After washing and creaming her face, she put on her nightgown and went to bed. From the lights in the garden below, she could see the outline of her father’s furniture. Taking a deep breath, she gave a bit of a smile, for it was good to have her father’s things around her, very good indeed.
She went to sleep and somewhere in the middle of the night she woke when a flash of lightning lit the room. Over the outside noise she heard what was becoming a familiar sound to her: Mike was typing. Feeling calmer, she went back to sleep.
Samantha woke at seven o’clock, but the rain gently coming down outside her windows made her not want to get out of bed. Snuggling under the covers, she went back to sleep. After all, it was Saturday, so why should she get up?
Waking again at nine-thirty, her first thought was of Daphne telling her that Mike was a heartbreaker. Samantha did not want more heartbreak. After a reassuring glance about her father’s room at his furnishings, smiling, she went back to sleep.
At eleven she was awakened by a brief knock then the door to her bedroom opening. Sleepily, she looked up to see Mike entering with a tray covered with white food bags. “Go away,” she murmured and hid under the covers.
Of course he didn’t obey, for as far as she could make out, Michael Taggert was a combination of watchdog, militant nurse, and lecher.
Putting the tray down on the edge of the bed, he sat down beside it. “I brought you food and your clothes from Saks came and Barrett has invited us to tea day after tomorrow. He’s sending a car for us.”
“Oh?” she said, turning over and looking at him. It was almost beginning to feel familiar to have him sitting on the edge of her bed.
“Which one interests you? The food or Barrett or the clothes?”
“Do you think that little blue jacket came? The one with the big buttons?”
He pulled a muffin from a bag. “So it’s the clothes. I don’t blame you for being uninterested in a man who may or may not be your relative. Relatives give me a pain too.”
Slowly, yawning, Samantha sat up in bed and leaned against the headboard. “You don’t know what you’re talking about. You don’t know how lucky you are to have relatives. Your cousin Vicky was very sweet to me—and very tolerant of you.”
Handing her a muffin and a large styrofoam cup full of freshly squeezed orange juice, he said, “She’s one of the few Montgomerys who’s even tolerable, but then she’s not one of the Montgomerys from Maine.”
Mike already had his mouth full and there were crumbs on her bed, but he looked so good sprawled there. His thick, dark hair was still damp from a shower, he was freshly shaved, and he had on a soft old denim shirt that outlined every muscle in his body. It was better to keep him talking, she thought, for if he were talking, he wouldn’t be touching her. She took a deep breath. “Who are the Montgomerys?”
“They’re my cousins and a bigger bunch of wimps you never saw.”
“Wimps. Pansies,” he snapped. “Tea drinkers. There isn’t one of them that wouldn’t faint at the mere sight of a beer served in its very own bottle.”
“And these cousins live in Maine?” she asked as she bit into a bran muffin.
“Yeah.” There was hostility in his voice, and she wondered what his cousins had done to cause his antagonism. Seeing the look on her face, he began to explain. “It’s a tradition in my family that the Montgomery kids spend half the summer in Colorado and the Taggerts, half in Maine. I don’t know who started that tradition, but I’m sure he’s roasting in hell now.”
“Oh? What happened when you were in Maine?”
“My bastard cousins tried to kill us!”
“You must be kidding.”
“Not in the least. They did everything they could to see that we didn’t live through the summers. The lot of them live on the sea and they’re half fish. My brother says they have fish scales for skin. They used to do things like row us out into the ocean, then dive off the boat and swim back to shore. They knew that not one of us could swim.”
“How did you get back to shore?”
Michael smiled in a smirking way. “Rowed. We couldn’t swim, but all of us have a bit of muscle.”
Samantha smiled at the way he flexed his biceps when he said this. “And what happened when they came to Colorado?”
“Well, we were a bit miffed at the way they’d treated us when we were in Maine.”
“And, too, you have to understand the Montgomerys. They are the most annoying bunch in the world. They were always thanking my mother, and they never forgot to use their napkins at the table. And they folded their clothes.”