Safehouse (A BWWM Billionaire Romance)(4)By: Mia Caldwell
By the time I did manage to open them back up, we were just getting ready to drive through an honest-to-God mountain tunnel. You know those ones that you always see in the Roadrunner cartoons—the ones that the coyote is always painting on the rocky mountainsides, hoping for the bird to crash into? Yeah, just like that, but without the wacky Acme products.
The lights that dotted both sides of the tunnel made me dizzy as we flew past them. I rubbed my temples, trying to fight the yawn that was coming. Jesus, how did anyone travel internationally and deal with this?
When we came out the other side of the tunnel I gasped. It was like being transported to a new world. The rolling hills were now paired with craggy rocks covered in the same moss and lavender that were also hanging from different stone buildings on one of the hillsides. Off to the right of us was a tiny village, where all of the houses and a church had matching high-pitched red-tiled roofs. They looked as though they had been there for centuries. Perhaps they had.f
We were going down into the valley that lay between the smaller mountains. There were a few more farms there, spread out and covered in all sorts of different crops. Some had wheat fields, others had fields of brightly colored flowers. The cows that were moseying around one of the open grassy fields are what really threw me for a loop.
See, I had never been outside of the New York/New Jersey area. I’d never even been to upstate New York, where I knew it looked much closer to this than Brooklyn ever would. I wondered if we would be stopping along here, somewhere. Maybe I’d be working on a farm from now on. Maybe I’d be the one milking those cows in the morning.
We passed right through, just as we had been doing.
“How much further?” I asked, reaching forward to pull out my chapstick. I knew one thing—my lips were already feeling the change in altitude.
“We’re right around the bend, actually,” Agent Wilson answered sounding amused and pointing to where the road ahead turned from paved to dirt. I raised my brow.
As we made the hairpin turn to the right, I thought my eyes would pop out of my head. There, about a mile down, was the beginning of the longest driveway I’d ever seen in my life. The driveway was paved with a smooth sand-colored material, and along it on both sides were beautiful small rosebushes and thin yet bushy tall trees of the deepest green. The kinds of trees you only see when a professional landscaper is being paid tons of cash to maintain the grounds.
“Oh my word,” I whispered, catching glimpse of what was at the end of the driveway, and where we were clearly headed.
It was a castle. A real, freaking Disney-princess castle. With blue circular turrets topped with sky-high spires, millions of windows, and immaculate architecture. I could not believe my eyes.
“Most of the French châteaux along the Jura mountain range are named, but for some reason this one isn’t,” he said, mostly to himself.
“Ow,” I said, rubbing the skin on my arm where I tried to pinch myself. This couldn’t be real. There was just no way.
Agent Wilson chuckled at me. “Believe it, Miss Jackson. At least for now. This is your halfway house, where you’ll be staying until you’re on your feet. The feds are putting together a case, and we need you to stay put and stay out of sight until you can testify.”
I was so enthralled at the idea of staying somewhere that looked like this on the outside that I completely forgot to make a comment about him showing a smile for the first time since we met. I couldn’t speak.
When we pulled up to the front entrance, a middle-aged man in a very clean butler’s uniform opened my door, taking my hand to help guide me out.
“Mademoiselle,” he mumbled, tipping his hat to me, before going around to the trunk of the car and grabbing the rest of my things.
I blushed, unsure of what to reply with. I didn’t really know French, so I just gave him a smile and some semblance of a curtsy. That’s what people did here in Europe, right? I hoped I wasn’t expected to give him one of those weird two-cheek kisses.
“Wait here, Bree,” Agent Wilson said, before heading through the sandy brick arches and into the entry way. I fought the urge to frown at the name and distracted myself by looking at the rest of the house. House? No, this ain’t no house. This right here is a castle. Legitimately a castle.