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Table Of Contents

But I he receptionist merely glanced at her own wrist watch
'I'll advise Senora Madralena's companion that you have
She straightened. What would she say if Senora Madralena
She pressed her hands together. There was still time. She
And then it was too late!
'Miss Fleming!'
Laura could only assume that the vivid colour of her own hair
'Companion to the senora. I am here to escort you to her suite
She has been resting after lunch. The siesta you know.' Her
Rosetta Burgos had any influence with Senora Madralena, Laura
As they went up in the lift to the Senora Madralena's
But no. That did not seem at all likely. Raphael was not the
Laura frowned. She was beginning to feel slightly out of her
Raphael's wife. Apparently the name was not as uncommon as
'Miss Laura Fleming?'
Laura nodded. 'That's right. And you are Senora Madralena?'
Madralena was prepared to delay the questioning for she said:
Carlos is old enough he will be sent away to attend an
'I see.' Laura nodded. 'And - and the position is in Spain?'
'Yes.' Senora Madralena studied the head of her cane. 'And
But what did it all mean to her anyway? She had come here
She was not seeking employment. Her work at the private
London. Why then did her thoughts persist in running in all
Madralena these days it was not the painful thing it used to be
Senora Madralena was studying her thoughtfully. 'Are you
Rosetta - open a window!'
Laura felt a pain in the pit of her stomach at the senora's
'So you see - there have been genuine applicants who I
She must put Raphael Madralena out of her thoughts once and
Senora Madralena's face became animated. 'This is so?' she
'Of course. It was Senor Enrico Valdes.'
She was getting more deeply involved as every moment passed
Laura hesitated. 'That - that's very kind of you. Thank you.'
She glanced down at her fingernails. 'The ² the interview is
Senor Valdes is good enough for me. Whether you decide to
'There ² there are agencies²' began Laura
That thought brought her up short. Surely even she would
Madralena presided over the teapot. There were wafer-thin
Senora Madralena's eyes widened. 'Of course. The freedom
Rosetta. 'How so, Rosetta? Would you prefer this kind of life?
Laura linked her hands tightly together. 'You mean a woman
Rosetta's heavy white lids shaded her eyes. 'But of course. A
'Hah!' Senora Madralena laughed hoarsely. 'You feel
Fleming - you have had time to consider us - to consider our
Laura smiled at this. 'You want to know now - at once?'
'I would prefer to know - yes.'
'Obviously Miss Fleming fears her freedom may be curtailed
But if her words had been an attempt to deter Laura from
She wanted to accept ² she wanted to go to Spain - but most of
I've got to go now. I said I would.'
Lindsay flopped on to her bed and stared at her friend
Madralena sees you he will probably order you straight back to
'You're twenty-four now, Laura. Not a silly teenager. It was
Maybe it was fate that brought that particular advertisement to
She compressed her lips. She wondered whether Raphael
But you've never ² oh, I can't explain what it is ² but you've
Lindsay shrugged. 'And you're in love with him still?' she
It was hot in the small inter-city aircraft that was
The elderly senora had returned to Spain herself ten days
Raphael was indeed interested enough to discover the name of
Lindsay had been sceptical of the whole business right to the
book to show her how stupidly she was behaving. Gordon
September in London was vastly different from September in
It was the man from the plane
Laura compressed her lips for a moment. 'I am grateful for
'No? You surely cannot be here to work! What possible
Laura gave him a quelling glance. 'You are be- ginning to
Spaniard treats a visitor to his country?'
She sighed again. If only someone would show up. Anyone! She
'Yes.' Laura nodded eagerly
Madralena. I am here to drive you to Costal. Is this all your
Laura stiffened. 'You know the Madralena family?'
