by Fiona Hood-Stewart
LEANING on his
ski poles at the bottom of the slope, Johnny Graney watched appreciatively
as the slim white-clad figure crossed the last few hundred years,
then made a neat, sharp stop next to him.
he enquired solicitously.
Elm pressed the tip of her pole into the back of her binding.
suit, wishing she’d remove her glasses once more so he could
catch another glimpse of those incredible brown eyes, an amazing
contrast to the mass of natural blonde hair falling about her shoulders.
As thought guessing
his silent wish, Elm shook her skis, then removed her glasses. For
a moment he frowned. He knew that face. Was she an actress? Someone
he’d met in London?
a hot chocolate in the village?” he threw casually, surprising
really don’t think—“
you were sorry for running into me.” He grinned, his blue
eyes flashing in his bronzed face. “Make up for it by joining
Elm was about
to refuse automatically when she suddenly realized she wouldn’t
mind having a drink with this handsome stranger. It was Gstaad,
after all, not Chicago. Everybody knew each other.
why not?” She smiled.
Maybe we should introduce ourselves. In a formal manner,”
he added, lips twitching.
he urged in a smooth British accent.
from Savannah, Georgia.”
to meet you, Elm Hathaway from Savannah, Georgia. I’m Johnny
Graney from Ireland.”
A warm tingle
coursed through Elm’s fingers. Then all at once realization
He sent her a curious glance. “This sounds like a line, but
haven’t we met before?”
a matter of fact, we have,” Elm responded, feeling as if she’d
been thrown into a time warp. Johnny Graney had been her first serious
crush, the boy she’d mooned over some twenty years earlier.
dreadfully sorry, but I—“ He raised his hands in a gesture
of defeat. “I’m afraid I just don’t remember.”
Elm replied dryly. “But it makes sense. At the time, you were
only peripherally aware of my existence.”
His face took on a look of comical horror. “You must be joking,”
he added. “If I ever met you, even for a split second, I’m
certain I’d remember.”
Elm burst out
laughing. He’d been a dangerous flirt back then, and every
girl’s hero. She couldn’t resist teasing him a little
longer. “I can see I made a lasting impression on you,”
she said, glancing down.
I feel awful. At least give me a hint,” he begged.
I?” she taunted, deliciously aware that she was actually flirting
with a man, something she hadn’t done in years.
on, be a sport. Heck, you almost massacred me back there. Are you
planning torture, too?” He raised an amused brow, and Elm
too cold for conversation.”
The Palace Hotel—I promise a table next to the fireplace if
you tell me where we met.”
from Savannah, Georgia,” he said thoughtfully, placing their
skis on the back of a new silver Range Rover.
is really quite demoralizing.” She pouted, sighing heavily
as he held the door of the vehicle for her. “To think I’ve
changed to the point of being unrecognizable—“
said that, I merely—“
she continued, enjoying the game. “You meet so many women
it’s hard to keep track. Don’t worry, I understand.”
She sent him a sympathetic look.
Hold it,” he exclaimed. “If it was as long ago as you’re
implying, maybe you were an ugly duckling who’s since turned
into a swan.”
duckling—“ Elm sputtered, laughing. “I was never
an ugly duckling.”
case you’ll just have to help me out,” he insisted.
know.” She eyed him thoughtfully. “Seeing you strain
your memory is rather satisfying.”
up,” Johnny declared dramatically.
–so easily?” She raised a brow and looked him over with
a contemptuous grin. “I seem to recall a certain basketball
team captain rallying his players with a speech about never giving
up and fighting until the death… Quite dramatic stuff, really,”
she added with a sigh, “and so disappointing to know it no
longer holds true.”
The car braked
abruptly. “My God.” He turned and stared at her. “Now
I remember. Little Elm Hathaway, the Southern Belle from Savannah.”
MIRA Books, May 2004
A sweeping story of love and betrayal
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