The Road to Port Haven (Chapter 5­, page 1 of 11)

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Kara giggled to herself as she read her book.

'Would you care to share?' Guiseppe asked her as he got out his paring knife and, cutting against a thumb bearing an intaglio of fine surface-scratches, began slicing a plate of apple, cheese, meat and crackers for both of them. 'What are you reading?'

Kara sat on a three-legged stool beside the windmill's little cookstove as Guiseppe sat at a table by the window. They were taking a break from irrigating the fields that lay on the hillsides to the west of the windmill. The fields were so well hidden from view from the Casa that until recently Kara hadn't known of their existence.

'It's a romance story,' Kara told him. 'It's just awful! The Señora was going through the library and decided to throw out a bunch of old books.'

'If it is so bad, then why are you reading it?' Guiseppe asked her.

Kara shrugged as she accepted some food from the plate Guiseppe proffered. 'I don't know. I suppose it's because there are parts that I do like. The stories are always set in some far-off, exotic place. That in itself is romantic.'

'H'm. Well, we must have very different ideas about what is romantic- say, isn't that your friend, Anana, riding in on horseback?'

'Anana? Here?' Kara bounced up from her perch, gave a squeal of excitement, and went running out to meet her. 'Anana! Are you here all by yourself? Where is your bambino? Would you like to share our lunch?' She stopped herself when she noticed the bemused look in Anana's eyes.

'I am here,' Anana told her, because I have heard good news, and because I come to ask you if you would like to come visit me and my family.'

'Go!' Guiseppe told her from the doorway, brandishing something in his hand. 'And take your silly love-stories with you.'

Kara hitched up the trap and Anana tethered her horse to the rear of it and joined her friend. Within minutes the two were off and chattering gaily.

'What was that about silly love-stories?' Anana asked her.

'Oh, just some old books the Señora was going to throw away,' Kara told her. 'Guiseppe was annoyed with me because I read them and start giggling, even though they're so bad.'

'Bad how?' Anana asked her.

'Well,' Kara said, putting on a "thoughtful face," 'let's see . . . there's lots of lip-crushing; you know, where the big, strong hero crushes the girl to him, or crushes her lips to him . . . then there's bruising-'

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