Laura's eyes darkened impatiently. 'I do not think you need
Armes that gave her such a feeling of apprehension. He was
After passing through the Puerto del Leon they began the
Laura felt the magic of the place stealing over her. There
Madralena again receded slightly
Laura looked out of the car's windows with more interest
Laura glanced sharply at him. 'Is it?' she said. 'Have - have
She addressed Villand first as he busied himself extracting
Dona Luisa is resting, and Senorita Rosetta is out at the
Laura smiled. 'Thank you. Are you - Don Raphael's
'Oh, yes. Carlos!' Laura nodded. 'When may I see him?'
'Jaime was to have you here over one hour ago. But' - she spread
Doha Luisa expected you to arrive before Don Raphael.'
'Before²' Laura ran her tongue over lips that were suddenly
'Then - then²' A little of Laura's consternation must have
Laura sank down weakly on to the side of the bed. Her brain
Madralena reject her outright she would have little redress. But
Why did she have the strongest desire to escape suddenly?
CHAPTER TWO
Laura followed Lisa out of the kitchen and through swing
Raphael's features in some of them. There was something
Laura did not realize she was lingering until Lisa halted in
Laura into the room
Lisa's almost abrupt discharging of her duties caught Laura
Raphael Madralena was standing by the window at her
The desire for escape which had been growing within her ever
Laura wished he would say something. If she had felt the
Never in her wildest dreams had she imagined feeling so
Laura hesitated. She had no desire to sit down if he was
'Curious!' the word was snapped tautly. 'About me?'
Laura swallowed hard. 'Yes.'
'Why?'
She shivered. 'I don't know. I - I saw your aunt's
I attended the interview with Senora Madralena at the
Raphael uttered an impatient exclamation. 'But why should
Surely no one could have foreseen such an outcome of her
'Are you?' A strange look had entered his eyes. 'Did Luisa
'Of course not.' Laura shook her head
'No?' He flicked ash from his cheroot into a huge onyx
Laura stared at him painfully. There was derision in his
Laura's nails dug into the palms of her hands. 'May I go?' she
You have made it clear that I cannot stay here²'
Laura looked up at him. 'I have attempted to explain my
Raphael Madralena gave her a studied glance from between
Laura tried to shake off the feeling of unease that was
He gave a derisive smile. 'Very well. What do you imagine
Raphael Madralena switched on a lamp that stood on his
'Won't you sit down again? Or are you afraid of me?'
Raphael Madralena left the desk and walked restlessly across to
Then he turned and said: 'You are patient, Laura. Much more
He smote his fist into the palm of his hand suddenly. 'You
Dios! Don't look at me like that!' he exclaimed fiercely. 'Do you
Laura shrank back in her chair. 'I don't understand why you
Dona Luisa!'
Laura stared at him. 'What do you mean? No?'
Laura's eyes were enormous. 'Whatever do you mean?'
Laura's colour deepened again. 'I would have recognized
'So? What other alterations have you observed?' His tone
For my son.'
Laura's stomach churned nauseously. 'You can't be serious!'
'Oh, but I am. Indeed yes. I think you will do very well.'
Laura got to her feet again. 'But - but I no longer desire the
Laura recalled the contract. She had taken little heed of it at
Laura shook her head. 'But why are you doing this?' she
As Laura was recovering from the chilly indifference of his
Dona Luisa and the others.'
Not that she entertained any ideas about his feelings for her
Her heart contracted. Perhaps that was her trouble; she
Valdes'
From the first time they met theirs had been a swiftly
But he had deliberately delayed telling her of his engagement
But after a time she began to believe that he could not
The night before he left they had had a terrible row. She had
She wondered what acts of violence and courage had been
Maybe when this month was up she would have learned a bit
CHAPTER THREE
They reached a suite of rooms that all opened from one
Luisa Madralena and Maria, the housekeeper. She rose politely
After Elizabeth Latimer had questioned Laura interestedly
The small boy got obediently to his feet and came across to
'So you're Carlos! And how old are you?'
