Lady Wild

Free Lady Wild by Máire Claremont

Book: Lady Wild by Máire Claremont Read Free Book Online
Authors: Máire Claremont
Tags: Historical Romance
sad.”
    “And afraid?” her mother asked oh-so-wisely.
    Ophelia weighed that question for a long moment. How to answer? She didn’t wish to worry her mama. All she truly wished was to ease her mother’s passing from this world. “Yes. A bit.”
    “Then you are a fool.”
    Ophelia gasped. “Pardon?”
    “You should be very afraid. It is quite a dangerous world out there.”
    “Mama—”
    “Which is why I have brought you to London.”
    Ophelia looked away, unable to confess what had happened just now between her and Andrew. “One would have thought Sussex infinitely safer.”
    “If you wished to die whilst you lived, but I do not think that is your fate.”
    Ophelia remained silent, searching for words that would express how she still dreamed of being an artist and longed to fulfill that dream. Unable to express it, at last, she glanced at the piano. “When did that arrive?”
    A girlish laugh came form her mother. “This afternoon. Andrew visited me, and we discussed music. An hour later, the piano was moved in. I think he realized how much I missed playing.”
    Ophelia’s heart squeezed. How was it possible that Viscount Stark at one moment could be so impossible, so seemingly unfeeling, and then in the next do something so incredibly kind? How could she thank him for such a gesture? Her mother had once been a beautiful pianist, and it had been painful for her to leave her piano behind. The cottage in Sussex could not have borne an instrument, even if they could have afforded one.
    Her mother rested her small hand over Ophelia’s, the warm glow of the fire adding a certain sort of otherworldly certainty to her mother’s face. “Viscount Stark will ensure that you are protected.”
    Despite her gratitude, Ophelia snorted. “Viscount Stark is a bit of an ass.”
    Her mother tsked. “He’s a lost soul.”
    “Yet you are determined that we should be in his hands.”
    “Let me tell you something.” The softness vanished from her mother’s countenance to be replaced by earnestness. “I have not always been the wisest of creatures, but I have always, always listened to that still, quiet voice within me. That is how I met your father.”
    Ophelia smiled despite her sorrow. Her parents’ love had been a recurring theme of her childhood. Holding hands. Soft kisses and long walks down by the river of their estate. Secret smiles and glances that seemed to convey feelings so important, and so intense, that no words ever could have given them breath. All those things had been a common thing to her parents.
    Once, she’d hoped to find something akin to it. But long ago, she’d learned that such relationships happened once in a century. And her father had died young. Thus, even her parents’ tale had not been an entirely happy one. “I know you feel deeply, Mama. But I am concerned about Lord Stark.”
    Her mother’s certainty didn’t dim, rather it increased as her voice grew stronger. “All I can tell you, my dear, is that when he walked into our cottage, that voice of mine commanded that I seek his assistance. I knew he would give it. He needs us.”
    “Are you mad as well as ill?” She bent and lightly kissed her mother’s delicate forehead. “For surely you have too many teeth to be a soothsayer.”
    Her mother tsked again. “I only speak what I feel. You, too, would do well to listen to your feelings, though I know you are more your father’s daughter in that respect.”
    It was true. She’d never been full of her feelings, but rather entrenched deeply in her books and studies. Fancies still filled her head, certainly. But she preferred not to listen when her feelings came calling, for far too often, they brought sorrow to her door. Allowing one’s self to give way to feelings was dangerous. She was going to have to struggle not to be swept away in sorrow when her mother died.
    No, it was better to enjoy feelings through the works of literature, art, and music rather than within herself. “I

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