Being back in the office made me remember better times when Keith and I had been happier and most importantly together. This was one of the few places we could be ourselves and still connect, and one of the few where I felt as though we were meant to be together. No my marriage hadn’t been perfect but we had always been friends. I often wondered where we would have been if he hadn’t found me crying that day, so long ago.
Excerpt taken from Chapter 3
I had only been 16 at the time but I had a huge crush on Grant and been devastated when I caught him kissing his girlfriend. I couldn’t even remember her name anymore but that day had marked a new beginning for me and Keith and possibly the end as well. Keith had found me hiding my tears from the world behind one of the barrels of wine.
When he had asked what was wrong I told him my heart had been broken, he promised to make it right. Keith had then turned me and gave me my first kiss, needless to say we were caught and our mothers decided that the best course of action was to announce that we had an arranged marriage.
It was a few years later on the actual day of my graduation when I saw Grant again. He had grown from a spoiled teenager into a fierce man. He had come up to me from behind and had asked where he could find the Spoiled Heiress of Burundi Wines.
I had known he would be there but had no idea he would be nasty about it. Slowly I turned towards him and smiled innocently.
“I don’t know about spoiled, but I am the Heiress of Burundi Wines. Do I know you?”
“Ambrosia I didn’t realize, I mean I apologize for being so rude, I would never call you spoiled to your face at least on such an important day.” He smiled as though he was apologizing and though it had been years since I had seen him I didn’t buy it then and really don’t now.
“Why Grant I almost didn’t recognize you, I guess jet setting playboy fits your image. How are you?” He wanted to play politely nasty well I knew the rules.
“Jet setting playboy, well I must say that one was original, did you read it in some magazine this morning?”
“I could lie and say no, but why bother we both know the papers are right where you are concerned. I know you hate the fact I will be the owner of Burundi Wines one day but you should know that it would have never gone to you. Now if you will excuse me I have other things I would rather be doing.”
We didn’t speak for the rest of the day, and I had wondered if he had gone back to Paris. Later that night I found out differently… I had been walking in the Garden behind our home trying to accept the fact that Keith and I would be married shortly. I know I had agreed to it and he was a good friend but there was no real love between us.
Sitting down carefully on the ground, I grimaced as I felt the thorns from the roses poking me through the Silk Pajamas Mother had given me. Why she keeps assuming that I will prefer them over cotton I would never know. Carefully lifting up I gingerly pulled one of the thorns out when I heard someone laughing quietly behind me. Turning I groaned out loud and stared back at the man who was slowly becoming my own personal menace.
“Grant you really should sneak up a little more louder.”
What I know it didn’t make sense at the time, and still doesn’t today, but he just gets on my last nerve.
“Ah I was not sneaking up on anyone, I cannot help it if you are not mature enough to treat silk properly. What would your Mother say if she knew you were sitting on the ground in Silk? Better yet what would Keith say?”
“It’s really none of your business and you wouldn’t say anything to either of them. You are not supposed to even be here. Besides Keith would simply sit beside me or place me on his lap.”
I knew the mistake the second the words left my mouth when would I learn not to bait him? Grant’s eyes showed I was in trouble and was probably the only reason I didn’t shriek.
“Well then we wouldn’t want anyone to think I was not taking care of the Heiress.” With that he picked me up and settled us both down this time on the soft moss. Sitting in his lap had once been a fantasy but I was a married woman now or at least going to be in only a few days.
“Grant let me go right now. Its not right.” I may have controlled the squeak but I couldn’t hide the tremble now in my voice and cursed him for it.
“Why should I put you down, you marrying Keith doesn’t change anything other than the fact you will get the Winery faster. We both know it’s not a love match. Actually why are you two even getting married? I know that neither of our families believes in arranged marriages any more.”
“Oh really and why do you say that? Just because it’s the 20th century and arranged marriages may not be common, why wouldn’t you believe that mine is a farce?”
His grin went from his casual and normally cocky one, to one of something I didn’t know but almost recognized.
“Why of course I know our families no longer believe in them, since both your family and mine turned me down when I asked for them to arrange ours.”
I sat there still in his lap dumbfounded. When had this happened and why would my family say no? What did they know that I did not? I almost asked but instead acted as though I had known all along.
“Well though the bride normally doesn’t have a say so, but since I am the only child and heir, I was asked about your offer and turned them down flat. I don’t have time for boys, and you Grant though old enough in years, are still very much a Boy.”
“A boy, what the hell do you mean a boy?”
He grabbed my arms fiercely then and bent his head towards mine…
I don’t know what would have come next, because I heard my mother calling out my name.
Hissing I jerked free and called out to her. I looked down at Grant one last time before running back inside. That look stayed with me for a long time, it was a look of possession and I was the thing he was after.
Keith and I were married shortly after that night and though I still remember being held in Grant’s arms, I never turned away from my husband or what was expected of me.
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