By Rebecca Stratton
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Perhaps he resented his future wife being put so firmly in her place by his father, but whatever it was that prompted it, he sounded coldly quiet when he spoke. "You are honoured, Padre. ' The black eyes looked at her steadily and with such intensity that she was at last forced to raise her own eyes and look at him. ' Don Jose frowned at him, his fading sight making him narrow his eyes as he studied his son curiously. ' Marcos still held her gaze and Holly could feel the flush of warm colour that betrayed how she felt.
Her resentment was as much for Aunt Nan as for herself, and she could see plainly enough what Don Jose thought of the allusion to his wife's good fortune. The dark, drawn features flushed, and a fine fire showed in the sunken eyes as he looked at Helena Mendez. 'The good fortune of our early marriage was mine, Helena,' he said in a cold, hard voice that Holly would never have believed him capable of. ' The white head turned and bobbed briefly in her direction. ' She smiled warily and hastily lowered her gaze because she knew Marcos Delgaro was watching her.
Exquisite tiles covered the floor, the azulejos of the Moors, bright and colourful and with beautiful designs. White, almost stark walls, with portraits of men as proudly arrogant as Marcos Delgaro, and obviously his ancestors, had wrought iron holders for the electric lights that now did the service of candles and oil lanterns of previous times. It was so vast and high-ceilinged that Holly gazed upwards in amazement. The staircase was magnificently wide and carpeted for most of its width, covering the worn stone beneath that had been trodden with the feet of the Delgaro family for almost five hundred years.