So last weekend, caught up in the craziness of life and deadlines, I totally skipped doing a Saturday snippet. You know what that means this week, right?
Yup! Three, count ‘em, THREE new snippets!! The “UNRAVELED” anthology is set to release in early November and will be the only time AHW10 will be released solo. At $.99, along with several other stories from big names like Julia Kent, Lauren Hawkeye and Opal Carew. I’ve had a peek at the ARC and, yowzers, those are some hawt stories!!
Meh, enough marketing! Let’s get to the fun parts, shall we?
“So you’re not going to tell me where we’re going?”
“Not even the slightest clue? A hint?”
I let out a breath. “You know I’m not a big fan of surprises nowadays.”
Jeremiah’s green eyes glittered like emeralds in the darkness as his lips turned up slowly into a sexy smile. “I think you’ll like this one.”
Swallowing, I hid my body’s reaction to his words by turning to look out the window of the limousine. Gone were the tall buildings and familiar New York City silhouettes I’d seen now for several months. Wherever this car was taking us was far outside the city limits. The countryside rose around us, spots of snow still dotting the landscape despite the warmer weather.
Jeremiah’s hand smoothed down my leg, giving my knee a squeeze. “We’re almost there.”
Almost where? I bit my tongue, however, as the headlights shone onto a tall set of gates that opened as we rounded the corner. Trees lined the winding driveway, dense enough to block out the setting sun. It seemed like forever before the stifling trees open up into a large roundabout leading up to the biggest house I’d ever seen.
My mouth dropped as I stared up at the structure. Mansion didn’t quite cut it: it looked more like a castle than a home. The building had at least four stories, with separate wings on each side. Stairs leading up to the door curved around the driveway, leading to large wood doors. The driver parked at the base and then opened our door as I continued to stare out.
“Would you like to see inside?”
The humor in Jeremiah’s voice finally got my attention, and I turned to see him holding a hand out toward me. He was as handsome as ever in a black shirt and pants, his hair pushed back on his head. A few dark locks still framed the strong face that I’d grown to adore. Taking his hand, I stepped out onto the driveway, staring again up the giant structure. “And I thought your Hamptons home was large,” I murmured.
The harsh, grating note in Jeremiah’s voice cut off Georgia’s gloat. Her lips tightened into a thin line, but Jeremiah continued before she could speak. “I’ve given you full ownership of the house Rufus left to me,” he said in a low, angry voice. “Keep it, sell it, I don’t care. Father treated you badly in his will, leaving you nothing. That is now fixed.”
“If I ever hear you bad-mouth Lucy in my presence again, I will make it clear to the world that any friends of yours are not friends of mine. I will cut you off, mother, as surely as Rufus ever did.”
I blinked at Jeremiah. He had never defended me quite so brutally before; usually, he had a resigned tolerance for his mother’s actions. Even Georgia seemed startled by his outburst, although she tried to gloss over his words. “I’m only looking out for your well-being,” she said after a terse silence, rearranging the napkin in her lap. Her eyes darted around, as if to see who was watching. “Must you raise your voice to me in public?”
“This lunch was meant to be just for Lucy and I,” Jeremiah continued. “I do not remember inviting you. I’ll make certain to tell the host as much when I make reservations from now on.”
Georgia went stiff, and then she threw her napkin onto the table. “I can tell when my presence is not wanted,” she said in a voice like ice.
*Yeah, right.* I snorted but didn’t say anything. Georgia leveled a glare at me, and then rested a cool expression on her son. “You choose this, this girl over your own family?”
“Good day, Mother.”
My apartment had always been tiny, but having grown used to Jeremiah’s penthouse, it looked practically miniscule now.
I wasn’t sure why I kept it at this point. Nearly all my nights were spent in Manhattan nowadays, falling asleep locked in Jeremiah’s arms. There wasn’t any place I’d rather be, so my insistence on keeping the tiny studio baffled both Jeremiah and myself. I’d barely even decorated, as if knowing my time here would be short, yet I couldn’t quite give it up.
Sitting down on the large papasan chair, I picked up the photo closest to me. My parents had been married by my age; their smiling faces stared up at me, recognizable to me despite their youth. They’d been gone nearly four years now, and I was only just now finally moving past their deaths. Still, sometimes I would have given anything to see them again, or ask their advice on questions I needed answered.
I sighed and set the picture back on the small table, leaning back in the wide chair. If I was being perfectly honest with myself, I knew why I kept this apartment. Too often in the last few years I’d been set adrift, forced suddenly to make my own way in a harsh world. My parents’ deaths had been the first blow; losing my family’s home had sent me into yet another tailspin. Combine that with the rollercoaster ride that was my dealings with the Hamilton family…
There was a home waiting for me in northern New York, a gift I had never expected to get. Except for one trip after Jeremiah came back into my life, however, I hadn’t gone to see it. Instead of giving me any joy, looking through the old house, which had been neglected by the previous tenants, had filled me with an aching sadness. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but without my family there, it was only a structure. There were memories in every nook and cranny, but seeing it only brought back the pain of their loss all over again.
Someone knocked on the door, startling me out of my reverie. Levering myself up from the chair, I padded across the studio and looked through the peephole, and then opened the door.
“I thought I’d find you here.”
I spread my arms wide. “Here I am.”
Jeremiah stepped inside, and then surveyed the small apartment. His eyes fell on the round papasan chair, and he quirked an eyebrow. “A new acquisition?”
“It’s comfortable.” The papasan chair was big, with more than enough room for me to curl up into a ball or lay spread eagle across it. I’d already napped in it, and had grown to appreciate the unwieldy piece of furniture. To prove my words, I sat down in the wide cushion, spreading my arms across the top. “See?”
Jeremiah didn’t take his eyes off me, but something in his gaze made me swallow. I squirmed as he walked over to me and, placing his arms on the wicker sides, leaned above me. “I can see some of its more entertaining uses,” he murmured, and my body tensed with anticipation.
As soon as I have links available for “UNRAVELED”/AHW10, I’ll be sure to post them!
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