Laura drew her brows together. 'You might say that. But not
Elizabeth Latimer interrupted them. 'It was my suggestion
Laura bit her lip and straightened. 'Don't you think he's a
Elizabeth Latimer indicated a chair near her own. 'Won't you
'None at all?'
Elizabeth Latimer uttered an exclamation. 'You think I have
Elena been dead?'
'About three years now.' Elizabeth Latimer shrugged. 'No
Laura found her words intriguing. She was only human and
Elizabeth Latimer
Laura gasped. 'Then - then you must have been here when
'Was he like Carlos?' she asked
'In looks - yes. In temperament - not really. He was a much
'Which was when?'
'Oh - how terrible!' Laura shook her head. 'How - how did
Don Raphael react to it?'
Elizabeth Latimer nodded. 'I suppose I do. Have you met
'Yes -I gathered that.'
'Yes, I met her companion in London. Senorita Burgos.'
'That's right. Rosetta Burgos is Don Raphael's second
She stayed for a long while with Elizabeth. The woman was
Raphael's wife caused a faint feeling of pain then she must
Latimer had been unable to persuade Raphael that his son led an
A glance at her watch told her it was still very early so she
She doubted whether her outfit was suitable wear for a
Maria the day before. She let herself out of the door and stood
She walked slowly through long grass that brushed her
Raphael Madralena and her heart began to pound rather
'This morning?'
Laura was growing angry herself now. 'You're creating a
Buena suerte! Enjoy your walk!' And with a slight sweep of his
Laura was horrified and incredulous. He couldn't - he just
If Raphael heard her panting progress he did not check his
Laura summoned all her courage and glared at him. 'I wish
Raphael icily
'City dwellers should learn the difference between a cow and
Laura straightened her shoulders. 'You mean that animal was
Don Raphael shrugged his broad shoulders bleakly. 'Maybe
Raphael!'
What was more crazy was the realization that when he had
She wondered if Rosetta Burgos would be about today
Certainly she was one person Laura could do well without
When she was ready she descended the staircase to the
Laura hoped she understood English. Her Spanish was not
Laura considered this. Obviously the woman hadn't
This brought forth a stream of rapid Spanish issued with a
Laura felt relieved. 'Am I to eat in the nursery with Carlos?'
Maria frowned. 'I understood Don Raphael's instructions
Laura linked her fingers nervously. 'Well - I'm quite sure he
'Until I have other instructions you are to eat with the
'But - I would prefer to eat in the nursery - with - with Miss
Raphael.'
'Of course.'
Maria conducted her along the corridor to the main hall and
Luisa. Senora is too formal when we are to live in such close
Laura coloured. 'I - well - of course it was merely a salutory
Laura listened closely to their conversation. She felt that
Rosetta Burgos might entertain some feelings towards Raphael
But now Rosetta put down the dish of rolls and walking to
Doha Luisa
Madralena on the headland. There is only one other sizeable
Pedro Armes.'
Laura's colour deepened. How was she supposed to answer
Luisa continued:
'Oh! Oh, is he not?' Laura lifted her shoulders. 'Why is that?'
Rosetta Burgos lifted her eyebrows scornfully. 'Our reasons
'I am looking forward to hearing about your progress with
Carlos, Miss Fleming. I am sure your influence will be good for
'It has a real engine.'
'Yes. And I have a lot of toys. Upstairs - in the nursery.'
'Do you have any pets?'
'Pets?'
Laura compressed her lips. 'I suppose I do.'
'But that's not the same as having an animal of your own to
'Tell me about hobbies.'
Carlos nodded. 'I know what you mean. Libby collects wild
'Libby? Oh, you mean Miss Latimer.'
'Yes. I call her Libby. Do you like her?'
Fleming?'
Laura frowned. 'I think perhaps Miss Fleming is going to
Carlos wrinkled his nose. 'Er - what about Senorita Laura?'
Carlos frowned. 'I could call you Aunt Laura,' he said
Laura started to explain. The time passed swiftly and Laura
Miss Fleming.'
