The Fire in the Flint

The Fire in the Flint by Candace Robb Read Free Book Online

Book: The Fire in the Flint by Candace Robb Read Free Book Online
Authors: Candace Robb
Tags: Fiction, General, Historical, Mystery & Detective, Crime
had said, ‘I shall be a good husband to you, Maggie.’
    ‘You are tired,’ she said now. ‘Sleep.’
    ‘I cannot until you tell me how to be a good husband to you.’
    Her mind was in turmoil and she did not trust what she might say. ‘Not now.’ She lay down with her back to him and tried to quiet her storm-tossed thoughts with Hail Marys.
    She’d managed only a few before Roger put his arm around her and leaned close to kiss her neck.
    Margaret tucked the covers up higher.
    ‘Maggie, we must talk.’
    ‘On the morrow.’
    He tugged at her, trying to turn her around to face him.
    ‘Let me be,’ she cried, resisting him even as she searched the chatter in her mind for an excuse that would buy her some peace. She must think how to cope with his return without either dissolving in tears or shouting at him. Rolling on to her back she said, ‘I’ve not slept well since Fergus sent troubling news.’
    ‘So you are not angry with me, just weary?’ Roger stroked her forehead.
    Oh, angry I am, Roger, but we must not yet speak of that . ‘He wrote of intruders searching our house and Da’s, and Ma’s room at Elcho as well.’
    ‘What?’ Roger lifted the cruisie that still burnedbeside the bed and brought it close to Margaret’s face. ‘In Perth?’
    She nodded, turning a little from the lamp, the light startling her.
    ‘What did they take? Was anyone injured?’
    ‘No one was injured. Not there. Fergus cannot tell what is missing, but it appeared to him, as in the undercroft here, that they were after documents.’
    ‘Here, too?’
    ‘You didn’t know? I thought that was why you’ve come, to see what they took. They searched the caskets you and Da left in Uncle’s keeping. And Old Will was murdered in the wynd that night.’
    Roger crossed himself. ‘How did he come to cross their paths?’
    She explained how drunk the old man had been when he left the tavern, and how he’d disappeared. ‘I think he found the door ajar and slipped in to sleep off the drink.’
    ‘And you believe the intruders killed him?’
    ‘Yes. So, you see, I’ve had much on my mind and I yearn for sleep.’
    ‘I am not surprised to hear of such searches,’ Roger said, apparently not yet willing to let her sleep. ‘The English respect no Scotsman’s property. Nor do English abbots.’
    Margaret had begun to turn away, but she sat up instead, putting a finger to Roger’s lips. ‘Donot condemn my brother until you know the truth.’
    ‘He raided all the kirks for the royal treasures, and now he’s confessor to the English garrison on Soutra Hill. What else can I think but that Andrew is cut from the same cloth as his abbot?’
    ‘You know nothing. He despises himself for obeying Abbot Adam. And as for his post to Soutra, it is a death sentence, his penance for defying Adam and going to Sir Walter Huntercombe at the castle asking for news of you. He did it for me.’
    ‘Is this true?’
    ‘Do you have cause to call me a liar? That is how I learned of Edwina’s death. Sir Walter believed the corpse found with hers was yours. But I’d seen you—’ A sob rose in Margaret’s throat, silencing her.
    Roger set down the cruisie and gathered her in his arms. ‘Oh, Maggie.’
    Too agitated to rest in his arms, Margaret pushed away. ‘You might explain yourself, why you lied about going to Dundee seeking a new port, why you abandoned me to help an Englishwoman.’
    ‘Let’s not talk of that now.’
    Margaret let out a mirthless laugh. ‘How brief-lived was your resolve to learn to be a good husband to me.’
    ‘I meant from this day forward, Maggie. I know full well I failed you in the past.’
    ‘I’m to have no explanation? Will you command me to forget? Oh, but of course, you’ve always thought me naught but a child. What was I thinking to ask why you lied to me, why you lay with another woman, a false wife who—’
    The slap shocked Margaret into silence. In that moment she hated Roger.
    ‘Don’t speak so of

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