Excerpt: 'Summer Roses'

As far as Edward knew, Lily was dead. She had died--everyone believed--nine years ago, when she was eight and a half months pregnant. Lily felt a rush, and she shuddered. It was as if she had just been granted a free pass by the gods. Edward didn't know about Rose. ...

"I want you to do it," she said without turning around, not taking her eyes off her daughter's face, long brown lashes resting on delicate cheekbones, mouth ever-so-slightly open. Her left arm was bent at the elbow, fingertips on her neck, protecting the scar where she'd had open-heart surgery. "I want you to take her."

"I'll take care of her," Liam whispered.

Lily nodded. "I know you will. You always have."

She knelt by Rose's bed, staring at her for a long minute--until Rose sighed and turned. Not wanting to wake her up, Lily kissed her sleeping daughter's head, and followed Liam into the bedroom. She knew that nothing in the world could make her send Rose away, force her to take this action, except for one thing: a need to see her grandmother, the woman who had raised her, and make sure she got well.

Nothing else could do it.

Pulling down the white chenille bedspread, curling up beside Liam, she closed her eyes. The sound of the waves merged with the rise and fall of Liam's chest. She counted the waves, felt his heartbeats. Outside the open window, the gulls on their island rookeries cried and cried.

Lily just stared at the moon, hanging outside the window, as she listened to the cries of the gulls, Liam's breath on her neck. She pulled his arm even tighter around her, and she prayed that she was doing the right thing.

Dawn came up like thunder, and Liam Neill knew there wasn't much time. He knew he had to get Rose away, and yet he didn't know how to leave. He wanted to stay with Lily.

Lily made coffee and oatmeal, and then she got Rose washed and dressed. The sky went from deep purple to cerulean blue as the sun crowned the eastern horizon. Liam had heard so much about Hubbard's Point--it was almost mythical to him, the place where Lily had grown up, where her beloved Maeve had raised prizewinning roses and nurtured a strong, beautiful granddaughter. Liam stepped out on the side porch, drinking coffee and staring at the granite ledges sloping down to Long Island Sound. The cottage sat almost at the tip of a promontory--the Point of Hubbard's Point, as Lily had told him and Rose on the drive down from Cape Hawk.

Liam looked across the side yard toward a similar cottage--built of weather-silvered shingles, with turquoise shutters and door, white window boxes filled with red geraniums--and saw someone peering out a window.

He faded back, close to the house, then disappeared inside. Finding Lily and Rose in the kitchen, talking at the table, he tapped Lily's shoulder.

"Someone just saw me," he said. "Looking over from next door."

"That's Clara," Lily said. "She always gets up with the sun, in time for the Hartford Courant."

"We'd better go," Liam said.

"But I don't get it," Rose said, her brow wrinkled. "I thought we just got here." Lily took a deep breath. Liam knew what this was doing to her--he touched her glossy dark hair, stroking it for support. She looked Rose in the eyes.

"Honey," she said. "You and Liam are going to stay somewhere else for a few days. It won't be far away from here--not too far, anyway--and I'll know where you are every minute."

"Why aren't you coming?" Rose asked.

"I have to see about my grandmother."

"Your granny?"

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...