Authors: Caidan Trubel
Tags: #Romance, #Gothic, #Fiction
Michael took the glass from my shaking hand. “No. He won’t. He doesn’t know what happened yet. I think you should leave it until tomorrow.”
“I know she’s your sister, Michael, and you won’t believe it, but she did try to kill me. She tried to push me out...” I looked at the window and shuddered.
Michael put an arm around my shoulders and squeezed. “You’re safe now. I won’t let anything happen to you.”
“You don’t believe me.”
Michael sighed. “I do, Lucy. I saw her. I saw you both struggling from the street below.” He gently kissed my forehead. “I think you should try to get some sleep now.”
He wrapped his arms around me and pulled me close. “I won’t leave you.”
I rested my head on his shoulder. “Promise?”
He cupped my face in his hands and lightly kissed my lips. “I promise. You’re stuck with me, now.”
I kissed him back, hungrily, eager to forget everything but how it felt to be close to him.
“You should be the one leaving,” he murmured against my lips.
“What?” I pulled back.
“You should get as far away from my crazy family as you can”
I stared up at him and saw how vulnerable he was. He was afraid I would leave him. His veil of confidence had fallen away and now, for the first time, I was seeing him anxious and afraid, and I knew he cared about me. I knew he didn’t want me to leave.
He looked down at me, his eyes searching mine for the answer he needed, waiting for me to accept or reject him.
I reached up and touched his cheek. “I won’t leave you, Michael.”
And I knew I wouldn’t. I knew, despite everything that had happened, I would never run away from Michael as long as he still wanted me.
I pushed open the door with my shoulder, careful not to spill the two takeaway coffees I carried. The smell of paint, and the sight of Michael in paint-splattered jeans and t-shirt made me smile.
“You’re supposed to put it on the walls, not your clothes,” I said.
He moved forward, arms open to hug me, grinning.
I backed away. “Don’t even think about it.”
“Oh, all right. I’ll settle for the coffee. I’m parched.”
“You could have gone and got one yourself.”
“My boss is a slave driver,” he said, winking at me. “She wouldn’t let me have the time off.”
I handed him a coffee. “Look at the mess,” I said giving him a mock stern look. “You’re supposed to be a painter.”
“Walls are not my speciality. I’m better on canvas,” he said, and ignoring my protests, he set both our coffees down on the counter and pulled me into a hug.
I kissed him, then pulled away.
“How did it go this morning?” I asked.
I had been worrying about his visit to see Caroline in the secure psychiatric hospital all day.
Michael sighed, picked up his coffee and took a sip. “Not too bad. She seemed okay. She asked after you.”
“She’s off cocaine now, and she looks more like her old self.” Michael took another sip of coffee. “You could visit.”
I shook my head. “No. Not yet. I’m not ready for that.”
I’d spent time with Michael’s parents and Jake, twice over the past six months. It wasn’t exactly easy for any of us, but I was trying for Michael’s sake.
Michael nodded. “She wanted me to thank you for not telling the police she attacked you.”
I shrugged. Caroline would be in prison for fifteen years for the manslaughter of Gwen. Whatever time she got for attacking me would be small change in comparison.
“I didn’t do it for Caroline,” I said.
I rested my head against his chest.
He stroked my hair and then said, “I almost forgot. Something came in the post for you today. I have a pretty good idea what it is.” He reached into the back pocket of his jeans and handed me a small white envelope.
I opened it and pulled out a white card decorated with silver bells. “Ah, it’s Freddie’s wedding invitation.” I ran a finger over the silver embossed pattern. “I’m so glad he and Bess finally got together.”
“We better think about our wedding invitations soon.”
I groaned. “Maybe we should elope.”
“No chance. Freddie would never forgive you.”
Michael stepped back and looked around the room. “It’s looking good, isn’t it?”
I had to agree. With the walls painted, the place looked fresher and brighter, the perfect backdrop for all the artwork we would hang on the walls. It used to be a sweet shop, with two flats above the shop, but it needed a lot of work.
We needed money coming in while we carried out the repairs, so I stayed on at my old job, while Michael worked on the renovations. The gallery would be on the ground floor, we would live on the first floor, and Michael’s studio, with stunning views of Edinburgh, would be on the second floor.
It was better than good.
“It’s perfect,” I said.
About Caidan Trubel
I’ve always loved books. I adore exploring new characters and worlds, and a number of story ideas of my own were forever rolling around in my head. Writing them down seemed to be the next logical step.
So I did.
Last year, I sat down and wrote Staverton. To my surprise, I actually finished writing the story. I just had to know how it ended. Now I am hard at work on my next book!
Stay updated and find out about my new books by adding your name to my
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My thanks to all the people who read Staverton and gave helpful suggestions, especially my mother, Joan. Thanks also to Nanci who helped to polish the manuscript. And to Chris, who, as always, supported me despite the odds.