I'm sharing a sample from BOUND TO RANSOM. This is one of my favourite scenes. Gloria has just lost her father and Henry, who is still reeling from her engagement to his brother, is still there for her.
After they’d gone, the whole house descended into silence. Henry turned in Gloria’s direction to find tears streaming down her face. This time, he didn’t wait for his brother to do the honours. He went to her and scooped her up into his lap as he sat down.
“I don’t know if I can cope with all this. I feel as if I’m losing my mind,” she said through her sobs.
He pulled her in tight and stroked her back gently. “You’ll be alright.”
Gradually, her body stopped shaking and she went silent.
“Have you had anything to eat? James is going to pop out and pick up some food.”
She leaned back, her face tear-streaked, her runny mascara turning her eyes to panda eyes. She still looked beautiful to him, even more so seeing her in such a fragile state. He wanted to lean forward and kiss away the tears. Instead, he pulled out a fresh handkerchief and used it so dab her face gently.
“I’m not hungry,” she said, her lips turned down.
“I know it’s been a long day and you don’t have an appetite. But it’s evening already and you should have a bite to eat.”
She shrugged. “Maybe I’ll eat a little.”
“Good.” James stood up and headed for the door.
They didn’t move for minutes afterwards. She had her head on his chest and her arms wrapped around his body. He could happily stay in that position until James returned, but he couldn’t forget that she was now someone else’s betrothed. He shouldn’t want or encourage this closeness, but he couldn’t help himself.
“Do you want me to get you a drink?” he asked as an excuse to get up.
“No.” She sighed and snuggled deeper.
He leaned back, so that she was on top of him, and they stayed there. If this gave her comfort, then he couldn’t deny her.
Something else rang a bell in his mind and he reached for his phone and sent a quick text to James. Get some strawberry ice cream, as well.
His phone pinged almost instantly. Sure.
They didn’t move until James returned with bags of takeaway food and a big tub of ice cream.
Gloria’s eyes went bright with excitement as she grabbed the tub. It seemed her lack of appetite was forgotten.
“You bought me ice cream,” she said as she picked up the plastic spoon that came with it.
Seeing the smile of her face made warmth spread through him. He hadn’t witnessed her smiling for weeks.
“You told me once that when you were little, your father used to buy you ice cream when you were sad. I thought maybe that would help.”
She gave him a smile through watery eyes. “It helps a lot. Thank you.”
She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek before scooping ice cream into her mouth.
His skin tingled where she kissed him and he chuckled. “I guess that means you’re eating ice cream for dinner.”
“Of course she is.” James laughed. “Haven’t you heard of the ice cream diet?”
The mood lightened and they ate the food with some of the cheer that they used to eat dinner in his house when she lived with them.
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