Her friends know it, her parents know it – even Laura acknowledges she lives either with her head In the clouds or buried in a romantic novel. Its proved harmless enough, even if it hasn’t delivered her real-life dashing hero yet.

But when her latest relationship ends n a disaster that cost her friendships, her Job and nearly her sanity, Laura swears off men and hopeless mantic fantasies for good. With her life in tatters around her, Laura agrees to go on a vacation with her parents. After a few days of visiting craft shops and touring the stately homes of England, Laura is ready to tear her hair out. And then, while visiting grand Charley Hall, she crosses paths with Nick, the sexy, rugged estate manager. She finds she shares more than a sense of humor with him – In fact, she starts to think she could fall for him. But Is Nick all he seems? R has Laura got It wrong again? Will she open her heart only to have it broken again? “Amoy’s pregnant, Laura” Dan released her, and Laura could feel the dampness his hands left on the side of her face. He was quite sweaty, she thought as If watching this scene Idly from another room, another life. “Laura, are you listening? ” Dan said sharply. “Yes… ” Laura cleared her throat. “You… ” Her eyes filled with tears, and one ran down her cheek. She gave a tiny cough, almost a gasp, and sat up straight. No, she wouldn’t cry. She would not cry. “Laura… I wanted to tell you, Eve been trying to-” “Laura. You know who its is. She hadn’t seen Amy for so long, hearing her voice came as a huge shock. Sickly sweet, slightly rasping, scary. It didn’t sound violent, or overly emotional, or hormonal. It sounded in control. “Don’t you hang up on me, bitchy,” Amy hissed. Mimi fat, spotty, spineless bitchy. Dan finally told me who he’s been screwing, like I couldn’t guess anyway. Okay? You’re too bucking coward to talk to me after what you’ve done, are you? Fine. Let me spell it out for you. I know what you did. If you ever go near him again, I’ll find you and I’ll make your life misery. Even more miserable than it must be now. You fat, stupid dog.

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He told me how you chased him, how you egged him, Just like the ugly dog that you are. Like you were at school, always begging. You’re pathetic, Laura. You are pathetic. ” “My darling girl,” Mary said. “Stop crying. Stop it. From what you tell me, I imagine you have luckiest of escapes. Now, dry your eyes, and sit still, and I’ll get you another drink. Its over now, don’t you see? Isn’t that wonderful? ” “What? ” said Laura, wondering what on earth she could mean. “Its not wonderful. I feel like a complete fool. Eve lost my best friend, Eve lost my Job, Eve behaved like an idiot. ” “l think its wonderful,” said Mary, standing up.

She went into the kitchen. Mimi fell in love, well, that’s wonderful. All right, it was with a completely wrong man. But its over now, and the best of it is, no more secrets. No more living your life in half shadow, which is what it seems to me you’ve been doing these last few months. ” miss,” Laura said, staring into the gloom of the kitchen. “l hadn’t thought of it like that. But – I’m always doing it, always falling for the wrong person. I’m so stupid. ” “No, you’re not,” said Mary. Muff Just haven’t met the right one yet. And until then, at least you’re not lying to everyone you know anymore. The quality you castigate yourself most about – your tendency to fall in love with the most inconvenient people – is what I love about you darling. ” “Oh Grand,” said Laura, trying not to sound impatient. “That’s Just not true. Its awful – I should get a grip, not-” Mary banged her ring hand on the arm of her chair, as if she were Elizabeth I inspecting the English fleet. “No darling. You have a great capacity to love. Be careful. Use it wisely. But be proud of it. So much love in your heart. That’s why I worry about you. ” She coughed. Laura listened, relieved to be talking about it at last, but not really owing what to say. L worry you will walk away from that. That this will close you up, make you forget how wonderful falling in love can be. Don’t. ” “Right,” said Laura. “So I have to meet them to get started with -” She stopped, suddenly remembering what she said before. “Them… And, and… My boyfriend, I mean. ” Nick raised an eyebrow at her. He smiled sardonically, his eyes glittering with amusement. “So you don’t have a boyfriend ,then,” he said, throwing his keys up in the air and catching them. miss,” Laura said hotly. “He likes tea towels too. He’s Just not here. He’s, ere… Oh, God. Never mind. Never mind,” Nick agreed politely.