Tea & Comfort (Madrona Island Series Book 2)(7)

By: Andrea Hurst



“I don’t blame you,” Lily said.

Grandpa John turned and tossed the tennis ball for Gretel, who shot after it at record speed.

Lily slid into the back seat. “Are you all right?” she asked.

Kyla turned to look at her. “What do you think?”

Lily leaned toward her. “I want you to know, Ian and I had our first fight over this. I’m so sorry.”

Jude gunned the engine. “And exactly why did Ian offer hospitality to this rake?”

“Ian said we might as well start off as friends and see just what Luke’s plans are, instead of being surprised afterwards. He also said Luke is a good guy.”

Jude backed out slowly and drove the back road to the state park. “Maybe that is wise. Know your enemy and all.”

“He’s not my enemy,” Kyla snapped.

The only sound in the car for the next three miles was the hum of the tires on the asphalt.

***

Sun reflected off the steep, sandy bluff and washed across the rocky beach below. Kyla and her friends navigated the driftwood-lined path toward the water. Seagulls lined up like little soldiers at the water’s edge, as if waiting for a sign to take flight.

The threesome walked along, skirting the incoming tide. A double-decker ferryboat glided across the watery passage to its destination on the peninsula. Kyla unzipped her jacket. Even with the crisp fall breeze, the sun felt warm and soothing. She kicked a wet pebble and watched it glisten in the light.

“How about we take a seat and enjoy the view,” Jude said. She pointed to a bleached white tree trunk that had washed ashore some time ago.

“Sounds good to me,” Lily said.

Kyla followed and joined them on the driftwood bench. She faced the sound and took a deep breath. Water and sky filled her and calmed her spirit. A whisper in the tides called her to surrender. Let go. It was time to stop running. This was her island now.

Her loyal friends waited for her to talk and tell them why Luke had come back. If he was not her enemy, who was he? She had no idea now. “Thanks for being here, you two.”

Jude, always the mama lion, put her arm around Kyla’s shoulder. “We’re here for you. Just tell me one thing, is he dangerous? Should we call the sheriff?”

“Hardly,” Kyla said with a grin. “Only his charm is deadly. It’s my heart that may betray me.”

Lily nodded. “And sorry again about Ian.”

“I about lost it today when you called Jude, but I’m okay now,” Kyla said. Her friends stared at her with concerned expressions. “Ian’s a good guy, Lily. Don’t be angry with him. He was Luke’s friend first and sold art to him long before I met him. If it hadn’t been for Ian telling me at an art opening in New York about this remote little island in the sound, I wouldn’t be here myself.”

“Thanks,” Lily said. “Ian never turns his back on his friends. I should have trusted his choices.”

Kyla sighed. “Back when I left New York—ran away is more accurate—I turned my back on my family and my engagement to Luke. I couldn’t face the overwhelming diagnosis of lupus and needed some time alone. Then I remembered Ian and Madrona Island.”

“I wondered how you found us,” Jude said. “You were never very forthcoming. Part of your mystique and charm.”

Kyla watched the low waves crash on the moist sand and inch slowly toward their feet. Soon it would be high tide. Always the same, day after day. A lone seagull screeched as it soared over their heads. Kyla stood and brushed the sand off her jeans. A brown face peeked at her from out in the water. “A seal,” she said, walking closer.

Lily and Jude moved alongside her.

“And look, there are grey porpoises out there. See the little dorsal fin popping in and out?” Lily said.

“I suppose Luke will want to know the truth now. Why I left him without a word right after the proposal. I guess I owe him that.”

“What will you tell him?” Lily asked.

“The same thing I need to tell you right now. I loved Luke so much but I couldn’t face the possibility of him leaving me.” Kyla stared at the sand. She’d been a coward and had thought only of herself. Perhaps she was not capable of love.

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