Tea & Comfort (Madrona Island Series Book 2)

By: Andrea Hurst

PROLOGUE



The Hamptons, New York

Two Years Ago





The day glistened in a way only white sand, turquoise waters, and golden sun could reflect. Thousands of tourists had besieged the peninsula for the Labor Day weekend. Luke’s parents were in Europe and his brother was off jet-setting somewhere glamorous. Even though Darcy and Luke had the whole estate in East Hampton to themselves, they chose to stay in the guesthouse, which was a mini-mansion in itself and only steps from the beach. They hadn’t left the house since Thursday. On the way there, a stop at a farm stand and Stuart’s Fish Market had provided sweet shrimp, lavish vegetables, fresh berries, crusty bread, and assorted cheeses. With her insane work hours as a model, Darcy craved these lazy days when all she and Luke did was make love all afternoon, then supper on the sprawling deck and sip chilled chardonnay in crystal glasses.

It was a Sunday morning, the day they’d promised to go over to Luke’s billionaire friend Tyler’s infamous mansion for a cocktail party and art showing by the highly acclaimed artist, Ian McPherson. Luke raved to Darcy about Ian’s work, and he wanted to share it with her. And like almost everything in their whirlwind romance, Darcy wanted to share everything with him, too. Her persona as Darcy Devereux, super model, required changing from Luke’s big T-shirt and into an elegant Stella McCartney summer dress before going out in public. Her gelled hair-spiking and makeup routine required time, time she resented spending these days since she’d been dating Luke. Even in the morning, when she woke all full of sleep, he told her how beautiful she was. And when she dressed up perfectly the way the world knew her, he devoured her with his eyes.

Darcy stepped into her Valentino sling-backs. She ran her fingers along the back of her calf. The bruises seemed to be getting worse. She reminded herself to call the doctor for her blood test results when she got home tomorrow.

As she walked into the living room, Luke rose from the white Bedford chair. He was a tall, lanky vision in khaki slacks and an aqua shirt setting off his bronze tan and golden hair. A devilish smile crossed his face as he whisked her into his arms.

“A woman of many charms,” he whispered in her ear. His kisses trailed down her neck as he pulled her close. “Forget the party, I don’t want to leave.”

It took all her resolve not to melt into his arms. She gently pushed him back to catch her breath. “No, we promised we’d go and I want to see this artist’s work.”

Darcy brushed her lips against his full mouth. “We don’t have to stay long.”

Light danced behind his silver-grey eyes. His gaze made her wish he’d rip off her clothes and forget the party after all.

“Okay,” he said, grabbing his keys. “Let’s go. But there will be one little detour on the way back.”

Darcy was intrigued. It really didn’t matter where they went or what they did. They fit together. From the moment their eyes had met at a photo shoot, she’d known.

***

Tyler’s mansion was rumored to be one of the most expansive on the island. Darcy had heard all about his afternoon cocktail parties that lasted until dawn the next day. When they drove through the iron entrance gates, she was not disappointed. The long tree-lined drive wove through its own dense woods and flowering gardens and stopped at the valet station next to an exquisite marble waterfall. The house was all and more than she’d imagined: three stories with turrets and fireplaces intermittent with ivy-covered walls and massive windows facing out to sea. These types of functions still intimidated her a bit. “You don’t belong here,” a familiar voice whispered in her head.

It seemed like all the beautiful people in the Hamptons were there, and their heads turned when she and Luke walked through the front door. Everywhere Darcy went, people recognized her carved cheekbones and emerald eyes. She inhaled a deep breath and squeezed Luke’s arm tighter. His smile was reassuring. He always seemed to know what she was feeling.

They walked through the mammoth living room that reminded Darcy of a photo shoot with everyone dressed and posing in designer labels. Small groups gathered around the paintings spectacularly lit by hanging globes from the peaked ceiling. She could see a small orchestra outside and white umbrella-covered tables scattering the kelly-green lawn.

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