adam Carmichael had first met her, Serena Templeton had been a lost, tragiclittle figure, a princess locked up in an ivory tower from which there seemed noescape. But she was a responsibility that had virtually been left to him, so he did whathe could and left the rest to fate. And fate saw to it that by the next time they met,several years later, Serena was a changed girl — no longer tragic but completelynormal — and very attractive. She no longer needed a prince to rescue her — andeven if she had, there was no possibility that Adam was the right prince! 
15-16 BROOK’S MEWS LONDON WIA IDR  Original hardcover edition published 1984
Australian copyright 1984Philippine copyright 1984© Alison Fraser 1984 
Table of Contents
THE sun should be brighter, she thought. And it shouldn’t rain so much,should it? It was never this cold when her father was there—or this quiet, either.Maybe he would come back soon, maybe they would walk through their favouritevineyard and work up an appetite for sharing a king-sized pizza. Maybe...But why was it so hard to remember? Why was it so cold? Bleak, was Adam’s verdict. Real Bronte country, down to the wind threateningstorm that had carried away the bare eulogy at the graveside earlier that afternoon.Climbing out of the passenger seat of an elderly Rover, he turned up his collar againstit and let his eyes range dispassionately over his late aunt’s home, Simmonds Hall.Mr Alexander, the solicitor, came to stand at his side and observe. ‘Quite animpressive house, Mr Carmichael.’‘Really.’ It was a noncommittal sound. The house was large, certainly, over adozen narrow casement windows running the length of the upper storey, but the localstone was badly weathered, its ivy covering grown rampant rather than picturesque.Adam hoped he had misconstrued his required presence at the will reading.The house’s windswept isolation held no appeal and its size and neglected statestamped it a white, or perhaps more appropriately, grey elephant. With a touch of irreverence he prayed that his widowed, childless aunt had been fond of cats or 
 juvenile delinquents or some other worthy cause that might have worked in hisdisfavour.More familiar with their surroundings, the old solicitor led the way through thedarkened hallway to the library, bare of furniture save for a long oak table flanked byseveral high-backed chairs. The air in the room was stale and oppressive, the heavycurtains closed to mark a death in the family.‘Do you mind?’ Adam asked perfunctorily, then presumed on his position asone half of the dead woman’s surviving family to draw back the curtains. The coldgrey daylight made the room stark but tolerable. He turned back to Mr Alexander.‘Will this take long?’The older man looked up from the papers he was sorting with a faintlysurprised expression. Curbing some of the impatience in his tone, Adam went on toexplain, ‘I had hoped to be back in London by early evening ‘At this the solicitor’s surprise hardened to shock— presumably for hisunseemly hurry to dispense with the rituals of death, Adam mused.‘Why, Mr Carmichael... I had assumed that you would be staying... at leastovernight,’ Mr Alexander muttered agitatedly. ‘Although I did not draw up her lastwill, my late client expressed a wish that you, her nephew, should take care of her...um... affairs.’It was a repetition of what his mother had said when pressing Adam intorepresenting her at the funeral. At the time he had considered it merely an excuse for her delegation of the duty.‘Do you really think it necessary?’ Adam pursued with heavy reluctance tostay even one night in Yorkshire.Mr Alexander’s eyes almost boggled behind his round gold-rimmed spectacles.In his worst imaginings of Adam Carmichael, based on a jaundiced view of  bestselling writers, he had not anticipated this.‘Of course, Mr Carmichael, it’s your decision entirely. In the circumstances,however, to settle so delicate a matter by postal communication alone, would be— well...’ the solicitor, visibly flurried, trailed off.Unable to see anything particularly delicate about winding up his aunt’s estate,nevertheless Adam gave in with a measure of good grace. He had no desire to enter alengthy legal correspondence.‘I understand. Is there a telephone I could use?’ he asked. ‘I must cancel asocial engagement.’‘Certainly,’ the solicitor breathed on a note of relief, and indicating a door inthe far corner of the room, added, ‘You will find the adjoining room quite private.’It was a sitting room, the furniture cumbersome and lacking in style, the decor chillingly drab. From what Adam had seen so far, his aunt, or perhaps her firsthusband—that last Simmonds of Simmonds Hall—had had very austere taste.He sat for a moment, thinking about the dead woman. He had met AndreaTempleton once briefly, and recalled atall, striking woman with titian hair and a brittle laugh. He had neither liked nor disliked her; indeed he knew precious littleabout her, for his mother had been more vague than usual on the subject of her half-sister. Concluding that he had been chosen to take care of her affairs by default as her only male relative, he gave up his concentration to the telephone.Even at this relatively late hour, Julia sounded sleepy and languid when sheanswered, but immediately dropped all casualness when he identified himself. He cutinto her enthusiastic outpourings to explain why he was ringing, listened impassively

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