Spaniards treat their children so severely. What time does Carlos
Laura looked regretfully at Elizabeth Latimer. 'Do you
Laura compressed her lips. She wondered if this was another
'I suppose I should have left myself time to wash and
Cadiz that belonged to the Madralena family
Laura nodded and ate her consomme with relish. The
Laura frowned. She had the feeling Rosetta knew very well
Rosetta's lip curled. 'Is it necessary that one gets to know all
'In my experience a small child requires to know a little
Rosetta glanced at Doha Luisa who was listening intently to
Fleming's qualifications.'
Doha Luisa. You said so yourself.'
Doha Luisa waved a frail hand amiably. 'If Miss Fleming
Luisa went on: 'Or perhaps it is the fact that Carlos is Raphael's
CHAPTER FOUR
Elizabeth Latimer whether there was any way down to the rocks
Madralena house. It was access to the house that did not involve
Laura's eyes widened. 'It sounds exciting. Was there
'I imagine so. Although I believe the smuggling was mostly
'Of course.' Elizabeth was indulgent. 'I doubt whether many
Laura shivered. She knew exactly what Elizabeth meant
Laura looked at her. 'Do you think I'm wasting my time?'
'With Raphael?' Elizabeth shrugged. 'I don't know. It
I think after he came back from England and married Elena he
Laura felt something stir inside her. 'He must have loved
Laura began their exploration of the cliffs above the cove. If
Laura felt a thrill of excitement at the pictures this conjured up
Carlos and sighed
'What lesson are you teaching my son at the head of a
And certainly Carlos was in no danger.'
'You mean you did not intend to explore further?' His tone
'Indeed?' Don Raphael's dark eyes turned again in Laura's
Laura bit her lip. 'We - we - we were looking for the
Carlos to explore the seashore.'
'Explore! Explore! I grow tired of this word!' snapped Don
Don Raphael glanced in her direction. 'And if I dismiss you?'
Carlos looked up at her anxiously. 'Is it all right?' he asked
Don Raphael himself and that prospect was not an appealing
She descended the staircase at seven-fifteen. Lisa had
London was indecently short. Clasping her hands together she
To her consternation he left the bar and walked across to her
'Not to a great extent. My talents he in a more practical
Laura ran her tongue over her dry lips. 'Surely the estate
He moved slightly so that she could see his expression. 'And
His eyes narrowed. 'Our relationship can never be that of an
Laura glared at him angrily. 'My behaviour!' she exclaimed
'That is enough!' he snapped furiously
'I will not be silent. And I certainly don't intend that you
'Our earlier association!' she cried tautly. 'You've made it
I foolishly imagined!' She gave a twisted smile. 'That was
'You cannot begin to understand the complexities of that
And it was as well that she did so for at that moment Rosetta
'Is something wrong?' She glanced at her cousin. 'Raphael?
Have - er - you and Miss Fleming had a difference of opinion?'
Raphael strode across to the cocktail bar and poured himself
'She will not be joining us for dinner.'
'I see.' Raphael swallowed his drink. 'Then we need wait no
Don Raphael finished the excellent steak he had been toying
Laura compressed her lips. 'Perhaps you do not appreciate
Don Raphael wiped his mouth on a table napkin
Laura considered her reply carefully. 'I do not believe the
She didn't quite know what demon of mischief was urging
'I think perhaps you do not intend this conversation to be
Somewhere there must be a trace of the man she had once
Senorita Burgos does not share your point of view.'
Laura sighed. She had imagined Rosetta would jump at the
Don Raphael finished his wine impatiently. Placing the glass
Obviously the most important meal of the day was the evening
When the tortuous meal was over she rose abruptly to her
Sparring with Raphael Madralena might be exhilarating at the
Elizabeth shrugged. 'Lisa says that Don Raphael is to go to
Cadiz today. Perhaps you could make this expedition without
Laura smiled. 'Do you think so?'
