Inherited by Ferranti

By: Kate Hewitt


‘I want to be,’ she finally said, her voice hesitant.

‘I know I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve let the past affect me more than I wanted it to. Not just your leaving, but my father’s. And...’ He paused because this was something he’d never told another person ‘...my mother.’

Sierra frowned. ‘Your mother?’

‘She left when I was ten,’ Marco admitted quietly. ‘After my father walked out she tried to hold things together, but it was tough as a single mother in a conservative country. She ended up taking me to an orphanage in Palermo, run by monks. She said she’d come back for me, but she never did.’

Tears filled Sierra’s eyes. ‘Oh, Marco...’

‘I stayed until I was sixteen, and then I got the job at The Rocci. I tried never to look back, but I’ve realised I was looking back all the time, letting the past affect me. Control me. That’s why I took your leaving before so badly. Why I’ve been afraid to love anyone.’

She bit her lip, a single tear sliding down her cheek, devastating him. ‘I’ve been afraid, too.’

Gently, Marco wiped the tear from her cheek. ‘Then let’s be afraid together. I know it might be hard and there will be arguments and fears and all the rest of it. But we can find the fairy tale, Sierra. Together. I believe that. I have to believe that.’

Sierra gazed at him, her eyes filled with tears and yet also a dawning wonder, a fragile hope. ‘Yes,’ she said. ‘I believe that, too.’ And then, as Marco’s heart trembled with joy, she leaned forward and kissed him.





EPILOGUE

Three years later

SIERRA STOOD AT the window of their London townhouse and watched as Marco came inside, whistling under his breath. A smile softened her features as she watched him, loving how light and happy he looked. There had been so much happiness over the last three years.

Not, of course, that it had been easy or simple. She and Marco had both had so many fears and hurts to conquer. So many mountains to climb. And yet they’d climbed them, hand in hand, struggling and searching, together.

They’d married in a quiet ceremony two years ago, and then decided to split their time between Palermo and London; Sierra continued with her music teaching, using holiday time to travel with Marco to various hotels all over the world. The Rocci Los Angeles had opened last year and Marco already had plans to open another hotel in Montreal, although he’d promised to reduce his work schedule in the next few months.

‘Sierra?’ His voice floated up the stairs and Sierra called back.

‘I’m in the nursery.’

Grinning, Marco appeared in the doorway, his warm glance resting on the gentle swell of Sierra’s bump. They were expecting a baby girl in just over three months—a new generation, a wonderful way to redeem the past and forge a future together.

‘You’re feeling all right?’ he asked as he came towards her.

Laughing, she shook her head. ‘You don’t have to coddle me, Marco.’

‘I want to coddle you.’ He slid his arms around her, resting his hands over her bump. She laced her fingers with his, savouring his gentle touch.

That had been another mountain to climb: forcing her fears back and trusting in Marco’s love and goodness. And he’d been so good, so gentle and patient with her in so many ways. It had taken her a few years before she felt brave enough to start a family, to trust Marco not only with her own heart but the heart of their child’s.

The reality of their baby, their joined flesh, had made their marriage all the stronger. Sierra had never looked back.

As if agreeing with her, their baby kicked beneath their joined hands. Marco laughed softly. ‘I felt that one.’

‘She’s a strong one,’ Sierra answered with a little laugh and leaned her head back against Marco’s shoulder.

‘Just like her mother, then,’ Marco said, and kissed her.

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