It had been six weeks since we’d told each other we loved each other, and for those six weeks we’d been practically inseparable. I’d met his mother, Karen, and fallen in love with her, too, and thankfully she seemed to like me a lot.

The only person of importance between us who didn’t know we were together and in love was Darcy. I’d felt she was in too fragile a place to start waxing lyrical about my love affair.

But now . . . now I could see for myself that she was getting back to herself again, and I couldn’t wait to tell her about Craig.

My beautiful sister beamed at me. “You always look fantastic. It’s so good to see you.”

“You too. I’ve missed you so much.”

“I’ve missed you too. A hell of a lot.” Darcy leaned in toward the screen. “I need to tell you something and then I need to ask you something.”

There was a glitter of excitement and apprehension in her eyes. “Is everything alright?”

“I’m not coming back to Edinburgh.”

I stared stupidly at the screen, trying to make her abrupt declaration make sense.

“Rain, I don’t want to come back. It holds bad memories now. And I love it here in Sydney.”

I felt a sharp pain in my chest. “But what about us?”


“I don’t want to lose you again. I can’t lose you again. You’re my other half. That’s why I’m asking you to move out here. We can run Darraign from anywhere, you know we can.”

My heart was pounding. “Move to Australia?”

She misinterpreted my reluctant tone. “I know it seems like a huge move but, Rain, you’ll love it here. The sun, the people, the lifestyle. You’ll fit in great. Please, please think about it.”

“But whether or not I say yes, you’re staying out there?” I said, needing to clarify.

When she nodded that pain in my chest turned into a burning ache. “I’ve thought about this long and hard. I’ve been over and over it. There’s no changing my mind, Rain. I’m so happy here. But I’d be happier if you were here with me. You know how much I need you.”

Darcy. I felt like crying at her words because . . .


Craig would never leave his family behind in Scotland. He’d never make that move.

So it was either Craig or Darcy.

Oh God.

I thought I might be sick.

“You look a bit peaky. Are you okay?”

I looked away, trying to think. Think! THINK! “I had dodgy takeout last night.”

Darcy chuckled. “Oh, babe, another reason you should move out here. The food is so good and I know all the best takeout places.”

I gave her a weak smile. “Another point for the plus column.”

“I’m assuming I’m worth ten points for the plus column?” Darcy winked.

I looked at her, my heart filled with love and a terrible sadness. “Babe, you are the plus column.”

She grinned at me. “Is that a yes, then? Please say yes.”

I thought about leaving Craig and the pressure I felt on my chest was unbearable.

As though Darcy saw my hesitation, she leaned closer in to the screen. “Please, Rain. I’ve . . . Well.” She smiled unsurely. “I’ve met someone. He makes me happy. I’d really like you to meet him.”

Fear knifed through me.

I’d heard Darcy say those words once before. The result was her fleeing to Australia.

And just like that I knew I couldn’t fail her again.

If I signed off, telling her I’d think about it, I knew what conclusion all my to-ing and fro-ing would eventually bring me to: I’d once left Darcy behind, I’d put her last, and it had taken me a long time to regain my sister, the only family I had. She needed me and I couldn’t let her down again. I had to make sure this new guy was actually a decent one. I had to protect her, even if it was from her own choices.

I felt winded as this wave of emotion crashed over me. My eyes filled with tears and I did my best to make them seem like happy tears as I gave my sister a watery smile. “Yes. I’ll move out there.”

Darcy let out a squeal of happiness, clapping her hands like a little girl, and I gave a strangled laugh, the tears spilling down my cheeks. “Look, I have to go because I have a phone meeting with our manufacturer, but I’ll call you tomorrow morning your time to iron out the details, okay?”

“Okay, go, go! We’ll speak soon.” She waved enthusiastically and I waved back before shutting my laptop closed.

As soon as her face was gone, I broke out into harsh sobs, trying to let go of the pain I felt in every muscle, every nerve, every inch of my body.

It was agony.

The agony of having to choose between the two people I loved most in the world

It was the agony of agreeing to let go of the man I loved.

* * *

After I cried, feeling despairing and dramatic, I tried to calm myself down. I attempted to wrap my head around the situation, wondering if there was any possible way around it.

I couldn’t find any.

I just kept seeing my sister’s expression the day I finally came back to Inverness for her. It had taken me a minute to process her expression because I was so taken aback by how gaunt and tired she looked. And then I’d focused on her eyes and they were like knives, slicing me to punishing ribbons for the crime of abandonment.

I couldn’t see that look on her face again. I couldn’t put my needs before hers again.

The last thread of hope I was holding on to was the miniscule possibility that Craig would follow me across the world.

By the time Craig turned up at my flat that afternoon before his shift, I was huddled on the big comfy armchair in my living room with a cold mug of tea between my hands. I was jittery as hell, feeling so nervous I was queasy and shaky.

“Darlin’, it’s me,” he called as he entered my flat.

For a while there I’d truly believed I’d get to hear him greet me this way every day. I felt a fresh well of tears spring to my eyes.

“There you are.” He strode into the living room, coming toward me with purpose. Last night he’d done overtime and he’d gone back to his flat instead of waking me up in the wee hours of the morning. A long kiss at the very least was in order.

But Craig stopped suddenly, taking in my face. “Darlin’?” Concern flashed across his expression and he was suddenly by my side, gently tipping my face up to the light. He took in my red eyes. “What happened? Who do I need to kill?”

I gave him a watery smile at his protectiveness and nuzzled into his hand like a cat. “Just me,” I said, my voice hoarse.

“Rain.” He maneuvered into the seat, lifting me up gently before taking my spot and then settling me on his lap. I immediately buried my face in his neck, breathing him in, feeling his warm strength wrap around me.

I started to cry again.

Craig ran his hand up and down my spine. “Okay, now you’re really starting to worry me.”

It took me a moment to grab hold of my runaway emotions. Finally I managed to contain the tears to sniffles, and Craig gently eased my head back so he could see me.

My eyes washed over his handsome, familiar face, and I swear I felt and heard a crack in my chest. Tense now as I tried to keep it together long enough to explain, I clenched my jaw against the tears. “Darcy called.”

Most Popular