By: M.J. Haag

“Almost to Towdown.”

“I’m sure that’s been her destination all along,” Alec said.

We broke through the trees to the breathtaking view of the manor. The vines and vegetation were gone, replaced by a fine lawn under Tam’s care. People milled about the front entrance, congratulating Egrit and Tam.

“I agree,” I said to Alec’s observation. Blye wouldn’t be happy until she was making gowns for the rich and elite of Towdown, the center of trade. No, she wouldn’t even be happy then. She’d want to become one of them.

For a moment, I felt pity for Blye. Her search for material wealth and social standing wouldn’t bring her happiness. Happiness wasn’t so easily obtained. It took kindness and some true sacrifice, neither concept truly understood by my sister.

I sighed and ran my fingers through the hair at the nape of Alec’s neck. He glanced at me, a look so full of longing and love that my pulse fluttered. His expression turned knowing as I flushed and gave him a small, secret smile.

“Bryn, I think Benella is feeling a bit worn. I’ll take her to her room to rest for a few minutes before we join the feast.”

Bryn laughed and waved us ahead as Alec’s stride lengthened.

“I’ll make excuses for both of you. Don’t take too long.”

“No, not too long,” he said, pressing a kiss to my cheek. “Just a lifetime.”