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Eternity
Eternity
Eternity
Price: $2.60 FREE for Members
Type: eBook
Released: November 30, 1991
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Page Count: 165
Format: pdf
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0671744577
ISBN-13: 9780671744571
User Rating:  out of 5 Stars! (48 Votes)

About the Author

Jude Deveraux is the author of forty-one New York Times bestsellers, including MOONLIGHT IN THE MORNING, SCENT OF JASMINE, SCARLET NIGHTS, DAYS OF GOLD, LAVENDER MORNING, RETURN TO SUMMERHOUSE, and SECRETS. To date, there are more than sixty million copies of her book in print worldwide. She lives in Florida. To learn more, visit www.judedeveraux.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

From "Eternity"

Warbrooke, Maine

1865

As Jamie Montgomery walked through the long house, he didn't so much as glance about him, for he had grown up in the house and knew it well. Had anyone else seen the cozy comfort of the house, they would not have guessed the wealth of the family that owned it. Only an art student would have been aware of the significance of the signatures on the paintings that hung from the plaster walls, or of the names on the bronze statues, and only a connoisseur would have recognized the value of the carpets that were worn and stained from years of use by dogs and children.

The furniture had not been selected for its worth but for the needs of a family that had occupied the house for a couple of hundred years. An antiquarian would have seen that the old cabinet against one wall was actually Queen Anne, the little gold chairs were Russian Imperialist, and the porcelains in the cabinet in the corner were Chinese and too old for the comprehension of the young American mind.

The house was filled with pictures and furniture and fabrics from all over the world, the accumulated haul of generations of Montgomery men and women's travels. There were souvenirs from every corner of the globe, ranging from exotic items from the tiny islands of the world to paintings by Italian masters.

Walking swiftly, with a long-legged stride, Jamie went from one room of the enormous house to the other. Twice he patted the little flannel sack that was carefully tucked under his arm, smiling each time he touched it.

At last he came to a door and, with only a soft knock that wasn't meant to be heard, he entered the darkened bedroom. For all that the rest of the house wore a tattered opulence, this room showed every cent of the Montgomery wealth.

Even in the dark, he could see the gleam of the silk bed hangings, draping the huge, four-poster bed that had been carved in Venice, the bedposts fairly dripping with carved and gilded angels. From the top of the bed hung hundreds of yards of pale blue silk, and the walls of the room were upholstered with a darker blue damask that had been woven in Italy and brought back to America on a Montgomery ship.

Looking down at the bed, Jamie smiled, for he could see a blonde head just above the silk-covered, down-filled coverlet. He walked to the windows, threw back the heavy velvet curtains to let sunlight into the room, then watched as the head snuggled deeper into the covers.

Smiling, he went to the bed and looked down at its occupant, but all he could see was one golden curl clinging to the sheet; the rest of her had disappeared beneath the covers.

Lifting the bag from under his arm, Jamie opened the drawstring and withdrew a tiny dog that weighed no more than eight pounds; what body it had could hardly be seen for the long, silky white hair that covered it. The dog was a Maltese, and he'd brought it all the way from China as a gift for his baby sister.

Slowly lifting the coverlet, Jamie put the little dog in the bed with his sister, then grinning in anticipation, he took a chair and watched as the animal began to move about and lick its bedmate.

Slowly, and with great reluctance, Carrie came awake. She always hated to leave the warm cocoon of her bed and put it off as long as she could. Now, she moved a bit, her eyes still closed as she flung the covers down about her shoulders. At the first lick of the little dog, she smiled, then smiled again at the second lick. Only at the tiny bark did she open her eyes, looked into the face of the creature, then sat up, startled, her hand to her throat. Leaning back against the headboard, a carved angel's wing tip poking her in the back, she looked at the dog, blinking in wonder.

It was the laugh of her brother that made her turn her head, and even then it took her a moment to understand what was going on. When the understanding came to her that her beloved brother had at last come home from the sea, she gave a squeal of delight, then launched herself at him, dragging silk coverlet and cashmere blankets with her.

Catching her in his strong sun-browned arms, Jamie whirled her about, while on the bed behind them the little dog yapped excitedly.

"You weren't due in until next week," Carrie said, smiling and kissing her brother's cheeks and neck and whatever she could reach of him.

Jamie, trying to act as though he weren't reveling in his sister's enthusiastic greeting, held her at arms' length, her feet off the floor. "And you would have been down at the wharf to greet me, no doubt, if you'd known when I was going to arrive. Even if I'd come in at four in the morning."

"Of course," she said, smiling at him, then, a concerned look on her face, she put her hand on his cheek. "You've lost weight."

