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|Moonlight on Nightingale Way(On Dublin Street #6)(57) by Samantha Young|
“Oh, don’t worry. I’m grooming her to be just like me.” Ellie smiled at her husband.
Braden looked at Adam. “You’re right. The world is doomed.”
For whatever her reasons, Joss slipped me out of Ellie’s matchmaking clutches and guided me across the room in the opposite direction of James Llewellyn-Jones to refill my champagne.
Twenty minutes passed during which I was introduced to a bunch of people whose names I would never remember since my memory bank had been filled up on the names of the Carmichael & Co. Clan that evening. Ellie didn’t badger me about the lawyer she wanted me to meet, so I assumed she’d been talked down by either Jo or Joss, who both seemed strangely opinionated on the matter.
It was just a coincidence then that when I reached for the last vol-au-vent someone else did too.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” a masculine voice said, and I followed the hand that had been reaching for my pastry up to a pair of lovely gray eyes. They belonged to a good-looking man around my age. “I insist you have it,” he said, giving me a teasing smile.
I really wanted that vol-au-vent. “Then I insist I do too.”
He laughed, watching me as I took the snack and started to nibble at it.
“I’m James.” He continued to smile at me.
I swallowed the tasty little morsel, blinking rapidly. “Not Llewellyn-Jones?”
He raised an eyebrow. “I’m famous?”
I smiled weakly, searching the room for Ellie, who had obviously put him up to this. I found her, but instead of looking gleeful to see James talking to me, she looked stricken. She shot a look across the room at Jo, who was shaking her head in annoyance at her.
What the hell was going on with that lot?
“Is something the matter?” James said, looking over his shoulder to follow my gaze.
“No, not at all. Braden mentioned your name earlier. That’s how I knew who you were.”
“Saying only good things, I hope?”
I felt uncomfortable, awkward for some reason, like the two of us were under a magnifying glass. I did my best to hide the feeling. “Well, there was some mention of tax evasion and terrorism, but other than that…”
He grinned. “And can I ask what your name is?”
“Oh, it’s Grace.” I held out my hand. “It’s nice to meet you.”
His hand had just slid into mine when I felt this peculiar prickling sensation on the nape of my neck. Some instinct made me glance over my shoulder.
Logan stood in the doorway of the room, his eyes boring into me.
For a moment I was breathless as our gazes held across the room.
And then, just like that, he gave me that annoying chin nod of his before looking away. I followed him with my eyes as he strode across the room toward Braden. A number of other women followed him with their eyes as well. He cut quite the figure in his suit trousers and black shirt. He’d left the shirt open at the neck, and the sleeves were rolled up, displaying his tattoo.
“Do you know Logan?” James said, drawing my attention back to him.
I thought I did.
“Not very well.” I reached for my glass of champagne, suddenly not so very distracted from my worries.
“So what do you do, Grace?”
I let myself be carried away by the conversation, hoping that it would take me somewhere else for a while, but unfortunately it was too late. My chest ached so badly because I couldn’t manage to steer my thoughts away from either my mother, father, Sebastian, or Logan. The pain was only compounded when Logan came into my line of sight beyond James, and I saw him flirting with a pretty blond woman whose name I couldn’t remember.
I lowered my gaze, pretending to laugh at what the lawyer was saying. I didn’t know what he was saying. I could barely remember what he’d just said. There was a whooshing sound in my ears, and I felt like I was observing myself in this conversation from a distance.
I don’t know how I managed to last as long as I did, but suddenly the room was too warm, too loud, too everything. “I’m sorry,” I interrupted James. “Could you excuse me for just a minute? Sorry.” I spun around and walked away, moving through the crowd in the main living area of the town house. The hallway was packed with people, too, but when I glanced upstairs, all was silent and dark.
I knew it was a little intrusive, but I needed some peace and quiet for a moment, and Joss had relayed to me that her children were with Jo and Cam’s and Nate and Liv’s, being looked after by Olivia’s father, Mick, and his wife, Dee. They’d been cracking jokes about the two of them being brave to take on six kids for the evening.
While no one was paying attention, I went upstairs onto the first floor. Light from the moon pouring in through the large window on the front of the house illuminated my way, and I hurried into the first room I came to.
I left the door open a crack, allowing a little light into the room, and shapes leapt out at me in the darkness.
It was the nursery for Joss and Braden’s youngest, Ellie. She was only one year old. I walked quietly over to her crib and saw the night-light on the dresser beside it. When I switched it on, pale blue stars began dancing around the walls of the room as the night-light spun slowly around. Noting the large comfy-looking chair in the corner by the window, I zeroed in on it and sat down to catch my breath.
I stared at the stars circling the room so far above my reach and suddenly felt a bit like a cat trying to catch a beam of light in its paw. Why did I keep doing this? I wondered. Why did I keep letting my parents do this to me? Hurt me like this.