Priceless by Raine Miller

Book: Priceless by Raine Miller Read Free Book Online
Authors: Raine Miller
driving at all, just a pleasant trip across the Irish Sea.  Lake to lake it only took me an hour.
    The biggest hassle was anchoring and tying her down so when I wanted to take off three days from now, she wasn’t drifting about in the middle of Lake Leticia.  The tiny loading dock for rowboats served just fine for Nelly’s purposes.  I pulled her up alongside, dropped anchor, and did up the ropes.
    Colin and Jordan greeted me on the dock with typical boyish enthusiasm and insisted on carrying my bags.  Hannah and Freddy were raising some wonderful kids and made it look so easy when it wasn’t.  As I was well aware.
    That’s because n othing good and worthwhile is ever easy.
    I’d learned that lesson the hard way.
    “Did you bring your bow, Ivan?  The one you used in 2008 when you won the gold medal?  Did you bring your medals with you?  Will you let us shoot it again?”  They pelted me with questions.
    “ Gentleman, what do you think are in those cases you’re carrying?”  I held up my leather bag.  “I’ve got you lads hauling the important stuff.  This is just my clothes.”
    “You wouldn’t let us carry the cases if you didn’t trust us, right?” Jordan asked.
    “That’s right.”  I buzzed the top of his hair with my hand and let them lead me up to the house, their chatter dominating the conversation the entire way.
    It felt really good to be with them again.

    “I’M so glad you came up this afternoon before things really get nutter around here.  We actually might be able to have a visit for once,” Hannah told me over the family table.  “We don’t see you enough, Ivan.”
    “Me too,” I answered quietly.  “Where else can I get a gourmet meal and eat with a prin cess?”  I winked at Zara, Hannah and Freddy’s youngest, who sat glued to my side enjoying her dish of strawberry ice cream.
    “Mummy said Prince Harry is coming to Uncle Ethan’s wedding.  He’s a real prince,” she informed me with a grin and big blue eyes that would charm the ever living hell out of many a bloke, princes included, in another decade or so.  Probably less time than that.  She was only five and already breaking hearts everywhere.  I was still amused by Ethan’s telling of how Zara had been the one to spill the beans that “Auntie Brynne was preggers whether she likes it or not.”
    Out of the mouths of babes.
    The surprise pregnancy turned out to have been the best thing for them, though.  I’d never seen Ethan so grounded as he’d become since finding Brynne and discovering they were going to have a child.  Brynne had utterly transformed him.  Despite their troubles, and there had been some nasty ones, they were making a go of things together, and I had no doubts they’d do splendidly.  After all, when you love a person, and they love you back, just about any storm can be weathered.
    But they have to love you back or it doesn’t work…
    “Prince Harry is far too old for you, young lady.”  I stuck my spoon into Zara’s bowl and stole a bit of her ice cream while making a show of it with some sneaky sound effects.
    She giggled at me again and held her bowl up closer so I could have some more if I liked, the generous offer to share with me so sweetly and freely given.  Children had this quality when they were young, but it went away as the years passed, and the learning of the harsh lessons of life.  It happened to all of us, and it would happen to Zara someday.  We learned to protect our hearts a little more with each time something came along to hurt it.
    Sad , but true.    
    Growing up an only child , I’d depended on my Blackstone cousins a great deal more than they did me, because they’d had each other after our mothers died together in the same car crash.
    They ’d also had a father that paid attention to them.
    Hannah, being older , had pretty much slipped into the big-sister role with me along with Ethan.  I loved her for it, and there wasn’t

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