Second Chance with the Millionaire

By: Penny Jordan



‘Horrid? Who?’

She turned away from what she was doing, her attention concentrated on the little girl.

‘Your cousin. The one who’s coming to live here.’

‘Good heavens, of course he isn’t horrid. Whatever gave you that idea?’ Heavens! The very last thing she wanted was for the children to take an anti towards Saul, and she had better nip that idea of Tara’s very firmly in the bud.

‘Oliver said he was,’ Tara told her determinedly, ‘and Neville told him.’

Mentally cursing her maternal cousin, Lucy said airily, ‘Oh I expect Neville was just joking. I promise you Saul is very nice.’

Behind her back she crossed her fingers. Tara’s scowl relaxed. ‘And he won’t take Harriet away from me?’

‘Of course not. Now go and tell Oliver to come down for supper.’





CHAPTER TWO


IT was another three very hectic days before they were able to actually move into the Dower House, and as she surveyed the now empty ballroom Lucy reflected that she was more tired than she had ever felt in her life.

Fanny had alternated between bouts of weeping, shutting herself away in her bedroom, and an almost frenzied desire to have her children beside her.

Both of them were unsettled by their mother’s half-hysterical behaviour, especially Tara, but, now that they had actually physically left the Manor, Lucy was hoping that Fanny would start to make a recovery.

An odd kind of melancholy engulfed her as she wandered through the familiar rooms, stopping every now and again to touch some familiar item of furniture. She loved the old house, but felt no possessive desire to live in it. She had grown up after all knowing that it was entailed and would never be hers. A small smile curled her mouth as she thought back over the years, remembering that Neville had been more upset than she was herself when her father had curtly explained to both of them what the entail involved.

That had been the year before Saul had spent the summer with them. Up until then Neville had always claimed that when they grew up he intended to marry her. Even as a child Neville had had a keen eye for the main chance, she thought, wryly amused that she could ever have been taken in by her cousin’s shallowness.

How long would it be before Saul arrived? A familiar sliver of tension spasmed through her stomach and she pushed it aside, annoyed with herself. What was there to feel apprehensive about? Her ownership of the Dower House was secure enough after all and, even if he wished to do so, Saul could not dislodge her. But why should he want to? The fact that they had not got on as children could hardly influence his attitude towards her now… could it?

It was disconcerting to realise how little she knew about him. Her aunt, his mother, had left home just after the war to marry her American. Much against their parents’ wishes, her mother had told her once when Lucy had pressed her for more information about her aunt who lived so far away.

About Saul’s father she knew very little, only that his mother had divorced him. It struck her uncomfortably that her father had been rather remiss in not making any attempt to get to know the nephew who would succeed him, but, knowing her father as she had done, Lucy recognised that he had probably hoped right up until the end that somehow he would be able to prevent the inevitable and pass the Manor on to Oliver.

In his own way her father had been as much of an ostrich as Fanny. Still, it was too late to regret her father’s omissions now. Even to her accustomed eyes, the house looked shabby. She hoped that Saul wasn’t expecting too much of his inheritance. She remembered he had not allowed himself to be overly impressed with it on his one visit, grimly ignoring all her heavily embellished boastings about secret stairways and haunted rooms.

As she walked past the giltwood mirror over the drawing-room fireplace she saw that her face was streaked with dust, her hair curling wildly about her face. Her hands and clothes were filthy, too. She needed a bath. There was nothing left for her to do here apart from locking up. Tomorrow she and Mrs Isaacs could set about cleaning the place properly.

As she slipped out into the courtyard at the back of the house she remembered that she had promised to feed Harriet, who was still in her stable. They had been too busy as yet to take her down to her new home in the paddock. Thank goodness it was summer and they would have time to build her a new stable in the paddock before winter came.

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