ChristmastoDieFor by Unknown

ChristmastoDieFor by Unknown

Author:Unknown
Format: epub
ISBN: 978-1-4268-0886-9
Publisher: Harlequin
Published: 2010-05-11T06:32:23.942000+00:00

NINE

Tyler could only stare at Rachel for a moment, questions battering at his mind. He reached out, wanting to hold her so that she couldn't escape until he had all the answers. How could she land a blow like that and then stand looking at him as if it didn't matter?

Then he realized that it wasn't lack of caring that froze her face and darkened her eyes. Shock. Rachel was shocked by this, just as he was.

A cold breeze hit them, rustling the bare branches of the oak tree that sheltered the few tilted gravestones. Rachel shivered, her whole body seeming to tremble for a moment.

He grasped her arm. "Come on. Let's get back to the car and warm up."

She walked with him down the hill, stumbling a little once or twice as if not watching where she was going. Barney, darting around them in circles in the frostbitten field, seemed to sense that something was wrong. He rushed up to Rachel with small, reassuring yips.

They reached the car. He tucked her into the passenger seat and started the ignition, turning the heater on. Barney whined until he opened the back door so the dog could jump in.

Tyler slid into the driver's seat, holding out his hand to the vent, grateful for the power of the car's heater. Already warmth was coming out, and he turned the blower to full blast. He couldn't possibly get any answers until Rachel lost that frozen look.

For several minutes she didn't move. He should take her back to the inn, but he'd never have a better time than this to find answers.

She stretched her hands out toward the heater vent, rubbing them together, and the movement encouraged him. She seemed to have lost a little of that frozen look.

"Feeling better now?" He kept his voice low.

She nodded, darting a cautious, sideways glance at him. To his relief the color had returned to her cheeks.

"I'm sorry. I don't know what got into me."

"Shock," he suggested.

"I don't—" She stopped, shook her head, made an effort to start again. "I'm being stupid, letting the coincidence upset me so much."

He discovered his hand was gripping the steering wheel so hard the knuckles were white, and he forced his fingers to loosen.

"Do you really think it's a coincidence that your father deserted you about the time of my grandfather's death?"

"What else could it be?" Defiance colored the words.

Plenty of things, most notably a guilty conscience.

But he suspected she would come to that conclusion on her own if he didn't push too hard.

She moved, as if the silence disturbed her. "I was only eight. I might be remembering incorrectly." Her voice was so defensive that he knew there was more to it than that.

"You must know around when it was. Didn't you tell me that your mother took you and your sisters away shortly after that?"

Her mouth was set, but she gave a short nod.

"Kids usually have their own ways of remembering when things happened. Connecting the experiences to being



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