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The past three days had passed in a whirl. After Will’s surprise appearance, his subsequent apology, and her unspoken acceptance of it, they’d rarely been apart – only when she was at the café – where he’d come each day to join her for lunch – and he was at the beach. Her days had passed in a blur and her nights in ecstasy.

‘Happy?’ Will kissed Cleo’s forehead and pulled her into his arms, his legs tightening around hers in a scissor grip.

‘Very.’ Cleo almost purred. She could scarcely believe how much her life had changed in three short days.

On Saturday, the police had confirmed they’d arrested two men who were to be charged with setting fire to Will’s van. The CEO and directors of Masuko denied all knowledge of them or the fire, but the police spokesman indicated they were gathering evidence which would prove otherwise. They had also been able to confirm Joy Taylor was now back home in New South Wales and had been there when the van was destroyed. She’d been stopped for speeding on the Pacific Highway. Will and Cleo had puzzled over her text and finally worked out it meant she was sorry for her outburst, for the confrontation with Cleo, perhaps even for her persistent pursuit of Will. It didn’t matter now. It was over.

‘We should get up if we’re going to make the dawn service,’ she murmured.

‘Not yet.’ pulled her close, their lips met, and Cleo sank into oblivion, their lovemaking having reached a new level that made her feel like the luckiest – and the happiest – woman on the planet.

When they finally drew apart, they had to shower and dress quickly. They’d planned a champagne breakfast today as a celebration. But first, they headed to the cenotaph by the esplanade where they joined others to commemorate Bellbird Bay’s war dead. Cleo shed a tear as the mayor laid a wreath at the foot of the monument, and Will squeezed her hand. A moving rendition of the Last Post followed. Then there was the obligatory one minute’s silence after which everyone joined in singingAbide with Mefollowed by the Australian and New Zealand national anthems.


‘Good job I cooked the quiches yesterday,’ Cleo said with a laugh, when they arrived home only minutes ahead of the others.

Two minutes later the kitchen was filled with people, all offering to help. Cleo managed to shoo most of them outside to set up the table and help Will cook up bacon and hash browns on the barbecue while she, Ailsa and Bev cut the quiches and fruit, sliced the loaves of sour dough and mixed the sparkling wine and orange juice.

When everyone was seated, Will raised his glass. ‘To us, to Dolphin Beach, and to the dugongs which saved it.’

They all cheered and joined in the toast. Then Will raised his glass again and, looking into Cleo’s eyes, said, ‘And to Cleo, to the love I never thought to find, to starting over again.’

‘To starting over,’ Cleo repeated, as everyone cheered again.

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