“Your Skype chat?”

He’d called me last night on his break and he knew how excited I was to see her again and to tell her about him.

“She’s staying,” I whispered, biting my lip against more tears.

“In Australia?”

I nodded, the tears escaping.

Sweet sympathy and tenderness filled Craig’s eyes. “Oh, darlin’, I’m so sorry. I know how much you miss her.”

“That’s not it.” I swallowed hard and then took a big deep breath. “I didn’t get a chance to tell her about you and me because she dropped her bomb . . .” I brushed impatiently at my tears, forcing myself to meet his eyes even though I thought I might die watching his expression when he learned I hadn’t chosen him. “She said she needs me. She asked me to go out there and run the company with her from Sydney.”

I felt Craig tense beneath me, a light of disbelief entering his eyes. “Go out there? For good?”

My mouth trembled. “Yes. She’s also met someone. She wants me to meet him.” And I knew the answer I’d given my sister was now written across my face.

And he looked heartbroken.

A sob burst forth before I could stop it and Craig yanked me against him, holding me so tight I could barely breathe, but I didn’t care. I clung to him just as hard.


We sat together for a long time, not saying a word, just holding on for dear life.

*   *   *

Some time later Craig finally spoke and his voice was thick with emotion. “I can’t go with you. I know you need to go because of your history with Darcy . . . but just as you’ve got to look out for your family I have to look out for mine. They need me like she needs you.”

That hope, as miniscule as it was, went up in a puff of smoke and the crack that had emerged inside me split apart, leaving me with only half of myself.

I was leaving the other half with this man.

And I didn’t want to believe I’d never get him or it back. “Maybe after a while she’ll change her mind.”

He cupped my face in his hands and pressed a soft, sweet kiss to my lips. When he pulled back he said sadly, “We can’t live on maybes, darlin’. It would only hurt us more.”

I nodded, needing to cry again and wondering if the tears would ever stop. “A clean break, then?”

His grip on me automatically tightened, his fingers digging in. The muscles in his jaw flexed as he struggled with his own emotions. “I can’t believe this is happening.”

“Me neither.”

“When will you go out to her?”

“I’m calling her back this evening. We’re going to discuss the arrangements but I’d imagine it will be as soon as possible.”

“Then we’ll have that time.”

“You can just leave if you want,” I offered even though I hated to do so. “Now. If it makes it easier. Clean break now.”

“No,” he growled, pulling me against him. “We’ll spend the rest of your time here together, and I will take you to the airport and we won’t say good-bye until you need to get on that plane.”

The tears came again like I knew they would, but Craig was done with the tears. He kissed them away and stood up with me in his arms. Holding me close, he carried me to my bed and laid me down.

He made love to me with thoroughness and a raw need that I’d never experienced before. Afterward, instead of leaving, he called in sick to work, and he spent the rest of the night showing me how much he never wanted to let me go.


It was winter in Sydney but the month of August was fairly mild, reminding me of April and May back home.

I loved the fact that winter wasn’t freezing-your-arse-off cold. In the three weeks I’d been living in the ridiculously expensive flat a few blocks from George Street (a flat my sister chose and one we’d be moving out of when the six months were up), I’d reluctantly come to admire Sydney.

I liked the warmth of the Australians. We shared a similar sense of humor, no one looked twice at my clothes and hair but instead accepted my style as nothing out of the ordinary, the food was great, I loved being so close to the water, and there was a bustling vibrancy about the city that I didn’t even realize I was missing in Edinburgh.

But none of that mattered.

Every night I still went to bed, aching with longing—a longing so deep in my bones sometimes I could almost feel Craig’s arms wrapped around me, feel his warm breath on my neck as he held me.

I heard his deep voice in the dark of the night, whispering loving words, sex words. I’d remember his lovemaking and my body would grow increasingly hot, my frustration increasing when the vibrator in my nightstand did little to ease my need for him.

I was miserable and I wondered how long it was going to take me to move on.

Because I was terrified I never would.

* * *

“Can I get you another glass of wine, Rain?”

The sound of my name jerked me out of my daydreaming. I glanced up at Liam. He was standing by the table instead of sitting beside me in the booth we were all crammed into. I hadn’t even noticed him shimmy out. “Please.” I gave him a small smile and he grinned at me before disappearing off to the bar.

Liam was one of the friends Darcy had made. He was a friend of her friend, Joanie, the girl she’d been staying with these past few months. Like most nights, we were hanging out with a component of Joanie’s large group of mates. On my left was Dex, an American who was dating Mei. Mei was close with Darcy, sitting opposite Dex, and next to Joanie, who was wedged in between her and Xander, Darcy’s new boyfriend. At the end of the booth, sitting tucked into Xander’s side, was Darcy.

I flicked my gaze away from Liam’s retreating back and it clashed with my sister’s. I didn’t like the way she was studying me . . . as though she’d suddenly guessed how unhappy I was. I flashed her a smile, faking it. “You okay?”

“I’m okay.”

“I think Liam fancies you, Rain,” Joanie suddenly said, breaking the intense staring match between my sister and me.

Darcy smiled, a genuine one. “Everyone fancies Rain.”

“You’re one to talk,” Joanie scoffed, and I detected the very real jealousy in her tone and in her eyes as she looked away from my sister.

Darcy sensed it, too, caught my eye, and made a face at me.

I bit my lip, trying not to laugh.

Xander caught the interplay between us and I saw a small smile flash across his face.

My sister was gorgeous. We both had dark, almost black hair, but where I had big dark brown eyes, Darcy had tip-tilted eyes so blue they were like the aqua waters that surrounded Santorini. The blue only stood out more against the long black lashes that framed her eyes. They were stunning eyes. Her features were also more refined than mine, more aristocratic. Plus she was smaller in height and curvier than me. Gorgeous.


And strong.

She’d proven how strong.

I was so damn proud of her, and as miserable as I was without Craig, I loved that I got to be with my sister again. More than that, I loved that I got the chance to see how much she’d learned from her mistakes. Xander was the complete opposite of Angus. He wasn’t a pretty boy by any means. In fact, except for his build (he was a very tall, very fit personal trainer), Xander wasn’t all that extraordinary looking. But as I got to know him, I saw the kind humor in his dark eyes and the charisma of a confident, down-to-earth man who looked at my sister like she was a goddess.

Most Popular