Inherited by Ferranti

By: Kate Hewitt

Marco was shaking his head, his body language refuting every word she’d said. ‘No...’

‘I don’t care if you believe me or not,’ Sierra said, even though she knew that for a lie. She did care. Far too much. ‘But at least now I’ve said it. Now you know, even if you don’t want to.’

She closed her suitcase, struggling with the zip. Marco placed a hand on top of the case. ‘Please, Sierra, don’t go like this.’

‘Why should I stay?’

‘Because I want you to stay. Because we’ve been having a fantastic time.’ He took a deep breath. ‘Look, this is a tremendous shock to me. It’s not that I don’t believe you, but give me a few moments to absorb it. Please.’

Slowly Sierra nodded. She could see the sense in what he was staying, even if her instinct was to run. And in truth there was a part of her, a large part, that didn’t want to leave. ‘Okay,’ she said, and then waited.

A full minute passed in silence. Finally Marco said hesitantly, ‘Why...why didn’t you tell me?’

‘Would you have believed me? You hated me, Marco.’ It hurt to remind him of that.

‘I mean before.’ The look he gave her was full of confusion and pain, and it made guilt flash through her like a streak of lightning. ‘When we were engaged.’

‘Even then you were his right-hand man.’

‘But you were going to marry me. How could we have had a marriage, with such a secret between us?’

‘I realised we couldn’t.’

‘Your father is why you left?’ Marco stared at her in disbelief, his jaw tight.

‘In a manner of speaking, I suppose.’

‘I don’t understand, Sierra.’ He raked his hands through his hair and even now, in the midst of all this confusion and misery, Sierra watched him with longing. Those muscled arms had held her so tenderly. She’d nestled against that chiselled chest, had kissed his salty skin. She averted her gaze from him. ‘Please help me to understand,’ Marco said, and underneath the sadness Sierra heard a note of frustration, even anger, and she tensed.

‘I don’t know what you want me to say.’

‘Anything. Something. Why did you agree to marry me?’ The question rang out, echoing through the suite.

Sierra took a deep breath and met his gaze. ‘To get away from my father.’

Marco’s face paled as his jaw bunched. Sierra kept herself from flinching even though she could tell he was angry. She didn’t completely understand why, but she felt it emanating from his taut body. ‘That’s the only reason?’ he asked in a low voice.

Wordlessly she nodded, and then she watched as Marco turned and strode from the bedroom. Alone, she sank onto the bed, her legs suddenly feeling weak. Everything feeling weak. She felt nearer to tears now than she had a few moments ago, and why? Because she’d lost Marco? It was better this way, and in any case she’d never really had him. Not like that.

But it still felt like a loss, a gaping wound that was bleeding out. Another deep breath and Sierra turned to her suitcase. She struggled with the zip, but she finally got it closed. And then she sat there, having no idea what to do. Where to go, if anywhere.

After a few moments she worked up the nerve to lug her suitcase down the spiral staircase. Marco stood in the living room, his back to her as he stared out at the darkened city. She hesitated on the bottom step because now that she was here, she didn’t really want to go. Walk out like she did once before, into a dark night, an unknown future.

Yet how could she stay?

The step creaked beneath her and Marco turned around, his dark eyebrows snapping together as he saw her clutching the handle of her suitcase. ‘You’re still planning to go?’ he asked, his voice harsh.

‘I don’t know what to do, Marco.’ She hated the wobble in her voice and she blinked rapidly. Marco swore under his breath and strode towards her.

‘Sierra, cara, I’ve been an utter ass. Please forgive me.’

It was the last thing she’d expected him to say. He took the suitcase from her and put it on the floor. Then he stretched out his hands beseechingly, his face a plea. ‘Don’t go, Sierra. Please. Not yet. Not till I understand. Not till we’ve made this right.’

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