Tea & Comfort (Madrona Island Series Book 2)(6)

By: Andrea Hurst



Jude laughed. “How old is she?”

“She just graduated from UC Santa Cruz, so she’s only twenty-two. But she has lots of gardening experience and is strong, healthy, and willing to work in the field and shop.”

“Glad you found her. When does she start?” Jude asked.

“This week. The sooner the better.”

Their conversation was interrupted with the ringing of Jude’s cell phone. “I bet it’s Ryan wondering where I am.” She held up her phone. “It’s Lily.” Jude answered, “And how is our blissful newlywed today?”

Kyla watched Jude’s smile fade.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

“Hold on, Lily. I’m sitting right here with Kyla. I’ll put you on speaker phone.”

“I’m sorry, Kyla,” Lily said. “It’s all Ian’s fault.”

“What’s his fault?”

“Without asking me, he told Mary to book Luke at our bed and breakfast until his winery closes escrow. I know how you feel about the man, but he’s Ian’s friend and he insists it’s the right thing to do.”

“Traitor,” Jude said.

Kyla remained quiet. Her stomach twisted in knots. “For how long?”

The silence rang in the room and echoed in Kyla’s head.

“How long, Lily?”

“I don’t know yet. Ian said he would fill me in tonight. Mary feels terrible. As the resident innkeeper she still checks with us on any major decisions.”

Jude grabbed the phone and switched off the speaker. “Call us as soon as you know. And find out everything.” She ended the call and put the phone back in her purse. “I guess he’s here to stay.”

“And he’s bought the Madrona Winery.” Kyla could barely get the words out. Her hands were numb and her legs were following. She braced herself against the table for support. “I don’t blame Ian for letting Luke stay at the B&B. You know they were buddies in New York. Before…”

Jude pulled her Scottish wool shawl tight around her. “Let’s get out of here. Close the shop early. Ryan can prep for dinner service without me at the café. I’ll text Lily and tell her we’re on our way. We’ll go pick her up and take a good, long walk on the bluff.”

“Might as well,” Kyla said, standing up. “I’m sure not going to be able to concentrate around here now.” Kyla zipped up her forest-green fleece jacket. Some fresh air might clear her racing mind. She turned the sign on the door from an open sunflower to a closed rose bud on the other side, locked up, and dimmed the lights.

“I’ll drive,” Jude said. “Lily is waiting at the B&B. Luke’s over at their house and she doesn’t want to see him right now.”

Kyla tried to slow her breath while Jude’s Subaru station wagon headed south on the main highway that divided the island. What could she do? She rubbed the back of her neck, trying to stave off a headache. Out. She wanted out. The island was too small for both of them. Luke would find out everything now. She couldn’t bear it.

Mercifully, Lily was waiting on the porch when they pulled up to the B&B. The rolling green lawn that sloped down toward the Puget Sound was turning brown in spots without the summer sun to sustain it. Gone were the lush flower gardens, and only a few herbs remained behind. In the spring, the garden would come to life again. Kyla wondered if she’d still be here to see it.

Lily, her honey-blonde hair catching in the breeze, hurried down the path toward them. “Hi, everyone,” she called out.

Through the car window, Kyla saw Grandpa John playing fetch in the field with Gretel, his friendly black dog. She rolled the window down and waved.

He walked over, the dog at his heels.

“You girls playing hooky today?” he asked.

Grandpa John always made Kyla smile. “It was a slow day, so I closed early,” she replied. For a minute, she wanted to jump out and cry on his shoulder. It was times like this it would be nice to have a father to turn to.

“Well, you girls have fun,” he said with a wink. He looked back at his house. “Looks like Ian’s in the dog house. I’m giving him some space.”

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