The Gift

The Gift by Kim Dare Read Free Book Online

Book: The Gift by Kim Dare Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kim Dare
the cards?" An image popped into his head of the fire in the living room. It was all laid out ready for the match. The cards wouldn't last long on the blaze.
    Setting down the tree, Nicky waited for the order, ready to gather up the cards to their fate.
    "I'll defer to you regarding the traditions of the holiday, but I've always thought they were posted?"
    Nicky hesitated. "I'm sorry, master. I put your name on nearly all of them."
    "All apart from?"
    50
    The Gift
    by Kim Dare
    Nicky closed his eyes, wondering how much worse this conversation could get. "Those I sent to people you don't like."
    Charles was quiet for what felt like a very a long time.
    Nicky kept his gaze on the carpet.
    "Separate out those you did not sign my name to. I'll see those before they are sent. The rest may go as they are."
    "You don't mind—" Nicky trailed off. He didn't question his master's orders.
    "You have found someone, Nicky. You are right to let people know you belong to someone now."
    Nicky smiled. "Thank you, master."
    Charles ruffled his hair. On the way out of the room, he stopped. "Are all of the cards signed in one of those two ways?"
    Nicky shook his head. "There are variations."
    "How many?"
    Nicky rolled the cards he'd made out through his mind's eye. "Four, master."
    "Bring an example of each signature with you when you come into the living room."
    Charles closed the door behind him on the way out. Nicky breathed out. First putting the advent tree back on the side cabinet, he looked through the cards he hadn't written yet and made out an example of the four different ways he signed the cards.
    Putting each one neatly with its envelope so he didn't lose track of which went with which card, Nicky went to the living room.
    51
    The Gift
    by Kim Dare
    Charles had changed out of his suit into jeans and a blue shirt and put a match to the fire. Nicky went to the cushion at his feet.
    He still needed to steady his nerves before he went there without a specific invitation, especially when his master had no reason to be pleased with him. Charles stroked his hair.
    Somehow he always knew when Nicky found it difficult to remember what Charles told him. "You are always welcome at my side, Nicky," Charles told him again.
    Nicky nodded his understanding and offered his master the cards.
    Charles took them. He read through each one in turn. "And by what criteria are people sent each one?"
    Nicky craned his neck and pointed out each one. "If it goes to someone who understands our lifestyle, I sign you as my master. If it goes to anyone else, I sign your name first but make no mention of our specific relationship. If it goes to someone in my family, I sign myself as Nick without the y, because that's what they call me. If it goes to someone who I do not think you would wish to give a Merry Christmas to I just sign my own name."
    Charles smiled at him and stroked his hair. "These are fine, but I'll see the list of those I don't like."
    Nicky nodded.
    "Now," Charles clarified when Nicky didn't move. "Take these back and bring me the list."
    Nicky had already filled out the rest of those cards. He brought back the envelopes. Charles went through them, 52
    The Gift
    by Kim Dare
    asking for more information when he couldn't place who the person was from their name and address. He set one aside.
    "These are all acceptable," he handed the rest back to Nicky.
    Nicky glanced at the one Charles took out of the pile.
    Charles tapped the envelope on the arm of his chair, thinking about it very carefully. "Have you sent a card to this person before?"
    Nicky glanced at the address. He shook his head.
    "Tell me what you know about him?"
    "He was at the business dinner you took me to last month."
    "And?"
    "You were caught in traffic. I arrived before you." Nicky looked down. "I don't always do well in such settings when I don't know anyone. Mr Parker saw I was uncomfortable. He spent far longer than he should have talking to me rather than the other businessmen.

Similar Books

Woods (Aces MC Series Book 5)

Aimee-Louise Foster

Morgan's Passing

Anne Tyler

Be Good

Dakota Madison

NFL Draft 2014 Preview

Nolan Nawrocki

Ecstasy Bound

Ruth D. Kerce