Tea & Comfort (Madrona Island Series Book 2)(2)

By: Andrea Hurst

A voice from behind them said, “Welcome, Luke. And who is this charming creature you have been hiding from us all summer?”

Luke turned. “Tyler, I would like to introduce you to the love of my life, Darcy Devereux.”

Tyler took Darcy’s hand and kissed it with a polished finesse. Debonair was the word that came to her mind to describe this silver-haired man wearing an impeccable summer suit with a salmon-colored tie.

“What a lucky man you are,” Tyler said. He turned to Darcy. “A familiar face, I’m sure. ZK chose his model well for his summer spread in Vogue.”

Darcy smiled. “Thank you.”

“You know the artist, Ian McPherson, of course, but his newest work is the best yet.”

“I’m looking forward to seeing it,” Darcy said.

Tyler motioned for them to follow him toward the bar. “We must get you some drinks. Tyra from the Tiki Bar is whipping up her luscious libations. Let’s get you something wild and daring.”

They tried to maneuver through the room, but a crowd of people swarmed Tyler and carried him off to the backyard, where chamber music filled the air.

Tyler waved back at them. “I’ll meet you at the bar.”

“Let’s get a drink,” Luke said, taking Darcy by the arm.

The bar featured tropical cocktails and was stocked with imported French champagne and assorted wines from the Pacific Northwest to honor the artist showing his work today. Luke pointed to a Pinot Noir from a well-known winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Glasses in hand, the couple followed the crowd as they admired the massive oil paintings that blended Native American and Asian flavors.

“Hey there, Luke, good to see you, man.”

Darcy turned to see a tall, dark, and very attractive man shaking hands with Luke. Even as in love as she was, she could still admire a good-looking man. He turned to her, his hand extended.

“I’m the artist causing all this fuss here today. Ian McPherson.”

His handshake was warm, his smile genuine. Humble was not a characteristic she saw much of in New York, and it immediately endeared him to her.

“Darcy Devereux. I can see why Luke admires your work.”

“Thank you.” Ian waved his hands around the party. “Tyler talked me into all of this. It is definitely not my style, but it does build the career.”

Luke put his arm around Darcy. “We’ll have to make it out to the end of the world you live in someday.”

“Well, it’s not exactly the end of the known world. Madrona Island is about an hour north of Seattle and quite civilized.”

“You live on an island?” Darcy asked.

“Sure do,” Ian said. “Covered in Madrona trees, rocky beaches, and snow-capped mountains in the distance. A few whale sightings and bald eagles circling thrown in, too.”

“Sounds like heaven,” Darcy said. She looked up at Luke; anywhere would be heaven with him. She wondered if there were any wineries on that Northwestern island. Somewhere the two of them could escape to someday and live happily ever after. At the pace she was going, she was tired all the time. Their dream of escaping somewhere faraway together sounded better and better. She sighed. It was a nice fantasy.

A well-dressed woman dripping in diamonds and gold took Ian’s arm and started pulling him away. “You must show me all the new paintings and help me decide which ones to buy for my summer cottage down the road.”

Ian spoke back over his shoulder, “Nice to meet you, Darcy. Hope to see you both this week.”

“Come on the boat with us tomorrow,” Luke yelled after him.

“Text me the time and I’ll be there,” Ian said, giving in to the patron’s persuasions and moving across the room.

“He is in high demand,” Darcy said, trying not to laugh.

Luke leaned in and kissed her. “Don’t get any ideas. You’re taken.”

Darcy raised an eyebrow at him.

They wandered around admiring a few more of Ian’s exquisite art pieces. When they reached the back of the house, Luke took her wine glass and placed it next to his on a side table.

“And now for the detour,” he said. “Are you ready to leave?”

Butterflies flickered in her stomach. He was being very mysterious. “The art is amazing, but I’m not in the market right now for a purchase. We can spend some time with Ian tomorrow on the boat. Let’s go.”

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