Page 87 of Hopeful Hearts

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Paige stood up from her sun lounger. Her long legs looked endless in her high-rise bikini. She reached around her neck and undid the sapphire necklace that hung there.

The girls watched on as she walked along the row of sun loungers until she reached Lennon.

“Here,” she dropped the necklace and Lennon caught it, instinctively.

“You know I’d buy your tickets if my allowance hadn’t been cut off. This should cover at least the flights if you sell it.”

“I can’t sell your necklace; Paige don’t be crazy.”

“Why not? I don’t need it. I’ve got enough jewellery to kit the Kardashians out for a Met gala. I’m not going to miss this one.”

“Doesn’t it have sentimental value?” Callie asked.

“Nope. I couldn’t even tell you who bought it for me. It will give me way more pleasure to know that it meant you were able to go on your trip than it ever could give me by wearing it. It’s no big deal.”

“It’s a huge deal. Thanks so much, Paige, you’re the best.” Lennon jumped up to hug her and Paige rolled her eyes underneath her sunglasses.

“Alright, enough mushy stuff girls,” she wriggled herself free and strode back to her sun lounger like her huge gift was an everyday occurrence.


The last person Sophia wanted to see was Austin. After the way he’d been with her parents, Emmet and even with her, she’d had enough of him and was beginning to doubt they could ever salvage a sibling relationship.

She was tired and hungry after her day at the beach, so was less than overjoyed to find him sitting on her front porch when she got home. Her eyes flew to Callie’s as they pulled up and came to a stop.

“I’ve got loads to do this afternoon. Do you mind if I don’t come in?” she mumbled.

“It’s fine. I’ll see you,” Sophia replied.

She stepped out of the passenger seat of her car and Austin stood to greet her.

Aside from being tall, he didn’t look a bit like Emmet. His features were darker and although he tried to portray confidence in his bold stance, Sophia decided it was Emmet who was the more confident of the two. Quietly. In his own gentle, laid-back way. He backed himself, and she admired that about him.

“Can we talk?” Austin asked.


He ran his fingers through his dark waves and took a deep breath, as though he wasn’t sure where or how to start. “I couldn’t hack the hospital.”

“So, I saw.”

“I don’t know how you dealt with it day after day. The place drove me crazy.”

“It wasn’t much fun for me either.” Sophia arched a brow.

“I’m glad you’re out of there. Onwards and upwards and all that good stuff.”

“Thanks to you,” she said.

“It was the right thing to do. Contrary to popular belief around here, I’m not a total jerk.”

“No one thinks that. Everyone is desperate to get to know you. What you did changed everything. Not just for me, but for Mum and Dad. For Brodie and Emmet, too. You made a lot of people happy and then did a disappearing act again. Where have you been?”


“Around where?”

He shifted, and Sophia tracked his gaze to his truck.

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