Doing No Harm

Doing No Harm by Carla Kelly Read Free Book Online

Book: Doing No Harm by Carla Kelly Read Free Book Online
Authors: Carla Kelly
Tags: Fiction, Romance, Historical, Regency, Military
    She didn’t try to hide her smile, so he knew she must have used the same ploy on her parents, years ago. “Only if you promise to take care of him.”
    “I couldn’t leave him there. He’s as thin as the rest of them, and I don’t think Mr. Tavish will be inclined to charity, when he finds his family gone.”
    “Set him down, Mr. Bowden. I think he …”
    They watched as the nameless pup sniffed the air, probably breathing in wonderful fragrances from the kitchen, even though the luncheon hour had long passed. But no, another sniff, and he headed for the stairs, doing his purposeful best, even though he wobbled with hunger and ill-use.
    “He’s a loyal little brute,” Miss Grant said softly. “He’s starving, but he’s trying to find his boy. Pick him up, Mr. Bowden, and take him upstairs. I will find some kitchen scraps and follow you.”
    Douglas did as she said, marveling yet again at the kindness of women. He opened the door quietly to see Mrs. Tavish dozing, and Tommy squinting at the ceiling as though he ached even to open his eyes all the way. He glanced sideways, in too much pain to even turn his head.
    “Looks like I’m not a minute too soon, lad,” Douglas whispered. “I brought you a friend.”
    He set the pup down on Tommy’s bed, hoping the critter wouldn’t jostle the boy, but trusting in the kindness of dogs.
    His trust was not misplaced. After a sniff of the splints, the pup heaved a sigh that shook his skinny frame and curled up on Tommy’s good side, well within reach of the boy’s hand, which came down heavily and stayed there.
    “How is it they know?” Miss Grant said from the doorway, bowl in hand. She set it on the bed, close to the pup, who fell on the food almost as eagerly as the Tavishes had devoured their meal. “What’s his name, Tommy?”
    “Duke,” the boy said through clenched teeth. “After Wellington.”
    “That’s a lot of name for not much,” Douglas said as he washed his hands and dried them on a towel which Miss Grant, thoughtful woman, had brought upstairs with her. “You have the makings of an excellent pharmacist’s mate,” he told her.
    Miss Grant rolled her heterochromatic eyes at him. “I am no nurse! Your small talk truly leaves a great deal to be desired.”
    “It’s not likely to change,” he admitted. “I am thirty-seven and set in my ways.”
    She was a tease. “I would have thought you older, Mr. Bowden,” she told him, taking back the towel and draping it over the footboard to dry.
    Joking or not, she knew just what to do when he approached the bed with a glass of dark liquid in his hand. She put her hand behind Tommy’s head and raised him up so gently that he scarcely had time to groan. Down went the draught, and not a drop spilled.
    “That’s it for now,” he told Tommy, his hand on the boy’s forehead. “You’re going to sleep for a long while, and when you come up, I’ll put you under again. You need to sleep and heal.”
    Tommy nodded. A few minutes later, his eyes closed, and Douglas felt his own relief.
    “Will … will he die?”
    Douglas turned to see Mrs. Tavish watching them, her eyes troubled. He knew it was time for plain speaking.
    “He will die if he returns to the miasmic air and foul humours in your house,” Douglas said. He moved to take her by the arm and help her to her feet because she was struggling to rise. She shrank back in the chair, telling him worlds about her own treatment by the lump of sodden carrion probably still snoring on the High Street.
    “I shouldn’t stay here. Joe will miss me.”
    He stepped away from Mrs. Tavish and let Miss Grant help her to her feet.
    “Do you have a place you can stay until Mr. Tavish … feels better?” Miss Grant asked.
    “Aye. My neighbor Mary Cameron,” Tommy’s mother said. “She’s done it before.” Big sigh. “And probably will again, mind.” Her eyes turned wistful. “We were neighbors back home in the glen.”
    “Mrs. Tavish, you

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