That night after dinner, Blake escorted Nellie to the library.
“Let’s sit, shall we?” he pointed to the settee in front of the fireplace, where a roaring fire blazed, warding off the evening chill. “Would you care for some brandy or tea perhaps?”
“Thank you, I’m fine.”
He poured himself two fingers of the golden brown liquid into a snifter and swirled it round and round in the glass. “A ritual,” he explained, “so I could get used to the flavor.”
“Not something you generally care for, I take it.”
“Can’t stand the stuff, but the men I want to do business with like it, so I’ve learned to drink it without gagging.”
“Now, to the letter you received from R. Edward Wallace. Your former father-in-law, I believe.”
She nodded again, not ready to speak on it.
Excerpt from Nellie by Cynthia Woolf
Included in A Touch of Passion