“I’m going to say goodnight now. We both have to get up early in the morning. I’ll be in touch soon…so we can go on our first date.”
She wrinkled her nose and chuckled. “First date? We’ve been on lots of dates.”
“This is a whole new chapter for us, Morgan. We’re starting from scratch. I think the past is very important, but it shouldn’t define this new chapter in our lives. The world is our oyster.”
As Luke bid her goodnight and began walking toward the end of her driveway where he’d parked his car, Morgan stood where he’d left her, watching his every move until he disappeared into the velvety night. A few seconds later she saw his headlights blink on, followed by the slight roar of his engine as he sped off.
She looked over at her mother’s house. It was bathed in darkness. A soft light emanating from the upstairs window caught her attention. The slight movement of a curtain left her wondering if Mama hadn’t been watching her interlude with Luke. As an only child, Morgan had been protected and watched over by her mother since she was a baby. Although Pearl Lucas was warm and loving, she could also be fiercely protective of her daughter. She could only imagine her mother’s reaction when she discovered that she was involved with one of the heirs to the Duvall fortune. Something told Morgan that Mama had just stumbled upon her secret when she’d looked out of her bedroom window.
The drive home from Morgan’s cottage felt surreal to Luke. He’d done it! He’d taken a huge step in getting back together with Morgan. It didn’t matter to him that he’d worn his heart on his sleeve. There could be no doubt now in Morgan’s mind that he was in love with her. Head-over-heels, madly, passionately in love with her.
It had been one of his major regrets about their past relationship. He’d never told her that he loved her. And even though he’d been hoping to finally hear Morgan say those words back to him, he understood that she had to go at her own pace. It would make it all the sweeter when she finally said those words to him.
Dear Lord. Thank you for giving me the courage to speak my mind and go after what I want. For so long I’ve been burying my feelings and yearning to be with her. Now, I know it’s possible. It’s within reach.
Lord, please stay with me on this journey. I know Morgan loves me. I can see it in her eyes when she looks at me. I feel it when I hold her in my arms. But she’s still not ready. Grant me the patience to stay by her side and wait for her to feel safe enough to love me with all of her heart and soul.
“Loving someone does entail a lot of hard work. And faith. And prayer. It’s not all roses and moonlight.”
“Murphy’s Law in full effect,” Morgan grumbled as she shut the oven door with a bang. “Whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Or something like that!” she muttered. She immediately felt badly about slamming the stove door. This vintage stove was precious to her. It wasn’t the stove’s fault that the quiches had burnt. Well, maybe it was a little bit the stove’s fault since something seemed to be a little hinky with it today. Ugh. Which meant that she would have to schedule an emergency service repair visit. Stoves and chefs and food went together like peanut butter, jelly and bread. It was near impossible to feed a resort full of hungry guests with a temperamental stove.
Note to self. Call a stove repair service. Immediately.
“Hey there, Morgan.” She whirled around at the sound of his voice. She’d know it anywhere. The rich timbre of Luke’s voice washed over her like a welcoming rain in summer. She’d been waiting the past few days to hear from him and it had been eating her up a little bit inside. As a result, all of her doubts had quickly risen to the surface.
He’d entered the kitchen soundlessly, and until he’d spoken, Morgan had been so wrapped up in her cooking issues that she had been oblivious.
He was standing a few feet away from her looking ruggedly handsome. The sight of him in her kitchen left her a little bit speechless. This was the second time in the
past few days that Luke had come to find her in her natural habitat. It brought her all the way back to when they were kids and she’d given him cupcakes after he’d defended her honor. There was no way of ignoring the way her pulse skittered at the sight of him.
For a moment she just wanted to savor him without uttering a single word. He appealed to her on every level. His lean, athletic build. The sandy blond hair and hazel eyes that seemed to change color every now and again. Some days they looked brown, while the very next day they appeared green.
Luke was wearing a pair of gray slacks and a white long-sleeved business shirt that could probably get messed up just by standing in a kitchen. He looked utterly gorgeous.
He’d shown up here in the middle of her crisis, which had to be a sign of something. Men like Luke always rode to the rescue and made things better, didn’t they? It was silly of her to think that Luke could fix the disastrous situation unfolding in her kitchen. She was a trained chef and she wasn’t even certain she could save the day at this point.
“How’s it going?” Luke asked.
Humph! She wasn’t sure he really wanted her to answer that particular question.
“I’m up to my neck in it.” Of all the times for Luke to visit her in the kitchen! It was utter chaos in here. Henry was out sick, the stove was acting up and lunch was supposed to be ready in an hour and a half for a full house of guests.
“What’s the problem?”
She whirled around and faced him. She blew hair from in front of her eyes. “What’s the problem? The stupid stove malfunctioned and my quiches burnt to a crisp. And my sous-chef Henry called in sick this morning. Seems he has food poisoning.”
“From here?” Luke asked, eyes bulging.
She gave him the death stare. “No, of course not.” Morgan huffed. “Seems his girlfriend cooked pork chops last night. No doubt she undercooked them. Long story short, Henry has been in the ER all night and he isn’t coming in today or tomorrow.”
Luke’s eyes grew wider. “Wow. That’s a tough break. How did you manage breakfast?” Luke sounded perplexed.