May afternoon


“Are we really that boring, Isabel?”

I jumped and looked at Terrence, who was glowering at me. “Sorry,” I muttered. “I was miles away.”

“Yeah, we’d noticed,” Rissa said. “You keep looking out the window. Are you waiting for someone?”

Not really, I wanted to say. Just what might be my entire future.

“How’s Percy?”

Everyone at the table leaned in closer, wanting to hear how the former Monray heir was doing at his new home.

“He’s all right. He’s really happy there, with the Changers. I think he’s happier there than he ever was at Stonewell.” It no longer pained me to admit that. “I think he might have met somebody, but he hasn’t said anything about her yet.”

“How do you even know it is a her?” Cindy asked teasingly.

One of the Linton bodyguards silently approached Sky and touched her on the shoulder. “Excuse me, miss, but there appears to be a visitor.”

“Excuse me. I’ll be back soon.” Sky got up and headed for the door, the bodyguard following like a second shadow.

“Trust me,” I said to Cindy, “it’s a her.”

“You don’t think Sky’s cook would give mine the recipe for this risotto?” Terrence put a large forkful into his mouth and grunted appreciatively. “It’s out of this world.”

“I didn’t even know you still had a cook,” Cindy remarked dryly. “But yeah, this food’s amazing. I think they had this at the Linton Christmas party last year – you know, when…”

“Yeah, let’s not talk about that,” Rissa muttered just as Sky came back inside and hurried up to the table.

“Izzie? You really might want to look out the window again.”

My heart started beating faster. The food began to swirl around in my stomach. I pushed my chair back, got to my feet and walked towards the window.

He was standing in the middle of the drive as if he owned the place.

“I’m sorry,” I said, turning back to the others. “But I think I’m going to have to leave lunch early.” My hands were actually beginning to tremble.

“Are you OK?” Rissa asked, her brow furrowed.

“Yes. I’m…I’m more than OK.”

I walked as fast as I could out of the dining-room and towards the cloakroom, where I snatched up Cindy’s bag, realised my mistake and picked up my own as fast as I could. I shoved the double front doors open and marched out into the drive.

Let’s get a few things straight. Just because we’re courting doesn’t mean we’re going to get married. But if we do, you’re going to take my name.

All those words disappeared as soon as I saw Luke’s smile.

“So what happens now?” I folded my arms and stared right into his face.

“Well, I know that blue car over there is yours.” Luke motioned with his head towards the car in question. “You didn’t bring a bodyguard with you?”

“No, I didn’t bring Kim. Should I have?”

I could feel my friends’ eyes on us. They were probably gathering near the door, watching the whole thing.

“I was actually considering throwing you over my shoulder and carrying you off, but since you’ve got a car we should use it.”

“Good.” Unfortunately, Luke’s idea sounded much more romantic than just driving off in a car, but there had been enough of a frenzy about one kidnapped Monray. Two would just be ridiculous.

“Shouldn’t you both be kissing right about now?” Cindy yelled from behind us.

“Thanks for spoiling the moment!” I shouted back at her. “But you’ve got a point.”

Luke wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me in for the kiss. It felt like coming home.

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