Page 48 of Hopeful Hearts

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Brodie nodded and followed them back down the stairs after he’d come up. They took a seat on a bench near to the dock and waited for the group to return.

“Hey, did you say you were looking for Austin Wright?” A guy from the floor above shouted down to them.

Both security guards glared at him, but that didn’t faze him a bit.

“Yeah, do you know him?”

“Aye. He’s long gone.”

“Where. Do you know where I can find him?” Brodie called up to the guy above in desperation.

“Transferred to another rig a couple of years ago. Haven’t heard any sight or sound from him since.”

Brodie nodded. “Thanks.”

“Up you get. Your boat’s here and don’t get any ideas about coming back,” one of the security guards warned as the other grasped his shoulder and Brodie shook him off.

“We wondered where you’d got to,” the leader of his group smiled as they all piled back onto the boat. He was obviously none the wiser that Brodie had missed the entire tour.

“Sorry, I must have taken a wrong turn,” he muttered as he stepped onto the boat.

There had been many low points in the last few months, but this one was a strong contender for the lowest.

What had he been thinking coming all the way out here and, more importantly, what was he going to do now?

He gritted his teeth and watched as the rig grew smaller in the distance and tried to come up with a plan of what to do next.

He felt like a message in a bottle lost at sea, drifting with no control over where it ended up.

When he closed his eyes for a second, the sea breeze skimmed over his cheeks and reminded him of his reason.

Huge hazel eyes. A touch as soft as rose petals and a laugh that he wished he could listen to every hour of every day.

Sophia was fading fast, and he would not lose her. If he had to search every oil rig in the world to find Austin, then he would do it.

He had never broken a promise to her yet, and he wasn’t about to now. Although he hadn’t technically promised he would return with a solution, he’d made the vow to himself and as they reached the shore; fresh sense of determination waved over him.


There was no knock at the door, so Sophia’s heart leapt out of her chest when she heard an unfamiliar voice in her hallway.

“Knock knock. Anyone home?”

“Who is it?” She didn’t really care. She asked out of politeness, but unless it was Brodie, there was no one she wanted to see.

“That’s where it gets complicated.” The man’s voice replied, and the hairs on the back of her neck bounced up.

She hadn’t locked the door and now there was a stranger in her house and the only weapon within her reach was a tv remote control. She grabbed it anyway, deciding it would be better than nothing.

An unrecognisable man entered her living room, yet there was something about him she found familiar. It prevented her from running away or calling out for help. He didn’t look as if he posed a threat to her. In fact, he looked as though he’d seen a ghost.

“Can I help you with something?” she offered. Maybe he needed help. It was unusual not to knock and wait before entering someone’s home, but perhaps he was desperate and had forgotten his manners.

“Sophia,” he spoke her name as though he’d said it a thousand times and his dark green eyes bore into hers with such intent that her entire body froze.

“Do I know you?” She didn’t recognize anything about him, and the lines etched into his forehead told her he wasn’t from the bay. No one in Lani Bay looked as stressed as he did.

Sure, there were day-to-day dramas but nothing ever happened that would cause such a haunted expression like this man had.

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