'You mean he hasn't done up till now?'
Laura recalled the wistful way Carlos had recounted his visit
Carlos looked horrified when she suggested taking off his
Elizabeth with their exploits. Carlos's cheeks were flushed and
Elizabeth noted with approval
Laura drew on her cigarette before replying. 'I was working
Doha Luisa has told him about this morning.'
Laura. It may be something entirely different.'
'Enter!' and she did so with a fast-beating heart
Pedro Armes looked rather amused. 'And I am equally sure
Laura flushed and glanced at Raphael helplessly. 'Well ²
Pedro Armes turned fully towards her. 'Perhaps you do not
Don Raphael interrupted her
Pedro Armes looked at Raphael squarely. 'As usual you are
Laura frowned. There was an antagonism between these two
Nor did she care for the way the conversation was being carried
I should enjoy your company at some later date.'
'Very well.' Laura stiffened her shoulders. 'We'll leave it at
Raphael Madralena stared at her for a moment and then sank
Laura sank down on to the chair that Pedro Armes had
Her life here might not be easy; but there was a kind of stimu-
His eyes darkened. 'What do you mean?'
'I mean I want to stay. I ² I like working with Carlos. And I
'Indeed!' Raphael chewed his lower lip thoughtfully
Don Raphael lay back in his chair rather wearily. 'Your
'You do not wish to leave Madralena so abruptly when there are
Laura was lost now. 'What do you mean?'
'Of course. He would be immensely interested in your contract
You don't give a damn about anyone but yourself! Carlos! Your
'Then perhaps they should! And don't call me senorita again!
'Maybe you're responsible for that too!'
'You know what I mean!' She glared at him angrily. 'You
London writing letters home to her instead of spending your
'You vixen!'
Laura trembled. 'And - and my job?'
'It's still yours! Just go! Leave me alone!'
She was shaking so much she could hardly put one foot in front
She clenched her fists. The last few minutes in Raphael's study
CHAPTER FIVE
DURING the next few days she saw little of Raphael Madralena
During the days which she spent with Carlos he did not put in an
Not that he appeared to notice her presence at all. He ate his
Rosetta and then disappeared to his study immediately
Cadiz was quite a long drive from Madralena it was late at night
Carlos looked up at his father expectantly. 'Why are you
Don Raphael said:
'As I was out last evening and unable to spend my usual hour
Don Raphael took a deep breath. 'Is this so? Then, Miss
Elizabeth Latimer intervened before Laura could speak. 'Miss
'Indeed!' murmured Don Raphael again. 'It seems I am
'Well!' exclaimed Elizabeth after he had gone. 'It seems your
Laura quivered. 'You think so?'
Raphael's car was waiting. Laura had seen this car from time to
Carlos.'
Laura shrugged. 'Not entirely. Naturally there is a theoretical
'Indeed. Tell me what theoretical application you will place
Laura frowned. 'Carlos is seeing the working of the harbour
The days of sitting at a desk pumping blank knowledge into
Raphael heaved a sigh. 'Very well. My opinion is that I can
Laura looked fully at him. 'You could be responsible for so
Raphael lit a cheroot impatiently. 'You think to set the world
It was several days before Laura saw Raphael Madralena
Dinner each evening was the most arduous section of the
Doha Luisa showed a pleasing amount of interest in her
Laura had told her about her encounter with Raphael that
Raphael had?' Her cheeks coloured
Elizabeth bent her head on one side. 'Don Raphael has
Laura stared at her. 'In the arena?'
'Of course. Spanish men all hanker after the thrill and
Laura gave an exclamation. 'I didn't know.' She bent her
Laura swung round. 'Is there a bull-ring in Costal?'
Laura shivered again. 'How do you know Don Raphael
Laura sighed. 'I don't know. Do you think I should?'
'Perhaps it would be a - good idea.'
