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|Moonlight on Nightingale Way(On Dublin Street #6)(85) by Samantha Young|
“On the contrary, I have a healthy respect for your mother.” Looking saddened, he sat down on the arm of my sofa. “I just wished you’d inherited her realism. You get hurt so easily, Gracelyn. It’s hard to watch.”
“My name is just Grace,” I reminded him coldly.
He nodded. “Grace.”
“Why are you here?”
The sadness melted just enough for that steely determination of his to shine through. “I’m here to convince you to come home. The media have shown some interest in the fact that you’re not home, standing vigil at your mother’s bedside.”
I sneered. “Of course. It’s all about appearances with you.”
He had the audacity to look hurt. “I am the head of a media company. Image is everything. But I do need you for more than that. She’s sick, and I don’t know what to do.”
Try as I might, I couldn’t ignore the niggle of sympathy I felt or the ever-increasing guilt. “Is she dying?”
“She’s fighting it. But it’s a difficult battle. Sebastian has stepped up to take a more hands-on role in the company so I can concentrate on getting your mother the best treatment possible.”
I crossed the room, my legs shaking too much to stand any longer. Once I was seated across from him, I somehow found the courage to ask the question I wasn’t sure I wanted the answer to. “Has she asked for me?”
I received only silence as my father looked at the floor.
“That would be a ‘no,’ then.” I closed my eyes, fighting the pain of her rejection. Like always.
“I am asking you.” He stared me straight in the eye and gave me that coaxing smile he’d always given me when he was intent on getting me to do whatever he wanted. “I have missed you.”
I eyed him suspiciously. “I never would have known that what with all the e-mails, calls, and cards you sent over the last seven years.”
He frowned, seeming perturbed by my stubbornness. “The lack of communication goes both ways.”
“No, it doesn’t. I was betrayed by my mother, and you and Sebastian brushed it off like I was a child who needed to grow up and understand the ways of the world – as though betrayal is just a part of life. Well, it’s not. I know that now. I have people who care about me, and they would never betray me like she did. Like you all did.”
My father cocked his head to the side in thought. “Are you talking about this man, this neighbor of yours? Logan MacLeod. The ex-convict and his long-lost child.”
I sat back, the panic rising within me again. “You’ve been looking into me?”
“Of course I have. You’re my daughter. I didn’t let you go off into the world entirely by yourself. You needed space from this family and I’ve given it to you, but I’ve also been watching over you. I know all about you. I know about the rugby player, Aidan Ramage, and his fiancée, Juno. Canadian, yes? And, of course, your best friend from college, Chloe. I know you all go to Skye every year for a weekend in the summer and Paris for a weekend in the winter. I know you, Grace.”
“That doesn’t mean you know me.”
But I was also completely thrown off-balance by the news that he had always been looking out for me. Looking out for me or into me – the result was the same. My father hadn’t completely abandoned me.
I didn’t know how to feel about that.
“I know you well enough to know you’ve been taken in by an ex-con.” He stood up, towering over me, no longer the weary father but the intimidating businessman. “I know you enough to know betrayal is something you cannot stand for. You’ve abandoned your family over it. And now you’re opposed to returning to us because of this Logan and his daughter. I think it’s important, then, that you know he’s manipulating you. He’s not what you think he is.”
“Enough!” I jumped to my feet, my anger boiling in my blood.
My father flinched back, shocked that I would use that tone with him.
Shocked, because he was wrong.
He did not know me.
I wasn’t afraid anymore that speaking out would turn him away from me. “You don’t know the first thing about Logan.”
“Oh. Do you?” He stepped toward me, his cheeks reddening with his rising temper. “Why don’t you ask him about the American blonde he’s sleeping with? Ask him why she was at his club during the day while he was working there. Twice. This week.”
It was like a punch to the gut. It actually winded me.
How did my father know about the American? He could only know if what he was saying was true.
But surely there was an explanation…
“Get out,” I gasped, slumping down onto my sofa, curling into myself for protection.
“All right.” His voice was soft with sympathy now, real or faked. “But once you see reason, you can find me at the Balmoral Hotel. I’m staying there until you agree to come home with me.”
It was an understatement to say my father had sucked all of the happiness out of my flat when he’d left. It was like my family had radar or something!
“Oh, look, Grace is truly happy. Let’s go shit all over it!”
I barely moved from my sofa for the rest of the day as I went over and over everything my father had said. The confusion, the guilt, the sadness… it was all so much.
I needed to talk to Logan.
That afternoon, around dinnertime, he and Maia walked into my flat together. I knew Maia had been going to a friend’s house after the YA program and that Logan had agreed to pick her up after his work. That meant I’d been stewing, and knowing that I’d have to stew for hours, until this moment.