Long Way Home (Chapter Seven, page 1 of 6)

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When Alexis left London for Mangrove Island, for once, she didn't have a grand plan. Life had reached the point where she had nowhere else to go except the place she'd spurned. Now that she was back, she was beginning to think it had been the right move. Even though her family fence mending had its obstacles, it no longer felt as insurmountable as it had back in London. Even her fight with Betsy didn't seem so horrible in hindsight. They yelled and said what they needed to say and somehow Alexis knew that her relationship with her sister would improve. And then there was Ty, such a welcome surprise. Alexis wished she could simply enjoy his company without the guilt that plagued her.

The minute she arrived at the house, she escaped to her room and dressed hurriedly in a black, sleeveless shift dress and black pumps. She ran a brush through her hair to tame the wild pieces. She told herself that she wasn't primping for Tyler; she was primping because she was going to a nice place like The Galleon and needed to look respectable. The Galleon was a beachside restaurant known for its unobstructed view of the incredible island sunsets. It had been many years since she'd enjoyed a sunset and she looked forward to it.

Tyler was already seated at an outside table when she arrived. Her cheeks burned as she felt his appreciative gaze travel from her bare legs up to her perfectly coiffed hair.

When she reached the table, he stood up and pulled out her chair.

"Why thank you, kind sir," she said.

"I guess Paul got you back safely," he surmised.

"Paul's my hero."

"He's a great guy," he agreed. "I took the liberty of ordering your signature drink. I hope that's okay."

"Much needed, thank you."

"So things were that bad with your sister?" he prompted.

She waved him off. "It was a spat that needed to happen. Now, hopefully, we can make some progress."

"Good to know. Now we can enjoy the sunset before it's gone. Bet you don't get views like that in London," Tyler said, taking a moment to admire the disappearing view.

She turned her attention to the tangerine horizon streaked with red. Between the dreamlike sky and the sound of the waves lapping gently against the shore, Alexis felt her tension melt away.

"It's stunning," she said with a sigh.

"So are you," he said in a low voice.

Heat rose from her neck to her cheeks. "Ty…"

"I know, it's not a date." He leaned back in his chair, flashing that irresistible dimple in his cheek, and she couldn't deny the flutter in her stomach.

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