Charm! by Kendall Hart

Charm! by Kendall Hart

Author:Kendall Hart
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781401396350
Publisher: Disney Book Group

27

NO SOONER WAS he gone than she saw Brad striding toward her. When he reached her, they stood looking at each other for a moment. His eyes were filled with kindness and strength.

“Avery,” he said.

Then she was in his arms. They kissed and the emptiness inside her began to recede. She could breathe again. Everything would be all right.

“I’ve missed you,” Avery whispered.

“Russia was agony. I couldn’t get you out of my mind.”

“Don’t say that,” she said, desperately wanting him to go on.

“But it’s true. Come on,” he said, taking her hand, leading them north.

“Where are we going?”

“You’ll see.”

As Brad led her briskly uptown, it felt like someone had spun the world around. Avery’s mood went from dark to light. The day took on a sparkly, bubbly quality. Everywhere she looked she saw flowers and smiles. She was in Brad’s hands and they were strong and secure.

They reached Central Park South. There was a line of horse-drawn carriages. Brad led her to the first one.

“We want to take a ride through the park,” he told the driver, a middle-aged man with fat cheeks and droopy eyes.

“Yes, sir.”

Brad bounded into the cab and then reached down and helped Avery up. He pulled up the roof and then sat down beside Avery on the seat. They were enclosed on three sides. He took a throw and spread it over their laps.

The driver gave the reins a shake and the horse turned into the park. It felt wonderfully cocooned inside the cab, their bodies in shadow.

“I know, I know, taking a hansom cab ride through Central Park is one of those silly clichéd things that only tourists do,” Brad said, putting his arm around Avery.

“I didn’t say that,” Avery said.

“But I bet you were thinking it.”

“I was thinking how nice it is to be this close to you. Please,” she said, “tell me your news.”

“I’m falling in love with you.”

Avery knew, in that instant, as they passed a playing field, a game of softball, a spaniel racing across the grass, that her life would never be same again. She didn’t know what to say, and wasn’t sure she could speak in any case, so she just reached up and touched Brad’s face.

They kissed again. As the carriage made its way slowly through the southern stretches of Central Park, they made out like a couple of teenagers. Except that when Avery was a teenager, she never had a boyfriend, was never kissed on a sunny afternoon. She had been running so hard for so long. Would she finally be able to stop?

“Oh, Brad,” she moaned, “thank you for this.”

She kissed him and felt a wild sense of freedom. Freedom from worry, from insecurity, from rage and pain and doubt. There was nothing but Brad, their bodies, their want…their love.

Avery lost track of time as they sprawled out on the seat in the shadows. There was something so exciting about being outside in the carriage, Brad straining against his clothes, she breathless, the sky dancing



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