Page 42 of Hopeful Hearts

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“I needed to protect Austin. Everything I did was for him,” she quivered.

“I don’t know what to try next,” Brodie interrupted. “But I won’t give up. When it comes to Sophia, I’m as stubborn as they come.”

“I can see that about you. Good luck to you, I say.” Bert dipped his chin.

“If there’s anything we can do to help, you know where we are,” Susan added.

“You know Austin better than anyone else in the Bay. If you could talk to him or get any details about where I can find him, that would really help.”

“I’ll see what I can do. If you want to come back and try again next Friday, then you're welcome to,” Bert offered.

Susan’s frown lines deepened, but he didn’t seem to care.

“I’ll see you both,” Brodie stood to leave, and Bert followed him to the door.

Right before he opened it and ensured he was fully out of earshot of his wife, he murmured in Brodie’s ear. “I don’t know much, but I do know affairs such as this should be discussed man to man.”

Brodie nodded in agreement.

“Although he’s never shared his whereabouts with us. He’s called himself a roughneck a few times. It’s not much to go on, but if you're serious about finding Austin, I’ve a feeling you’ll be wasting your time if you’re looking on land. If I was you, I’d start by looking on the oil rig off Puffin Sands.”

He didn’t leave space for a reply. With a solid pat on Brodie’s shoulder, he shut the door behind him and traced a cross over his heart.


The days after the wedding raced by in a blur of sweet kisses and sleep. Sophia was fading fast, and she knew she needed to explain her plan to Brodie as soon as she got the chance to. So far, she had not found the words.

“What are you doing after treatment today?” Brodie grinned. “I was wondering if you could fit in a date with your loving husband.”

Sophia beamed. “I love hearing you say that.”

“Not as much as I love being able to say it.”

Sophia’s smile melted away at his words.

“What’s wrong?” Brodie’s voice was tense.

“I need to tell you something, and you're not going to like it. It’s a decision I made a long time ago and before I tell you, I want you to understand that there’s nothing you or anyone else can do to change my mind.”

“You say that like you know I’m going to want to change your mind.”

“That’s because I know you and your heart.”

“Then don’t say it. Whatever it is, it can wait until later.”

Sophia wriggled to position herself upright against the pillows on their bed and watched Brodie button up his shirt.

“There’s no good time or way to say this, Brodie. I’ve had enough.”

“Very funny.” He flashed her a relaxed smile and pointed a knowing finger at her. “There’s no way you’d break up with me. I’m too sexy and you know it.”

“You are dangerously sexy, but I’m serious. I’m thinking about stopping my treatment.”


“I can’t do it anymore. I don’t have it in me.”

“Yes, you do. I can come with you today. Fuck, I’ll give up work and come with you every day. We have savings. We can work something out.”