Secret Garden

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Book: Secret Garden by Cathryn Parry Read Free Book Online
Authors: Cathryn Parry
a scatter rug over a painted wooden floor and a set of drawers that had seen better days. He dropped his canvas bag on a metal chair.
    “You know where the bathroom is,” his grandmother said. “I’ve put fresh towels on the table for you.” Fresh had that same wonderful rolled r .
    He smiled at her, feeling like a kid again, but in a good way. In a naive way of trusting that all would be better in the morning.
    She closed the door and let him sleep.
    * * *
    C OLIN WOKE WHEN he heard the loud whine of weed-whacking directly beneath his window. Rubbing his eyes, gazing through the windowpane, he saw his grandfather attacking a patch of thistle, revving the motor and scowling to himself.
    The perverse old dude. Colin chuckled softly. But then his grandfather glared up at his window in a manner that made Colin wonder if he was trying to disturb his sleep on purpose. The laughter died in his throat.
    Jamie probably didn’t even have gout. If he did, shouldn’t he be resting the foot, not hobbling about on it? Colin was pretty sure that Jamie’s anger had more to do with him—and his presence in Scotland—than it did with any ailment Jamie might have.
    Colin couldn’t think of anything he could say or do to make his grandfather feel differently about him. He was trying to be laid-back about it, but the facts didn’t lie. He felt lousy. He needed to get out of here.
    First, he had to apologize to Rhiannon.
    After rooting in his canvas bag for his shower kit and a set of clean clothes, he took a long, hot shower, ducking his head in the low stall. When he went back to his room, he had to stoop to avoid bumping his head on the sloped ceiling. Still, he took more care than he usually did with his routine. Colin was a casual guy, not big on combs or razors, but this time he was sure to make himself as clean-cut as possible for Rhiannon.
    He didn’t know why—and maybe it was crazy—but it suddenly seemed critical to get her on his side again.
    He sat on the bed with the notepaper for ten minutes, pondering what to say to her. How to get across to her that he was really sorry for his rudeness.
    In the end, he just wrote from the heart. Downstairs, his grandmother handed him a pair of scissors. He went to the side of the house and clipped a few of her roses. If one was good, then six were better.
    It was a slow twenty-minute hike to the castle. He passed through a small copse, around a spongy moor with pale green grass and alongside a creek—“burn,” they called it here. Nature had changed little except for some trees that were missing since his last visit; others were taller and fuller. It was funny—Colin couldn’t specifically remember most people he met, but he’d remembered this land. The outdoors was a big part of what sustained him. Probably no accident that he’d chosen to become a professional golfer.
    Colin came to the front of the castle and stood for a moment, marveling over it. A huge, gray stone facade. Still the same turrets, the same circular gravel drive. The same short, wooden drawbridge that had once fascinated him so much.
    He had to clear away cobwebs before he could ring the bell, but he heard the noise echo in the great hall, so he knew it worked.
    A man dressed in a black suit answered the door. “Yes?” He had a bland voice and an expressionless face.
    “I’m here to see Rhiannon,” Colin said.
    The man coughed into his hand. Colin had no idea who he was. “May I ask who is calling, sir?”
    “Colin Walker.” He shifted on his feet, transferred the flowers to his other hand.
    The man bowed his head slightly. He opened the door and gestured for Colin to enter. “Please wait on the couch while I phone her.”
    The whole thing was strange. Colin followed him inside. The first detail he noticed was that the interior had been renovated. The great hall didn’t look as much like a dank and drafty laird’s castle, but a modern home with all the comforts.
    Colin was led to a small anteroom

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