Elizabeth sighed. 'I mean that you are becoming too
Laura studied the older woman thoughtfully. 'You're very
'I mean that you knew Don Raphael long before you came to
Elizabeth shrugged. 'Don Raphael is an embittered man. I do
Laura shook her head impatiently. 'But what was it? What
Elizabeth bent her head. 'If I thought that telling you would
Laura turned away. 'I see.' She looked back. 'Tell me
Laura sighed. 'I see.' She looked down at the note in her hands. 'I
The arrangement was that Pedro Armes would collect her
Doha Luisa for permission. It was regrettable that Rosetta
She dressed with care in a short evening dress of blue
'Had I not achieved such affluence by artificial means I do
His studio occupied a room as large as the lounge at
He shook his head. 'No. There has never been a woman to
She heard footsteps mounting the stairs again at that
Madralena himself. Laura watched him drive away before
If she had expected Raphael Madralena to be waiting for her
Raphael is awaiting you in his study.'
Laura feigned surprise. 'He wants to see me now?' she
'Very well.' Laura compressed her lips and leaving Lisa to
She noticed the dark hairs on his wrist where it protruded from
Inquisition!'
'What I do in my own time is my own business!'
Raphael was obviously finding it difficult to hold his temper in
Laura trembled. 'Do what? Threaten your omnipotence?' she
Raphael? Making love to Elena? Did you ever think of me when
The events of the evening had aroused Laura to such a pitch
CHAPTER SIX
Then she donned her nylon pyjamas and drew back the covers
Turning out her light she slid beneath the covers. So that was
She felt slightly sick. Tonight had been the result of
As usual everything looked less dramatic in the morning
Villand drove them into the market square and left them to
Carlos was waiting for her at the edge of the crowd of
Raphael to Dr. Perez's surgery to tee for herself what injuries he
Fleming. I shall not be long.1
Laura felt de trop. She could tell from Raphael's expression
'No.' Raphael's voice was harsh. 'We will all return together
It was a mistake to come here!'
'Whose mistake?' she was stung to retort
'What do you mean?' His tone was ominous
Carlos was watching them curiously. 'What is the matter?' he
Raphael chewed his lip. 'Miss Fleming's feelings are no
Villand² We will go to the car while Miss Fleming completes
Laura lit a cigarette with unsteady fingers. 'What of it?' she
Raphael taken Carlos today?'
'Who else?'
'But - but -I didn't know that!'
Rosetta hopes to become the next Senora Madralena!'
Laura's cheeks paled. 'I - I thought that was what she was
I'll be leaving soon. The knowledge can't hurt anyone now.'
Elizabeth slowly laid aside her knitting. 'Perhaps you should
Elizabeth gave a mirthless chuckle. 'Perhaps you are more
Carmelita's grandmother is said to have cast a curse on the
Laura stared at her. 'You can't be serious!'
'Why not? You haven't heard it all yet. Wait before you
In plain terms it decreed that the male heir to Madralena would
Laura stared at her more intently. 'And they believe that?'
'How do you mean?'
Laura frowned. 'He killed her?'
'And so?'
'There you are then!'
'And his mother?' murmured Laura faintly. 'Raphael's
'His father was driving the car when she was killed. I thought
'There's still Elena!' murmured Elizabeth quietly
Laura swung round. 'Elena?'
'Of course. She also was the wife of the male heir.'
Laura clasped her hands tightly together. 'Did ² did
Raphael kill her?-
'But Raphael blames himself for her actions. They had a terrible
'Perhaps you had better go and wash your face before Don
Raphael and Carlos return. We do not want to disturb the child.'
Elizabeth spread her hands in the continental manner. 'As I
Raphael was not interested in her appearance. Not now he was
'Why?' Laura looked up at him. 'Why?'
Raphael reached for a cheroot from the box on his desk
Raphael lit his cheroot and drew on it hard. 'I had thought
'Could not Senorita Burgos take over the boy's education?
