Betrayed by the woman he was to marry, Kendrick de Piaget was killed and his castle was stolen. Adding insult to injury, Kendrick was left with a curse that he will not know eternal peace until he can rightfully regain ownership of Seakirk Castle. It is now years later and Genevieve Buchanan is the last heir to the castle and the only thing standing between Kendrick and his beloved relatives who wait for him in eternity. Naturally, Kendrick is impatient to finally be free of the curse and sets out to remove Genevieve from the equation.
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It hardly matters, as your illustrious father is not here to save you. Richard shrugged. The possibilities are numerous. I want to be looking at her when your arrow finds my heart. She is eager to be here. Kendrick continued to look at Richard, unable to believe the events of the past few hours. Was it merely yestereve that he had gazed upon Matilda, bewitched by her beauty, only to watch her expression turn to one of hatred and satisfaction once Richard of York had entered the great hall with his guards?
Even though Kendrick had killed many of his attackers, he and his few companions had been hopelessly outnumbered. Now he stood, chained to the wall, awaiting certain death. Why had he been so blind? Surely her treacherous manner should have been plain to him: the coy way she batted her lashes, the sly way she had of twisting words and avoiding plain speech. And that smile. A shudder went through him. Her smile chilled him more fully than the stone at his back.
He shook his head, cursing himself again. Aye, he had been a fool indeed and perhaps deserved what was coming. He swung his gaze back to Richard. He looked his murderer full in the face and waited, daring him to release the arrow. Richard did. Genevieve set her suitcase on the curb, propped her portfolio against her leg and sighed in pleasure at the sight of her office.
The sign had been painted to perfection, the flowers behind the windows were blooming obediently and the door was ajar, beckoning clients to enter. Yes, it looked like the kind of place a homeowner would come to with pictures of his dilapidated house, hopeful some kind of magic could be done to restore it to its former glory. And without exception, every such homeowner left satisfied. Genevieve knew her business and she had hired others who knew it just as well. Her clients were never disappointed.
Genevieve lugged her baggage inside the front door, then laughed at the sight that greeted her. She set her things down and went into her office.
Flowers covered her desk, balloons hung in great bunches against the ceiling. A plate of cake was put into one hand and a cup of punch in the other as she was herded to her chair.
Questions came at her from all sides. How good it was to be back among friends. On her right was Kate, who had been with her the longest and was mainly concerned about what kinds of celebrities hung out in old houses. Then there was Peter, carpenter extraordinaire, who was interested strictly in the details of each job.
Angela, who held down the fort, was twenty going on ten when it came to presents. Genevieve smiled. They loved the plans, and, Angela, your present is in my suitcase. Angela, go get that phone. Chocolate makes you sick.
Life was too good to be true. After eight years of hard work, her business was booming. What more could she want? She looked around her office and sighed. Actually, a knight in shining armor might have been handy. Maybe he could have saved her from the mess surrounding her. She closed her eyes in self-defense. Despite its charm, Dreams Restored was a tiny place scrunched between other tiny shops in one of the quainter areas of San Francisco.
Tiny was fine when it came to how much square footage she paid rent on, but it was a problem when it came to storing all her supplies. Her desk was piled with fabric swatches, paint sample cards and photocopies of her tax forms from The floor around her desk boasted everything from half-stripped moldings to books on medieval architecture. At the moment, it was also piled high with flowers and balloons.
Maybe that knight should come along with a Day-Timer and some file boxes while he was at it. Some attorney with a great British accent. Genevieve laughed at the absurdity of her previous thoughts. I bet Buckingham Palace has great souvenirs.
I represent the firm of Maledica, Smythe and deLipkau, based in London. I am in San Francisco this week and I wondered when it would be convenient for me to drop by. I have a legal matter to discuss with you. Who in the world would want to sue her? And for what? She was certainly as human as the next person but she considered herself a far sight more meticulous. She took her restoration work very seriously. He lowered his voice, as if he were afraid others were listening in on the conversation.
Are you free this afternoon? They have both passed on and I have no other relatives. You are the last living direct descendant of Matilda of Seakirk.
Rodney, the last earl of Seakirk, passed away recently and I have been sent to inform you of what awaits you. Are you certain?
My research in that area has been meticulous. When would it be convenient for you to meet and discuss this? McShane was silent for a long moment.
Unfortunately, reality had other plans for her that afternoon. She cradled the phone between her shoulder and ear as she set to work on a jumbled pile of paperwork.
Is there something you could mail me and let me look over? Perhaps later in the week? And despite her doubts, she was intrigued. The thought of inheriting some bauble from an ancestor of noble blood set her mind working furiously. What could it be? And the history behind it?
What if it were an ancient treasure? McShane prompted. Well, she could make it back for a late supper. She gave Mr. McShane the name of a rest aurant downtown and hung up the phone. Maybe it was some gaudy dinner ring. The meager contents of her safety deposit box could use some company. She would sign the papers, claim her prize, and that would be that.
The restaurant noises around her seemed magnified far beyond what they should have been. She heard silverware clanking against china, the sound of liquid being poured into glasses, people chewing, swallowing, burping discreetly. And, most notably, the way his hands fluttered over his silverware and around the crystal stem of his wineglass like little butterflies, too timid to land on something that might suddenly come to life and have them for a snack.
And this new awareness was all due to the shock she felt over his announcement. The abbey is in ruins, but the keep is in almost perfect condition. It merely awaits your loving touch. A castle? No, she was dreaming. McShane shook his head. All you need to do to claim it is live there. She put her hands on the table and pushed her chair back a bit, shaking her head.
McShane said quickly. Did I mention that along with the castle, you have inherited a blank cheque?
Stardust of Yesterday
Waking up. Yes, that was a sight that should have merely inspired him to pull the covers back over his head. Obviously, he was not at his best in the morning. Not telling his father to go to hell. That had been his second mistake.
Stardust of Yesterday
The de Piaget Family Series