Tea & Comfort (Madrona Island Series Book 2)(8)By: Andrea Hurst
“Why would he ever leave you?” Jude asked.
“He didn’t know the real me or that I was sick. He knew me as the beautiful Darcy Deveraux at the top of my career. His parents disapproved of our engagement, and if they had met my family, that would have been the end.”
“Kyla, that’s not how love works,” Lily said. “He deserves to know the truth.”
“I guess I have no choice now,” Kyla said.
“Will he understand?” Lily asked.
Kyla met her friend’s eyes. “I don’t know. Would you?”
Luke parked on the gravel drive of the inn and unloaded his suitcases from the SUV. The rental car would do for now until he figured out the type of vehicle he would need for island living. The winery came with a truck, so he could use that, too. He surveyed his temporary lodgings: Madrona Island Bed & Breakfast. It was as he remembered it from the summer: a quaint place surrounded by woods on the backside and an expansive view of the water in front. So here he would stay for a little while.
The previous owners of his newly purchased Madrona Island Winery were completing the harvest with their crew before they moved out. Luke looked forward to working alongside them, picking the deep-purple grapes and beginning the process of soaking them. The property would soon be his, including the retail winery, cellars, vineyards, and a two-story log home with floor-to-ceiling windows. Not a neighbor in sight, only miles of cedars, pines, circling bald eagles, and grazing deer. Luke still couldn’t believe it was all his. Or would be in about a week.
Ian was his only friend on the island. He hoped that would change soon. Kyla…he was not sure if she was a friend or foe, but he was determined to find out. And now that he’d found the winery of his dreams, he was here to stay. He would get to the bottom of what had happened between them and then move on with his new life here.
Two years ago she had disappeared into thin air. All she’d left behind for him were two short sentences: “Don’t look for me. I’m sorry. ~Darcy.” She called herself Kyla now.
Those words were embedded into his brain and had ripped apart his heart. He didn’t know whom he hated more at that point: Kyla or his parents, who probably had a part in chasing her away.
A screen door slammed and jarred Luke from his reverie. A spry-looking elderly lady in jeans and a flannel shirt hurried down the front steps.
“Young man, are you going to check in or are you going to stand here all day?”
“I’m checking in.” He flashed her a smile.
Silver-grey hair contrasted the piercing blue eyes that had him pinned in place. She stood with her hands on her hips looking him up and down. “I remember you. You were at the grand opening in June.”
Luke half expected her to pull out a rifle and chase him off the property. Just what had Kyla said about him? Perhaps she had put up wanted pictures around town. Who knew what he was in for now?
“I’m checking in today. Just admiring the scenery first.”
“Betty’s the name. I live next door. Can I give you a hand with that bag? Mary’s making up the rooms.”
“I can manage. But thanks for the kind offer.” He held out his hand. “Luke. Nice to meet you.” Betty’s handshake was strong. Luke wasn’t sure he’d ever met anyone quite like Betty before.
She squinted and took one last look at him. “I think Ian’s in the office. He’ll help you out.”
“He’s expecting me.”
Betty nodded. “All right then. I’ll be heading off to McPhersons’ place across the way. I don’t work here, you know. Just a nosy neighbor.”
She was gone before he picked up his suitcase. That lady could really move.
Luke walked up the steps of the wraparound porch and knocked on the door.
“Hey, good to see you,” Ian said. He picked up Luke’s suitcase. “Come on in and I’ll show you around.”
Luke stepped into the parlor area. “Nice place. Very turn-of-the-century.”
“It belonged to Lily’s grandmother and has been in the family a long time.”
“And where are you living now?” Luke asked.
“Did you see the big ranch house across the field when you pulled in?”