"And you haven't grown an inch." Looking her up and down, he tried to put an older-brother expression on his face, but it wasn't easy to be stem when looking at Carrie's tiny exquisiteness. Carrie was five feet even, yet all her brothers were over six feet. "I was hoping you'd have grown until you at least reached my waist. How did Mother and Dad produce such a runt as you?"

"Luck," she said happily as she turned to look at the little dog, which was now standing on the bed, its pink tongue hanging out. "Is this my present?"

"What makes you think I brought you a present?" he asked reproachfully. "I'm not sure you deserve one. Did you know that it's ten o'clock in the morning and here you are still sleeping."

She wriggled her shoulders to make her brother put her down. Carrie's interest, now that she had seen that he was home and well, was in the pretty little dog. When her feet were once again on the floor, she went to the bed, and when she slid back into it, the dog at once came to her to be petted.

While Carrie's attention was on the dog, Jamie looked about the room, noting what had been added since the last time he had been home. "Where did this come from?" He held up a foot-tall ivory carving of an Oriental lady, beautiful and intricate.

"Ranleigh," Carrie answered, speaking of another of her brothers.

"And this?" Jamie nodded toward an oil painting framed in gold.

"Lachlan."

Looking up from the dog, Carrie smiled at her brother as though she had no idea what was causing him to frown. She had seven brothers, all of them older than she, all of them travelers, and every time they left the country they brought her back a present -- each gift more flawlessly beautiful than the one another brother had brought her. It was almost as though they competed with each other to see who could bring their little sister the most marvelous gift.

"And these?" Jamie asked, picking up a string of pearls from Carrie's dressing table. His voice was sounding downright prim.

Smiling enigmatically, Carrie picked up the little dog and hugged it, burying her face in its soft fur. "This is by far the nicest present I have ever received in my life."

"Did you tell Ranleigh that when he gave you the lady?" Jamie was sounding almost jealous.

As a matter of fact, she had told Ranleigh that his gift was the best, but she wasn't going to tell Jamie that. "What's his name?" she asked, speaking of the tiny dog and doing her best to change the subject.

"That's for you to decide."

As Carrie stroked the dog, it sneezed. "Oh, Jamie, he really is the very nicest gift I ever have received. He's so very alive."

When Jamie came back to his chair by the bed, she could tell by his face that he was somewhat mollified by her assertions that his gift was indeed the best. Smiling at her, he watched the way the sunlight touched her thick mass of dark blonde hair and the way her blue eyes glinted with pleasure as she played with the dog, and knew that she was quite the prettiest thing he'd seen in a long while. She was as small as her brothers were large, as sweet tempered as they were irascible, and as full of laughter as they were of anger. And she was as used to luxury as they were to work. Carrie was the spoiled, adored, darling baby of the large family, and any of her brothers would have killed anyone who even thought of harming her.

Jamie leaned back in his chair, for he was glad to be at home, glad to be no longer on a rolling ship. "What have you and the Ugly Horde been up to lately?"

"Don't call them that!" Carrie said, but without any real animosity. "They aren't ugly."

When Jamie grunted at that, Carrie smiled. "Not too ugly anyway, and, besides, what do looks matter?"

He grinned at that. "Nineteen years old and already a philosopher."

"I'll be twenty soon."

"My, my, such a great age."

Carrie didn't mind his teasing, for, to her, there was little that her brothers could say or do that was wrong. "Whatever our appearance" -- she generously included herself with the "Uglies" -- "the girls and I are involved in a very important project."

"I'm sure of it." Jamie's tone was patronizing, but adoring at the same time. "As important as saving the frogs from the giggers? Or making poor Mr. Coffin give his geese free running space?"

"Those projects were in the past. Now we're involved in -- " She broke off as the dog sneezed twice in succession. "You don't think he's catching cold, do you?"

"More likely he's reacting to all this silk. This place looks like a harem."

"What's that?"

"Something I'm not going to tell you about."

Carrie's lower lip protruded a bit. "If you ever want to give me a really spectacular gift, you could tell me, in detail, all that you've done on a voyage."

At the thought of what such a revelation would entail, Jamie looked a bit pale, and it took a moment before his color returned. Smiling, he said, "That's one gift you're not likely to receive from any of us. Now tell me what you and the Uglies have been doing."

"We're marrying people," Carrie said proudly then was pleased to see her brother's jaw drop in astonishment.

"You got someone to marry those ugly girlfriends of yours?"

She gave him a look of exasperation. "They aren't so ugly and you know it. And ever...


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