Bees in the Butterfly Garden

Bees in the Butterfly Garden by Maureen Lang Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Bees in the Butterfly Garden by Maureen Lang Read Free Book Online
Authors: Maureen Lang
Tags: FICTION / Christian / Romance, FICTION / Romance / Historical
like a miniature door—then peering out. After a while she withdrew a handkerchief from her sleeve, one Meg noticed was incongruously red.
    Meg heard voices from below. Male voices again, somber. She couldn’t hear well enough to tell what they said, but it made her pause just the same.
    “How well did you know my father?”
    Kate dabbed one eye, then left the window for the seat nearest Meg. There were circles around her golden-brown eyes, and though her matching golden-brown hair was swept up in a chignon, it looked as though she hadn’t taken much care in the styling of it.
    “We were to be married this week.”
    “Oh!” Meg’s fork slipped from her hand, falling with a clatter to the porcelain plate in her lap. The news effectively killed what little appetite she had left. Meg put the remainder aside, letting it sit on the table between them. She lifted the teacup instead, because having her hands suddenly free only reminded her of her awkwardness. “Then you must be far more saddened by his death than I. You must also know that my father and I hardly knew one another.”
    One of Kate’s arched brows rose. “I believe he knew you very well, Meggie. He loved you so much and was proud—”
    Meg replaced the teacup with a clank and stood, taking the place Kate had left vacant at the open window. From here she could almost make out the conversation rather than just a deep-pitched rumble from below.
    “If you think it’ll somehow make me feel better to hear such words, Miss . . . What did you say your name was? Miss Kate . . . ?”
    “Katherine Kane, but please just call me Kate.”
    Meg started to, but the friendly acknowledgment died before reaching her lips. “I barely knew my father, and I see no reason for you to pretend he knew anything about me.”
    “But it’s no pretense!” Kate stood, approaching Meg. “He knew everything about you, Meggie. Simply everything! How you excelled at your studies from spelling to botany—imagine that, botany! I didn’t even know what it was until your father told me. He also knew that you couldn’t be beaten at tennis, and that when Lady White-Somerset-Stewart visited Madame Marisse from England and was asked to name a Harvest Princess, she chose you . Awarded to the girl who best combined all the qualities of a lady.” She pressed the red handkerchief to her nose, eyes closing momentarily before gazing at Meg once again. “He even attended several of your chamber music concerts at the school.”
    To busy herself, Meg returned to her chair and took up the tea again. She didn’t want to believe Kate, but how could she not? Why would she lie, and how else could she know about some of those things?
    “He attended my concerts? But he never, ever came to see me—”
    “Did you or did you not find a yellow rose in your viola case after several performances?”
    “Left by Madame or one of the staff . . .” A secret admirer had been her most fervent wish. But her father? Impossible.
    Meg set aside the tea again. “If my father attended my concerts, why did he never want to see me? Or talk to me? Only one thing has ever been clear to me: he didn’t want me. He chose a surrogate son instead.”
    “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
    The statement came from behind them—and from a distinctly male voice. Ian Maguire moved around to stand directly in front of Meg’s chair.
    “Your father loved nothing more than he loved you. Everything he did, he did for you.”
    Meg raised half-veiled eyes to him. “And that’s why he lived here with you rather than me. Why he left me to be raised in a school.”
    “Not just any school!” Kate insisted. “Madame Marisse’s is one of the finest schools in New England. Anyone schooled there has achieved the pinnacle of society’s training.”
    Meg stared down at her hands, folded firmly—desperately—in her lap. If her fingers didn’t cling to each other, she was sure they’d be trembling.
    “Look at

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