Whispers of Heaven

Whispers of Heaven by Candice Proctor Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Whispers of Heaven by Candice Proctor Read Free Book Online
Authors: Candice Proctor
Tags: Fiction, General, Romance, Historical
    She was staring at him. And even though he knew it was insolent, even though he knew he could be flogged for it, he stared back.
    She might be only half dressed, with her hair hanging loose and windblown, but no one, seeing her now, would ever mistake her for anything but the expensive, well-bred Englishwoman she was. Although not as tall as her brother, she was still tall for a woman, her body slim but exquisitely molded, her legs long and lean and enticingly obvious beneath the limp folds of her skirt. Her features were not as perfectly molded as her brother's, her nose too inclined to tilt upward at the end, her upper lip too short, her lower lip too full. But her eyes were magnificent, a deep fiery blue. Their sparkle of lively intelligence and flashing pride didn't surprise him. But he hadn't expected the shadow of what looked like anxious vulnerability he thought he glimpsed when she turned her head at her brother's approach.
    "Is he all right?" Warrick Corbett limped up to them, one sleeve of his finely cut riding jacket hanging torn and dirty, his neck cloth dangling askew.
    "Aye," said Gallagher. "Although the tendon of that near front leg might bear watching."
    Corbett nodded briskly. "You, Charlie," he said, turning to the skinny stableboy of about eleven or twelve who stumbled to a halt beside him. "Go find Old Tom and tell him there's a horse I want him to take a look at. And you—" Corbett's gaze flicked, assessingly, over Gallagher. "Take this stallion to the stables, and wait there while I get cleaned up."
    His sister laid her hand on his arm. "Warrick—"
    He shook her off with a curt, "Don't you say a word," and limped toward the house.
    Miss Jesmond Corbett stayed where she was, the early morning sunlight falling clear and golden on smooth, fine skin as she watched him go, an anxious frown on her face. Then she drew in a deep breath, her nostrils flaring wide as she swung back to Lucas. "I'll admit you were right," she said, her features hardening, her voice coming so icy and crisp he decided he must have imagined that earlier, brief hint of vulnerability. "It was a mistake to mount this horse in the open." She punched one finger into the air between them, as if making a point with a child. "But don't you ever speak to me like that again."
    He felt the anger rise within him, hot enough to scald his veins and burn the base of his tight throat. Sometimes, he thought it might choke him, the anger he had to hold inside. But he could only stand there, hating her, hating the nation and system she was a part of, hating himself as he kept his jaw clenched against the kind of scathing retort the man he used to be would have made. The kind of response no sane convict would ever allow himself to make.
    She started to follow her brother, then paused. "How did you know?" she asked, her head tilting as she looked back at him.
    Somehow, he managed to keep everything he was feeling out of his voice. "How did I know what?"
    The wind blew her long, unbound hair across her face, so that she had to put up one hand and hold it back, the loose strands shimmering golden in the morning sunshine as she nodded toward the stallion. "How did you know his name is Finnegan's Luck?"
    Deliberately, Gallagher gave her a slow, easy smile. "I recognized him."
    Surprise caused that haughty demeanor of hers to slip a bit, so that she suddenly seemed more human, although no more likable. "You recognized him?"
    "Aye." He let his smile broaden. "The Gallaghers and the Finnegans are cousins. Of a sort."
    She stared at him, her gaze hard and intense and seething with quiet indignation. "So you knew he would buck and run. You knew it, yet you didn't think to suggest he should be mounted in a paddock?"
    Lucas ran his hand, slowly, down the stallion's glossy neck, and let his brogue turn as broad and thick as an Irish bog. "Sure but it wouldn't be keeping to my place, now would it, for me to be so forward?"
    "You don't strike me as the

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