WIP: Separation and Loss

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From The Defiant Daughter

The man who brought Maddy to Wales dragging his feet, the one who avoided his family for over a decade, now insisted he couldn’t leave. “Not yet. I need more time with my brother.” Brynn shot a glance at Gavin and muttered, “About safety lanterns if nothing else.”

Maddy thought he had the look of a man sprung to life after a long winter of regret. He even stood taller; she thought with bemused skepticism that he may have even grown an inch.

Whatever passed between Brynn and Mary Carew had been left in Merthyr Tydfil with his regrets. She didn’t press him; there was no need. She knew healing when she saw it. What she wanted to know now was what it all meant for her and for the attraction that twined itself around the two of them, sending tendrils of yearning and blooming wildly,  even now standing in the stableyard next to a waiting carriage.

She couldn’t begrudge him time to heal the breach, but she refused to lose him to Wales. What lay between herself and Brynn mattered more—yet she suspected he couldn’t move on until he settled with the world of Brynhafan.

“How long, Brynn.” She gave his fingers a gentle squeeze.

He let one go to run a hand around the back of his neck. “I don’t know. It is all too new.

“Bring Gavin to Ashmead for Twelfth Night. It will give you more time, and his presence may ensure that Gideon keeps his word to join us.”

Brynn nodded, his eyes holding hers.

“Don’t just nod to me. Promise. Promise me you will be there.” She pulled back both hands, gripping them tightly. And kiss me goodbye.

Still he lingered. Still he held both her hands while Phillip glare impatiently from the carriage where Crenshaw sat primly in the corner.

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He glanced up at Phillip, turned back to caress her lips with his gaze, and stepped away. “I promise. I will be there. So will Gavin.” He peered over at his brother who seemed to be at some pains to suppress a grin. “Now go before Phillip loses all patience with both of us.”

She sighed and stared at her half boots for a moment before going up on her toes to kiss his cheek. “I’ll hold you to it, Colonel Morgan. You’ll come to Ashmead if I have to come and fetch you myself.”

From the window of the carriage, she watched Brynhafan disappear into the Welsh hills, before she sat back against the cushions, ignoring Phillip’s obvious concern.

And I will too, Brynn Morgan, she thought. Don’t doubt it.

Note: excerpts from works in progress have not yet been edited, will likely undergo change and may not even make it into the final work!

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Caroline Warfield, Author

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