He made her laugh.

A lot.

So far he’d only had eyes for Darcy.

And I liked him a heck of a lot for all of that.

I’d discovered, too, that the fateful phone call with Darcy, when she told me she’d started dreaming about Angus and what he did to her again after weeks of recovery, was due to Xander. He’d pursued her determinedly and his pursuit had opened Darcy’s wounds regarding Angus. It had been painful for her, but she definitely seemed to have healed as she came out on the other side of it. To my delight, my sister told me all about Xander’s “courtship” of her and how, despite how difficult she made it for him, he hadn’t given up until she’d given him a chance.

“I thought Liam was dating some German girl,” Mei piped in, pulling me from my Xander musings.

“I’m thinking he’d dump her for a shot at Rain,” Joanie cracked dryly.

“He’s hot,” Mei said.

I glanced at Darcy and could tell she silently agreed. She gave me that “you could do worse” look.

Was Liam hot? I hadn’t really paid attention. I glanced back at the bar and took in his tall, built body. He was in book publishing and he was a surfer. Smart and athletic. And he was the only Australian at the table. His accent was hot.

I could do worse.


But I’d also done better. I’d had Craig. Liam was some other girl’s Craig.

He wasn’t for me.

“I’m not interested,” I muttered, softening my words with an apologetic smile.

“I better warn him not to dump the German, then,” Dex cracked.

I laughed halfheartedly and unfortunately Darcy caught it. She narrowed her eyes in suspicion and I looked away.

My sister would never know about Craig, no matter what. I didn’t want her to know the choice I’d made.

* * *

For the next couple of days life in Sydney went on as usual. Darcy worked on designs for our upcoming fall season and I dealt with emails from our manufacturer in Newcastle back in the UK, and emails from our admin and tech support back home who dealt with accounts, customer inquiries, and the updating of our online clothing store.

I was lulled into a false sense of security with Darcy. I thought my secret safe from her.

Imagine my surprise then when I returned home from grabbing us takeout at a local Chinese to find Darcy sitting on my bed with my iPad mini in her hands.

The photos from my phone were on there.

She turned the iPad and I drew in a sharp breath at a photo of Craig and me. We were standing on a dock on Loch Lomond. It was a selfie of us with the Loch in the background. We were pressed cheek to cheek, smiling happily into the camera. It had been a wonderful day out together. We’d taken long walks, eaten at a lovely wee café, and at night Craig had taken me to a deserted tourist car park and we’d made out and felt each other up like teenagers in the back of his car.

The memories killed me.

I tried not to wince. “What are you doing?” I was angry at the invasion of my privacy—especially considering there were some photos on that iPad of the two of us kissing in bed together—but mostly I felt panic.

Darcy looked confused and hurt. “Is this Craig?”

My panic increased. “How do you know that?”

“Because we have mutual friends back in Edinburgh who, unlike my sister, were willing to tell me what the hell you’ve been up to these last few months.”


“Why didn’t you tell me about him?” She shook the iPad at me. “I’ve been worrying since you got here about why you were so fucking sad, hoping that it was just homesickness and that you’d get over it. But it was more than that. I could tell. So I called back home. Lucy said she barely heard from you the last few months you were in Scotland. She said you met some bartender called Craig and then fell off the radar.”

Weary, I slumped down in my computer chair. The flat didn’t have a third room I could use as an office so my bedroom was it. “His name is Craig Lanaghan.”

“And why don’t I know about him?”

Guilty at the hurt look on her face, I sighed. “You were in a bad place and I didn’t want to gloat about my new relationship.”

Her face flushed with anger. “Okay. Fine. How about telling me about him now? Now that you know I’m not in a bad place and have a wonderful man in my life?”

And so I did. I told her everything. About my plans for Angus and how it led me to Craig.

When I was finished, Darcy plopped back against my pillows, looking as exhausted as I felt. “I don’t even know where to start. Your misplaced need to avenge me or you leaving behind the man you love for me.”

“You come first,” I said automatically. “I promised myself I’d never let you down again.”

Darcy’s eyes widened. “Dear God, Rain, is that what this about?”

Feeling tears burn my eyes, I shook my head and looked at the floor. “I just didn’t want to lose you. And I would miss you too much if we were on the opposite sides of the world.”

“And what about him?”

I looked up and she was pointing at the picture again.

“I’ve never seen you like this,” she said, her voice filled with concern. “You love him. You miss him.”

“I’d miss you too.”

“But it’s different.” She shook her head. “Nothing will ever come between us. Nothing. Not a twenty-four-hour plane ride or an eleven-hour time difference. Nothing.” She held out her arm and turned it so I could see her tattoo.


It was tattooed on her right arm.

“Rain. I know you will always truly have my back, and I don’t need you here in person, throwing your life into upheaval, to prove it. You need to be in the same fucking country as the man you love.”

I gave a huff of sad laughter. “We made a clean break. I’m here now. I just need to move on.”

“No.” Darcy got up off the bed and strode toward me. She lowered to her haunches, staring me straight in the eye. “You need to go home to Craig Lanaghan.”


The noise in the pub was getting to him.

It was a Saturday afternoon and he was there with his mates to watch football. The place was packed but they were lucky enough to have found a table.

Jokes were cracked, lager was drunk, and hoots and yells and curse words were thrown at the large flat screen televisions on the walls.

Craig stared into his lager and wondered not for the first time in three weeks whether he would ever find something funny enough to laugh at again.

He felt a nudge on his shoulder and turned to look at Stevie, who was crammed in next to him. “Maybe you just need to get laid,” he offered, concern in his eyes.

Obviously Craig wasn’t doing a very good job of looking happy to be there.

Despite knowing Stevie’s words were well meaning, Craig scowled at him. “Is that what you’d do if Audrey left you? Fuck the first bird that came along?”

Stevie glowered back at him . . . but then he turned away and lifted his pint to his mouth, muttering, “Fair point.”

Craig sighed and pulled out his wallet. He put a twenty on the table beside Stevie. “Sorry. Have a few on me. I’m heading home before work.”

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