Love & Other Perennial Habits by Warden Emmaline

Love & Other Perennial Habits by Warden Emmaline

Author:Warden, Emmaline [Warden, Emmaline]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Fiction, Historical, Romance
ISBN: 9798987400302
Publisher: Emmaline Warden LLC
Published: 2023-02-05T18:30:00+00:00


The water was brisk, turning her skin to ice the moment she touched it, and Margaret wondered for a moment what the devil she had been thinking. Yes, she could swim, but not in a frost-tempered pool in nothing but her altogether. The man had seen her naked before, but looking like a drowned blue rat was another story entirely and Margaret backed away from the water, suddenly uncertain. “I think I’ll wait for you out here.”

Oliver swam towards her, his long arms cutting through the water like a knife. “What’s got you so skittish? I’ve never seen you shy away from a challenge.”

Margaret frowned. He was right, damnit. If she let something as small as momentary discomfort hold her back from doing something so inconsequential, what would happen when it came time for something bigger? Screwing up her courage, she ran into the water, diving below the surface before she had time to think. The shock that struck her body was stunning, her brain sending messages of panic to her every limb as she broke the surface, her breath escaping from her lips in gasps. Oliver laughed jubilantly beside her. “That’s my girl!” he said, wrapping his arms around her and spinning her in the water.

Margaret shivered, sliding closer to his warmth. “You do this every day?”

“Exercise is good for you.” He hugged her close, his legs kicking slowly, keeping them afloat.

“This isn’t exercise, it’s torture.” Her teeth began to rattle and Oliver rubbed her arms.

“You just need to move around. Come on, I’ll show you.” He released her and began swimming to the other side of the pond, his movements sleek and effortless. She treaded water, her feet kicking with desperation to keep her head above the surface. Swim. She should swim. With a groan, Margaret took a breath and headed in the direction Oliver had gone. Her muscles protested at first, tired from the day’s activities, but soon, they relaxed, the motions becoming reflexive as she stretched her arm forward, then pulled it back, propelling herself through the water. At the other side of the pond, Oliver floated, waiting for her. “Well?”

“It’s not too bad,” she said, reaching out for his shoulder. He pulled her in close and she relaxed against him. “It’s terribly cold, but it’s not too bad. Maybe we can try again in July when the temperature isn’t anywhere near glacial.”

He laughed, tucking her wet strands behind her ear. “One more lap and then we’ll head to the cottage?”

Margaret nodded, kissing his shoulder. “Race you.”

She took off, certain he would win, but not caring as the water slid past her with each stroke. She could see why he exercised here. The solitude he found in the dark pool was freeing. A hand reached around her foot, pulling her backward, and Margaret cried out as Oliver slid past her, his trick effectively giving him the lead. “Cheater!”

He did not respond, more focused on winning than taunting her, but Margaret could hardly complain. From her


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