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.She hung her coat, slipped out of her shoes, poured herself her usual glass of wine.When she was seated at the little table by the window that looked out over Madison Avenue, she settled down to read her mail.It took only moments before she gave in and tore open the letter from Brianna Concannon Thane.Dear Shannon,I'm so terribly sorry about your mother's death.You'll be grieving still, and I doubt if any words I have will ease your heart.From the letters she wrote to my father, I know she was a loving and special woman, and I'm sorry I never had the chance to meet her, and tell her for myself.You've met with Rogan's man, Mr.Hobbs.From his report I understand that you were aware of the relationship between your mother and my father.I think this might cause you some hurt, and I'm sorry for it.I also think you may not appreciate hearing from me.But I had to write to you, at least once.Your father, your mother's husband, surely loved you very much.I don't wish to interfere with those emotions or those memories, which I'm sure are precious to you.I wish only to offer you a chance to know this other part of your family, and your heritage.My father was not a simple man, but he was a good one, and never did he forget your mother.I found her letters to him long after his death, still wrapped in the ribbon he'd tied around them.I'd like to share him with you, or if that isn't what you want, to offer you a chance to see the Ireland where you were conceived.If you could find it in your heart, I would very much like you to come and stay with me and mine awhile.If nothing else, the countryside here is a good place for easing grief.You owe me nothing, Shannon.And perhaps you think I owe you nothing as well.But if you loved your mother, as I did my father, you know we owe them.Perhaps by becoming friends, if not sisters, we'll havegiven them back something of what they gave up for us.The invitation is open.If ever you wish to come, you'll be welcome.Yours truly,BriannaShannon read it twice.Then, when she had tossed it aside, picked it up and read it again.Was the woman really so simple, so unselfish, so willing to open heart and home?She didn't want Brianna's heart, or her home, Shannon told herself.And yet.And yet.Was she going to deny even to herself that she'd been considering just this? A trip to Ireland.A look into the past.She toyed with the idea of going over without contacting any of the Concannons.Because she was afraid? she wondered.Yes, maybe, because she was afraid.But also because she didn't want any pressure, any questions, any demands.The woman who had written the letter had promised none of those.And had offered a great deal more.Maybe I'll take her up on it, Shannon thought.And maybe I won't.Chapter Four"I don't know why you're fussing so much," Maggie complained."You'd think you were preparing for royalty.""I want her to be comfortable." Brianna centered the vase of tulips on the dresser, changed her mind, and took it to the flute-edged table by the window."She's coming all this way to meet us.I want her to feel at home.""As far as I can see, you've cleaned the place from top to bottom twice, brought in enough flowers for five weddings, and baked so many cakes and tarts it would take an army to eat them all." As she spoke, Maggie walked over, twitching the lace curtain aside and staring out over the hills."You're setting yourself up for a disappointment, Brie.""And you're determined to get no pleasure out of her coming.""Her letter accepting your invitation wasn't filled with excitement and pleasure, was it now?"Brianna stopped fluffing bed pillows she'd already fluffed and studied her sister's rigid back."She's the odd one out, Maggie.We've always had each other, and will still when she's gone again.Added to that she lost her mother not a month ago.I wouldn't have expected some flowery response.I'm happy enough she's decided to come at all.""She told Rogan's man she didn't want anything to do with us.""Ah, and you've never in your life said something you reconsidered later."That brought a smile tugging at Maggie's lips."Not that I can recall, at the moment." When she turned back, the smile remained."How much time do we have before we pick her up at the airport?""A bit.I need to nurse Kayla first, and I want to change." She blew out a breath at Maggie's expression."I'm not going to meet the sister I've not yet set eyes on in my apron and dusty pants.""Well, I'm not changing." Maggie shrugged her shoulders inside the oversized cotton shirt she'd tucked into old jeans."Suit yourself," Brianna said lightly as she started out of the room."But you might want to comb that rat's nest on your head."Though Maggie curled her lip, she took a glance at herself in the mirror above the dresser.An apt description, she thought with some amusement as she noted her bright red curls were snarled and tousled."I've been working," she called out, quickening her pace to catch up with Brianna at the bottom of the steps."My pipes don't care if my hair's tidy or not.It's not like I have to see people day and night like you do.""And it's grateful those people are that you don't.Fix yourself a bit of a sandwich or something, Margaret Mary," she added as she breezed into the kitchen."You're looking peaked.""I am not." Grumbling but hungry, Maggie headed for the bread drawer."I'm looking pregnant." Brianna froze in midstride."What? Oh, Maggie." "And it's your fault if I am," Maggie muttered, brows knitted as she sliced through the fresh brown bread.Laughing, Brianna swung over to give her sister a hard hug."Well, now, that's an intriguing statement, and one I'm sure medical authorities worldwide would be interested in."Maggie tilted her head, and there was humor in her eyes."Who just had a baby, I ask you? And who had me holding that beautiful little girl barely minutes after she was born so that I went a bit crazy in the head?""You're not upset, really, that you might be having another baby?" Brianna stepped back, worrying her lip."Rogan's pleased, isn't he?""I haven't told him yet.I'm a ways from being sure.But I feel it [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]