They shared one night of love.
When Kitty Barron and Rufe Cavanagh meet sixteen years later, Kitty wonders if they might have a second chance at happiness. Rufe is determined they will.
Kitty’s teenage daughter, Joy, and Rufe’s daughter, Lily, are school friends. While Joy embraces the idea of uniting their families, Lily burns with jealousy at the thought of sharing her father’s affection, and schemes to keep them apart.
When Joy and Lily go to London for a Season, they find that beneath the gaiety and excitement not everything or everybody is as it seems. Their romances bring problems that have far-reaching effects for Kitty and Rufe, and their happiness.
Can Kitty and Rufe withstand Lily’s manipulative efforts to keep them apart? Is their love strong enough?
Rufe recovered his composure. “We’ve been enjoying a walk, so I suppose I must say that you can do the same, as it’s such a lovely night. But don’t go beyond sight of the house.”
He stood aside to let them pass. “Off you go then. But don’t be too long. Mrs. Barron and I are going to have a nightcap. Come in to the drawing room and say goodnight when you come back.”
Lily scowled at Kitty, who put out her hand, and touched Joy briefly on the arm as she passed. “Don’t take Lily far, it’s getting late. I’ll see you when you come back.”
The girls swept down the steps and raced off along the path. Rufe held the door open for Kitty and followed her into the drawing room.
“Oh dear,” Kitty said, turning to him. “I’m afraid we’ve upset Lily.”
“Nonsense. She saw nothing to upset her. I simply escorted you up the steps.”
“Do you think she believed that?”
Rufe crossed the room and splashed brandy into two glasses. “If it comes up, which I doubt, I’ll make sure she understands it.” He handed her one of the drinks with a smile. “Now sit down, and we’ll have our nightcap very circumspectly, until our children are safely in bed.”
As Kitty sipped her drink, she worried that Lily had seen Rufe’s arm around her, and that it had upset her. Whatever would Lily think if she found out about their previous relationship? Or if they were to resume it? From the look on Lily’s face, Kitty didn’t believe she would be happy about it. For that matter, how would Joy feel? Oh dear, it’s all so difficult. Twisting the glass in her fingers, she watched the light reflecting from the crystal goblet.
“Kitty. What’s the matter?”
“I’m concerned at what the girls must be thinking.”
“We don’t have to worry about what they’re thinking. We’re their parents, and we don’t need their approval for our actions.”
“That’s all very well, but I don’t want either of them to be upset.”
“There’s nothing for them to be upset about.”
“But if they hadn’t come out just then…”
Rufe interrupted her. “If they hadn’t come out just then, you and I would now be discussing our feelings for each other, instead of our children’s feelings, and I would be much happier.”
He reached across and touched her hand. “No buts. When they’ve gone to bed, we can talk. For now, we just drink our nightcap.”
They had only minutes to wait before they heard the front door open and close, and the girls entered the room.
“Did you enjoy your moonlight walk?” Rufe asked them.
“Yes,” Joy replied. “We went down to the river. It looks beautiful at night. All silvery.”
“You looked as if you enjoyed your walk,” Lily added. “Did you go as far as the river?”
“Not quite,” Rufe answered. “And now it’s time you were in bed, young lady.”
“Would you like a glass of milk first?” Kitty asked.
“Yes, please,” Joy replied. “And some cake, too. How about you, Lily?”
Lily hesitated then nodded. “Yes, please.”
“No, don’t you bother, Mother,” Joy added, as Kitty started to rise. “We’ll go down to the kitchen, and I’ll get it. Then we’ll go to bed. Come on, Lily.”
When they had gone, Kitty and Rufe sipped at their drinks, and waited until they heard them go into Joy’s bedroom.
After listening for a few minutes, Rufe stood and came to stand in front of Kitty. Smiling down at her, he reached out his hands.
“Come with me.”
Kitty shook her head. “No, Rufe, I can’t.”
His smile faded. “You don’t want to?”
“It’s not that—it’s the girls. Lily looked daggers at me when she saw you had your arm around me.”
“She’s safely in bed by now, and Joy, too.”
“But what if they come out for something? What if they were to discover us together?”
“Kitty, darling, we can’t have our lives dictated by our children.”
“It would be too sudden for them—they’re still so young—they wouldn’t understand.”
Rufe dropped her hands and took a step back. His lips twisted wryly. “I see the magic hasn’t come back for you.”
“It’s not that. When we were outside, I felt all the old feelings, but now I’m too concerned about how the girls would feel. They’d both be shocked. We need to take more time.”
“And what about how I feel?” He frowned down at her. “Doesn’t that count?”
“Of course it counts, but we need to let them get used to the idea first, to accept that we both care for each other. Surely you can see that.”
“I can see that you put their feelings before mine.” His voice hardened. “If we were together, is that how it would always be?”
Kitty shook her head, a ball of misery forming inside her. “No, of course not. But we have to let them become accustomed to the idea first. We need to let them see gradually, that we care for each other.”
Rufe narrowed his eyes as he looked down at her. “So, you want me to woo you, do you? To court you like some lovesick young swain. Don’t you think we’re a bit old to be playing such games?”
“Is that what love is to you? A game?”
“You’re twisting my words, Kitty. That’s not what I meant.” He turned toward the door. “All right. I’ll play it your way. I’ll woo you. But don’t try my patience too far.”
With that, he turned and strode to the door. And slammed it behind him as he left.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kate Loveday grew up in a seaside suburb of Adelaide, South Australia, in a family with six brothers. Her two passions as a child were to spend as much time as possible at the beach, mostly with a couple of younger brothers in tow, and to curl up with a book.
Her love of books never left her, and she always wanted to write. But it was not until an extended caravan holiday around Australia with husband Peter that she began writing in earnest. She started with travel articles about places visited, and when these were accepted for publication by travel magazines, she began to think about writing a novel.
She now writes Australian contemporary and historical fiction, and has published six books. She says as long as her readers continue telling her, in reviews and emails, that they enjoy what she writes, she will continue doing so.
She loves chocolate, fine wines, dogs, music, and seeing new places.
In her past life she was a bookkeeper and a beauty therapist. Now she enjoys spending time with her husband, family, and friends… Oh yes…and reading and writing!