'Senorita Burgos!' he exclaimed. 'What is this talk of
Senorita Burgos?'
'Enough!' Raphael walked angrily round the desk to her side
Laura shook her head. She would not allow him to appeal to
'Don't you?' She stared at him shakily. 'What about the last
'Not much of a distraction to mean the difference between
'No?'
'No.' He ran a hand over his side lightly. Then his eyes
Laura's legs felt weak. 'What purpose would that serve?'
Laura spun round. 'But you needed it last week!' she
Laura shivered. The mask was back in place. With
CHAPTER SEVEN
Elizabeth eyed her curiously. 'Lisa tells me Don Raphael asked
Laura sighed. 'He wants me to stay on.'
Elizabeth stared at her. 'He does what!' she exclaimed
Elizabeth shook her head. 'Did he tell you why?'
'He said he was pleased with my work with Carlos. He said
'And what did you say?'
Laura answered her honestly
'What do you mean?'
'I see.' Elizabeth nodded. 'And Raphael returned to Spain
'Yes.'
Elizabeth gave her a compassionate smile. 'And when you
'More or less. Although I didn't believe I could still love
'Does Raphael love you?'
Laura uttered an exclamation. 'Of course not. He never did
'Are you sure of that?'
'Because he married Elena? He never loved her.'
'Perhaps he was afraid.' 'Of what? Me? Elena? His family?'
'You can't be serious!' Laura was incredulous
'You would be dead now.'
'But I love Raphael!' cried Laura
'And Elena did not?'
'That's right.'
'So you know that?'- Elizabeth frowned. 'Do you know
Laura flushed. 'Yes.'
'I understand from Doha Luisa that you are undecided as to
Laura's eyes widened incredulously. 'When I reach a
Rosetta studied her insolently. 'You think you know Raphael
Laura flushed. 'I beg your pardon?'
Laura could have laughed if the situation had not been so
Laura frowned. 'I don't quite see what any of it has to to with
Rosetta stiffened. 'Do you not? Has it evaded your notice
'No.' Laura was unresponsive
'Good. Then it should come as no surprise to you to learn
Laura managed to retain her composure by a great feat of
Rosetta compressed her lips. 'Haven't you anything else to
'What about?'
Rosetta allowed a faint smile to curve her lips. 'I am so glad
Laura managed a small smile also. 'Now - may I see Doha
Luisa?'
Rosetta shrugged her shoulders. 'Of course. She is hoping to
Rosetta's complete composure. She could tell her things about
'doesn't the curse on the Madralena family worry you at all?'
Laura stared uncomprehendingly at her. 'I don't understand.'
'But ² but surely Doha Luisa realizes that such information
Rosetta narrowed her eyes. 'Don't imagine those old stories
'Please! Let me see Doha Luisa.'
The old lady was more than disappointed when Laura told
Laura was glad Rosetta was not present. 'I'm afraid
Doha Luisa shook her head. 'It's Raphael, isn't it?'
Laura gasped. 'Am I so transparent?' she exclaimed
Doha Luisa shrugged her shoulders. 'No. But Raphael is.'
'Raphael?'
'Of course. He spends much time contemplating you at dinner
Laura flushed. 'You couldn't be more wrong.'
'Why do you say that?'
'Rosetta has told me that she and Raphael . . .' She halted
Doha Luisa frowned. 'Ah, so she is the cause of the trouble! I
Laura
Doha Luisa sighed. 'I am afraid this may be so. But Carlos does
'Is there no place for love?'
'Love is born!' gasped Laura. 'It's either there - between you ²
She hated most the thought of leaving Carlos. Whatever his
She rubbed her eyes with hasty fingers. It was no good
Laura drew on her cigarette and blew smoke-rings into the
What a scandal that would have made! Poor Doha Luisa would
The next morning she spoke to Doha Luisa about her
'Yes. Tickets are obtained beforehand. I imagine Rosetta will
Then came the problem of telling Carlos. She was
'Come on, I can talk to Rosetta later. What have you made?'
