Foreign Language Editions
Warren Addison felt the cold wind
blasting in the open door and therefore knew he wasn't hallucinating.
But the improbability of the sight stole his words for several long,
awkward seconds. Finally, he regained articulation.
God, but she was still so beautiful.
Her blond hair was short, bluntly cut and curly. It framed her exquisite
face perfectly. She stood taller than he remembered, slim in her
boyish jeans, her upper body bundled into a fleece jacket with a
down vest over top.
"None other," she agreed cheerfully.
"Um, mind if I come in? I may track in a little snow, but other
than that my boots are clean. I bought them before I came here--never
needed snow boots like this in Toronto--we don't get snow there.
Slush falls from the sky directly."
Her words overwhelmed him. He hadn't
heard so many in weeks. At last a basic meaning penetrated. "I'm
sorry. Of course, come in." He took a few backward steps to make
room. "And don't worry about snow--or slush for that matter. As
you'll soon see, I don't fuss much about things like that."
But the place wasn't dirty,
he reassured himself, trying to imagine how the old farm kitchen
must look in her eyes. At least he wasn't one to stack dishes between
meals or leave food out on the counters. He couldn't. The mice would
make an all-night diner of the place.
"Is that a wood-burning stove?"
"Yeah. Mom wouldn't part with it.
We do have running water and electricity, however."
He'd meant it as a joke, but she
"Oh, and an espresso machine!"
"A city comfort I couldn't imagine
doing without. Would you like a cup?"
"Oh, would I." She brushed the snow
off her boots, then sat in one of the wooden kitchen chairs. "Did
you bring any other goodies from New York with you?"
"A bag of bagels, frozen in the fridge.
I'd offer you one, but I have no microwave." He shrugged in apology.
"Other than that, I packed a few changes of clothing, my books and
my computer, of course."
He measured beans for grinding, still
not able to believe that the gorgeous Miranda James was sitting
in his kitchen. If she knew how often he'd fantasized about her
when they were teenagers...
hell. That didn't make him different from any of the other guys
who'd gone to Chatsworth High.
"I've seen some of your biographies
on TV," he told her. Actually, all of them. "I especially
enjoyed the one on prairie musicians. Jack Semple has always been
a favorite of mine."
"Wow, you've seen my stuff? In New
"Well, I do get cable." He noticed
her glancing around. "Not here, though. Mom and Dad took the TV
with them to Victoria."
"What do you do with yourself?
Isn't it awfully lonely?"
"I spend a lot of time walking around
the property. And I read, play Age of Empires on the computer...."
He placed a small pitcher under the espresso sprout, then turned
on the motor. "And of course I write."
"Do you ever. Warren, I read your
book. Frankly, I was blown away. You deserve all your success."
He shrugged. Talking about Where
It Began was difficult. He was glad, naturally, that the book
had done so well. But success had definitely come at a cost.
"You know, back in Toronto, I checked
the Internet and the library. I found very little material
about you. Not even a photograph."
Her eyes ran over him, marking the
changes, he supposed. Foolishly, he hoped she liked what she saw.
He sure liked what he saw. But then, he always had.
"Sugar?" he asked, passing her the
"No, thanks." She hooked the handle
with her finger, and as she raised the mug to her mouth he noticed
her fragile wrist, with its jangle of silver bracelets.
"I came here to escape notoriety,"
he said, referring to the lack of information about him.
"Well, you've done a good job."
"So far," he acknowledged. "But what
about you? Why are you in Chatsworth?" And more particularly, here
with him? Not that he didn't welcome her company, but face it. Twenty
years ago she wouldn't have crossed the school yard to speak to
him, let alone drive twelve miles of backcountry roads.
No, that wasn't altogether fair.
Miranda had never been a snob. She always gave the impression that
she liked everyone, that she would be your very best friend,
if only she had more time.
And it wasn't an act. After twelve
years in the same classroom, hed have seen through it if it
was. Miranda was one of those rare people born without an ounce
of meanness, or spite, or cruelty. Not that she'd been a goodie-goodie.
Miranda knew, had always known, how to have fun.
That she wasn't already married was
a miracle. Unless there'd been some late developments in that area...no,
she had rings on many of her fingers--and even on one thumb--but
nothing adorned that all-important fourth finger of the left hand.
"Actually, Warren, I'm here because
felt a crazy, scary rhythm in his heart, absent since adolescence.
Then reality set in. She didn't mean that way. He pulled
in a breath of air, as he took his own espresso to the table and
settled himself, too aware of her quiet observation.
And then it hit him. God, he was
such an idiot. She filmed biographies for a living. That comment
about the paltry information available about him. Of course. That
had to be it.
He couldn't believe how disappointed
he felt. Dreamy Miranda wasn't here to see Warren Addison, her old
schoolmate, but Warren Addison, the famous author.
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