Sea Gem

Sea Gem by Wallis Peel Read Free Book Online

Book: Sea Gem by Wallis Peel Read Free Book Online
Authors: Wallis Peel
thoughts reverted to Victor. Should she meet him again, was it prudent? If she did not turn up what was to stop him coming here? A chill went down her back as she sensed how Tante would
react to that.
    ‘I might go for another cycle ride this afternoon,’ Mary told Tante casually. After all, she did not have to go in his direction.
    Tante eyed her, not missing her high colouring and was puzzled. Was the girl embarrassed because of her soaked clothing? The drenching would teach her to be careful, so why the stiffness in her
attitude?
    ‘The tide will be ebbing so you shouldn’t get wet again but remember what you’ve been told about slippery rocks,’ she said quietly.
    Later, Mary told herself she was an utter fool. She was quiet during the excellent lunch Emily prepared because Tante’s eyes rested on her often. She was almost sure the old woman could
see through her and it took an effort not to wriggle on the dining-room chair. It was with considerable relief that she escaped outside where the sun glowed.
    There was still little warmth but Mary fancied the morning’s biting wind was less keen now and had dropped as the tide turned. She collected the cycle and slowly free-wheeled down the lane
to the coast road. At the bottom she halted and looked around. The handful of cottages appeared to be deserted and her heart thumped unevenly. She knew she should not turn left but could not help
herself.
    Pedalling slowly, not wanting to get there but afraid to stay away, Mary felt as if drawn by a magnetic force against her will. She knew she simply must talk to someone and she thought about Sam
again. He had not condemned her for eavesdropping but would he be charitable if he knew she had gone to meet another man?
    The slight breeze was at her back and the heavy, black cycle glided effortlessly along the deserted road. She halted at what she thought was the correct spot and stood uncertainly, her steady
hands holding the wide handlebars before she walked over the road and hunted for somewhere to leave the cycle. There was a dip with two bushes leaning together and she picked that spot.
    When she straightened again she saw him. A slow smile crossed her lips as she walked to where he slept. His long limbs were relaxed and she was able to study him in detail. His handsome face was
reposed and he breathed lightly with the sun on the back of his head. Mary asked herself why Duret never produced in her the tangled emotions Victor had done so quickly.
    He woke suddenly, as if aware he was under observation then, blinking a little, saw her and sat up abruptly, grinning his pleasure. He sprang to his feet and beamed at her.
    ‘I nodded off,’ he said unnecessarily. He went to grasp her hand then thought better of it. She stood, uncertain and nervous almost on tiptoes as if ready to flee like a terrified
doe. With prescience he understood. She could not deny coming to him but her conscience was in full spate.
    ‘Let’s walk a bit,’ he offered gently, nodding to one side. ‘The tide is well out now and we can go down to the sand along this track.’
    Mary simply nodded and let him lead. She watched the fluid movement of his powerful shoulders and the ripples from his lean waist and hips while his long legs strode strongly but without undue
haste. She followed him along a meandering animal trail, dotted here and there with tiny pats of dung. The grass was stiff and wiry, blunted from wind and salt as the track sloped downwards. There
were small rocks around among the sand which showed savage teeth at the sky and she quailed at any boat’s peril.
    ‘There are a number of tracks like this,’ he called over his shoulder. ‘They all head down to the sand and the views here can be lovely especially in the evening when the sun
sets.’
    Where the track widened Mary was able to walk at his side. ‘You seem to know an awful lot about this island?’ she probed.
    He threw her a wan smile. ‘I listened to my father’s

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