But neither Carlos nor Rosetta were to be diverted from their
Fleming is leaving! Hasn't she told you?'
Rosetta shrugged. 'He had to know. You could have told him!'
'Carlos! You will acquire another governess. I myself will
Carlos pushed Rosetta aside carelessly. 'I don't want to listen to
'Carlos!' Rosetta was horrified. 'You will apologize at once!'
'What's to explain?' Carlos's eyes were filling with tears. He
You shan't!'
'Carlos!'
Papa who made you do it!'
Rosetta spun Carlos round to face her. 'It is as well Senorita
'Leave me alone!' Carlos shrugged away. 'Why don't you
'Confidence! Confidence! Don't preach to me about
Laura felt almost ill with the thought of it all
Then she got uncertainly to her feet. Someone must find
Carlos before his father did. Someone must be there when
Raphael's anger threatened his son. And there was no one else
Carlos would not do such a thing! And yet Carlos had been there
Then she looked up. The steps stretched above her to
There was no time for tears. She must try to reach the top while
CHAPTER EIGHT
What was going on? Why was Raphael carrying her? Where
'He is safe. You will hear about that presently. Now I must
But this was not to be. She was clothed in a bathrobe and
And on the heels of this thought came another. What had
Maria frowned. 'Is that so? Perhaps Dr. Perez²'
Maria frowned. 'I will have to discuss this with Don
Laura felt her cheeks grow scarlet. 'I ² I have been an awful
Laura tried to remember. 'I remember going to look for
'The pequeho was hiding in a chest on the first floor
'You know about that?'
Laura stared at Maria in bewilderment. 'Senorita Burgos was
Laura hid a smile at this. It was exactly the sort of thing
Carlos would think. But she had to go on. There was so much
Maria clicked her tongue. 'You went down the steps - to the
Your knees were badly lacerated.'
Laura thought very hard. 'I vaguely remember an owl. ..' she
Maria shrugged. 'That may be true. But before you were
Laura looked at the old woman. There were many more
Laura had many visitors that morning. Doha Luisa came
Laura's eyes were wide. 'You know about the argument she
'But of course.' Doha Luisa smiled a trifle dryly. 'You seem
Laura coloured. 'I see.'
'My nephew can be quite devastatingly ruthless when the
Laura clasped her hands. 'I have been a nuisance!'
Doha Luisa shrugged. 'It appears to have cleared the air of
Laura felt a knife in her stomach. Did Doha Luisa mean that
Later in the day it was the turn of Elizabeth and Carlos
'Rosetta's gone! Papa has sent her away.'
Laura's eyes turned to Elizabeth's. 'Is that true?'
Elizabeth smiled a trifle mischievously. 'I'm afraid so.'
'But-but why?'
Elizabeth shrugged. 'I think she went a little too far in her
Elizabeth raised her hand
Rosetta has gone there is no one else. Libby can't do everything.'
'It's an impossible position!'
'Is it?'
Both Carlos and Elizabeth swung round at the sudden
Or is that an unethical question?'
'I see.' Laura studied his features. 'I would have taken the
'But I would not.' Raphael's fingers smoothed the material of
'When Lisa went this morning to pack your clothes in your
'On the day she died?' echoed Laura. 'You mean²'
'I mean that Elena was supposed to have committed suicide
Raphael stared at her. 'Then why did you not show it to me?'
'I ² I didn't think you cared. Not ² not in that way!
'And Carlos?'
'He adores you. But I am afraid he will have to acquire
Laura slid her arms round his neck again. 'And the bulls?' she
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Anne Mather - The Pleasure and the Pain

Anne Mather - The Pleasure and the Pain

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Published by: tina1450 on Aug 16, 2011
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