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Bride for a Captain - Kidd, Flora

Bride for a Captain - Kidd, Flora

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Published by temari92

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Published by: temari92 on Nov 11, 2011
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05/08/2013

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BRIDE FOR ACAPTAINFlora Kidd
She was trading one heartache for another Just when Iseult was getting over her broken affair with a Paris artist, she foundherself facing marriage to Nicholas Veryan. He didn't love her; the marriage would only be to secure a stepmother for his little son, Tim.On the one hand, Iseult couldn't bear to see the boy unhappy. On the other, couldshe bear the kind of marriage Nicholas had in mind--a real one?And why did Nicholas want to marry her, anyway, when he was so clearly
 
involved with Joanna Trethowyn?
CHAPTER ONE
TOWARDS the middle of the afternoon the drizzle of rain stopped. Slowly thegrey clouds which had shrouded everything since early morning began to break up and a pale yellow sun shone through them. Silvery ripples streaked the ultramarine blue of thedistant sea. Slits of cobalt blue sky appeared between the clouds and, in the river estuary,the mudbanks gleamed yellow ochre in the sunlight.It was the moment Iseult Severn had been waiting for; a moment to be seizedimmediately. Wearing a man's paint-spattered shirt open over a dark blue T-shirt, her long legs clothed in patched much-faded jeans, she moved with lazy grace through thekitchen of the stone cottage and out into the closed-in porch which commanded a goodview of the estuary. Through three days of rain she had waited to paint the view, tocapture on watercolour paper her impression of the meeting of the sky, sea and land, andall her painting equipment was already assembled on the porch. Standing over a board onwhich she had stretched the watercolour paper and which was propped up on an old cardtable, she picked up an ordinary inch-wide house-painting brush, dipped it into the jar of clear water and let blobs of water drip from the brush on to the upper half of the paper.When she had done that she picked up another smaller brush, dipped the tip of it intosome cobalt blue paint, which she had squeezed from a tube on to her palette, and verylightly touched the blue tip of the brush to the blobs of water. Immediately the colour raninto the water.She was just about to put a wash of ultramarine blue on the paper to define thehorizon when the sharp yelp of a dog, the screech of skidding tyres followed by thecrunching sound of something moving hitting something hard and immovable startled her and she dropped the brush full of wet paint on to the paper, where it made a splash of colour where she didn't want a splash of colour.As she jumped to her feet the painting board went flying one way and the water  jar and tubes of paint went flying the other when the card table tipped over. Tugging thealready open porch door open further, she leapt down the steps and ran along the path beside the house, pushing her way past dripping wet overgrown rhododendrons andazaleas. When she reached the driveway she pulled up short. As she had anticipated, a car had skidded on the wet surface of the road and had collided with one of the huge stonegateposts which stood at the entrance to the driveway. There was no sign of the dog.Iseult approached the car slowly, afraid of what she might find. Stopping beside thenearest door, which was on the passenger side, she took a deep breath, reached out andturned the handle. The door, being heavy because the car was big and had only two doorsone each side, swung open easily and she looked inside, noting that the windscreen hadsuffered when the car had hit the gatepost and was cracked in several places.A man was leaning over the steering wheel, clutching his head in his hands so thatall she could see of him was shaggy grey hair layered to the nape of his neck. He wasswearing softly and fluently. Iseult decided that the swearing was a good sign.'Are you all right?' she asked.He lowered his hands and turned his head quickly to look at her, and she felt
 
surprise flicker through her. The lean tanned face beneath the thatch of grey hair wasyounger than she had expected. He wasn't in his fifties or sixties as she had assumed fromthe colour of his hair but was about thirty-four or five.'Bloody dog!' he snarled. 'Brown and white spaniel. Is it yours?''No, at least...''Whose, then?' He rapped the words but. Anger glittered in his dark eyes andtautened his face.'I'm not going to tell you,' she retorted, offended by his arrogant manner.'Not until I'm sure of what you're going to do.''Is the dog all right?' asked a childish voice from the back of the car and, glancingover the back of the front passenger seat, Iseult looked right into a pair of round black eyes set in a thin triangular face under a mop of shiny black curls.'I don't know,' she replied. 'He's run away. Iexpect he's frightened. Did you gethurt, too?''I banged my nose on the seat in front.' The boy, who was about eight years old,rubbed the end of his nose and showed small white teeth with gaps between them whenhe smiled at her. 'But I don't mind,' he added. 'I'm glad we missed the dog.''The windscreen is cracked, the headlights are probably smashed and I expect thefender is bent. I've bruised a couple of ribs, I'm developing a black eye—and all you cansay is you're glad we missed the dog!' said the man with heavy irony.'You might not have been hurt if you'd had your seat belt fastened, 'Iseult saidtartly. There was something about him, an insolence which irritated her. He gave her adour underbrowed glance.'I may have to inform the police,' he retorted coldly.'Oh. Why? Surely you're not thinking of blaming the dog for what's happened?''You're damned right, I am blaming the dog,' he said grimly, touching his rightcheeckbone with the tips of his fingers. It had been cut and blood was oozing down hischeek in a dark red line.'But the dog isn't much more than a puppy and he can't help being high-spirited,'she said defensively.'Do you live in the gatehouse?' he interrupted her roughly, jerking his headtowards the cottage.'At the moment, yes, I do.' She found herself talking to his back because he hadturned away from her to open the door beside him. 'I think you're the rudest man I've ever met!' she blurted angrily.'Then you haven't met many, darlin',' he retorted, looking back at her over hisshoulder, a taunting grin flashing across his face and, stepping out on to the road, heslammed the door shut.'I'm Tim,' said the boy. 'What's your name?''Iseult.' She spoke curtly because she was still angry and out of the corners of her eyes she watched the man go round to the front of the car, which was wedged up againstthe gatepost, and bend down to look at the damage.'Is ... Is ... I can't say it,' said Tim flatly.'You can call me Isa,' she replied, smiling down at him. He was really veryappealing in a foreign way with his dark slanting eyes and curly black hair.'Most people do. Iseult is an old Cornish name. Hasn't anyone ever told you the

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