Read Welcome to Paradise Online

Authors: Jill Tahourdin

Tags: #Harlequin Romance 1967

Welcome to Paradise (20 page)

He waited.

“You were saying
...”
he encouraged. He was looking at her in that half-humorous, questioning way, waiting for her to go on.

She said in a desperate, breathless rush,
“I’ve got something to tell you. You said it was over to me. That you would wait till I told you—didn’t you?”

“Yes, I did. Well?”

Colour tinged her face to the hue of that rose Richard liked so much.

“I—I’m afraid—I think I’ve fallen in love with you,” she said, very low. Her eyes fell. Richard put a finger under her chin and lifted it. But she kept her lashes down; small dark curtains hiding her tell-tale eyes.

“You
think!”
he repeated. “You’re not sure?”

“I think I’m sure.”

Richard put both arms round her. Bending his head, he kissed her on the mouth. It was a very gentle, rather tentative kiss—but it did something to Alix. Her arms crept up and round his neck. She tilted her head till her eyes met his.

“I love you so much that if you don’t take me with you when you go, it’ll break my heart entirely,” she said bravely. “There, I’ve said it. Is that enough?”

“It’s everything I wanted to hear,” Richard said, and kissed her again.

This time there was nothing tentative about the kiss. It was rapture and excitement and thrill, and a leaping of the heart and a rushing of the blood in the veins. It was grand and glorious, as Alix had known it ought to be
...

When he stopped kissing her she drew a deep breath. She said with a shaky laugh, “I suppose now I’ve got a dirty face too. Oh, Richard, I do love you—dirty face and all.”

He said, “My darling girl.”

“If I hadn’t told you—before you left,” Alix asked a little later, “what would you have done?”

He flashed a smile at her.

“I was going to cheat. I was going to say you’d already told me. Do you remember at the Ball, when I found you with Gore, you said, ‘Take me away, Richard?’ I was going to hold you to that.”

She began to laugh, shakily still.

“So I needn’t have proposed at all?”

He ruffled her already ruffled hair.

“You’ll never know how happy I am, Alix, that you did,” he said.

Nelson, thrusting a cold nose into her hand, brought them down to earth.

“Good lord, I promised to take him over to Lady Merrick,” Richard exclaimed. “We’d better take
him
now.”

Alix’s laughter was gay, bubbling, no longer shaky, as she took hold of Nelson’s lead.

“It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good, don’t they say?” she said as they left. “If it hadn’t been for this fire, should I ever have
dared
to tell Aunt Drusilla that I was going to marry
Andrew Herrold’s
?”

Richard’s right arm clipped her slender waist and held her close to his side. She saw that he was laughing too.

“Let’s go and break the news to her and my father now, my sweet,” he said; and bending, kissed her again, on the tip of her nose—for love and for luck.

Postscript
.—Six months later. Letter from Lady Merrick, of Paradise, the Cape, to Mrs. Richard Herrold, of Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia.

My dearest Alix,

Here I am, back in Paradise after a wonderful six months with the family at Home. Devonshire was delightful—even in winter, with occasional snow. Your mother and Daphne were delighted about your marriage, and still more when your news came, just before I left, about the expected babe.

I’m staying temporarily—would you believe it?—in a de luxe caravan in the Park. This while the land is being cleared and the new house built. I had lots of offers of hospitality—but you know how independent I am. And I never cared much for hotels.

I’ve got news for you, my dear, that’s going to shake you to the core. I’m getting married too. No, not to dear old James Gurney, though he asked me again, bless him, just after the fire. No

It’s to

hold your breath, Alix, this is something you’d never have expected to happen in a thousand years—it’s to Andrew Herrold. Tornado Andrew himself. We found out, after you two left, how very much we were each other’s kind of person. And he says he feels the need of a wife in his home—and I told you before, didn’t I?—that I felt the need of a man about the house. And Valerie and the two boys seem to like the idea, so everyone is pleased.

It caused a sensation in Paradise, as you can imagine

but Paradise has grown used to sensations by now.

Andrew has managed to change all my ideas about
that
too. I’m growing as keen on
the
new Country Club, the Lido and even
the
floating restaurant for the gourmets and connoisseurs, as Andrew himself.

And I can’t wait to live in the new home that Richard so cleverly designed.

You’ll have heard, I suppose, that Eric Gore got a long sentence, with deportation at the end of it. One realises now, of course, why he didn’t want an invasion of visitors in Paradise—afraid somebody might stumble on his secret. Which you and Richard so fortunately did! But we don’t—do we?—want to think about Eric Gore any more. .

My love to you both. I’d like to be godmother; and if the baby is a girl, it would be nice if her middle name could be Drusilla. If a boy—well, isn’t Andrew about the nicest name a male child could have?

Next time I write, dear, I shall be your mother-in
-
law as well as your aunt. Nelson, who was watching as I wrote that, seemed to think it very funny. I suppose it is—but nice too. Bless you both,

Your ever-loving,

Drusilla.

THE
END

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