From Whatever Remains
They were sitting at the little spectator bench tucked against the back of the barn, the one with the view of the arena beneath the flickering leaves of a paper birch. His girls. Clara was in the grass, playing with a toy horse, dark hair brushed and gleaming and tumbling over her tiny frail shoulders. Jade was on the bench, reclining back against the red barn wall, one leg drawn up, the other swinging below. She was in tan breeches, tall socks and short boots, a loose green tank top with a smudge of dirt on the swell of one breast. She’d been riding: her hair was French braided and she wore no earrings, only a faint touch of makeup, another dirt streak on the high regal line of her cheekbone. Whatever their differences – their bitter misunderstandings – his physical attraction to her had never been an issue. He’d wanted her always, and he didn’t suppose that was ever going to change.