Charley has returned (unwillingly) to Ireland - and this is her first meeting with Luke Sullivan:
She reached Clifden shortly before five o’clock and pulled into the
parking area near the supermarket on the outskirts of the small town. Still
familiar with the layout of the store, she didn’t take long to collect some basic
A tall man in a sheepskin jacket stood near the chilled cabinet of
yogurts and desserts, speaking on his phone. “Kate, which yogurts do the kids
like? Melissa said something about pink pots.”
She reached past him to pick up a pack of mixed fruit yogurts at the
same moment as he turned and bumped against her.
“Oops! Sorry,” he said.
“No problem.” She put her yogurts in her shopping trolley, but couldn’t
resist pointing further along the cabinet. “The pink pots are those strawberry
“Thanks.” He gave her a quick smile before speaking into his phone
again. “Okay, Kate, I see them.”
She started to push her trolley toward the cash desk, but stopped when
the man said, “Thanks again, but don’t I know you from somewhere?”
With a small grimace of resignation, she half-turned back to him. She
didn’t recall meeting him when she lived here, but perhaps he’d seen her on
television. Or else it was a clichéd chat-up line.
“I don’t think so.” She gave him a perfunctory smile as her glance took
in rugged good looks in a square face, and dark wavy hair. Not exactly tousled,
but certainly untamed.
The man frowned for a moment before his face cleared. “You remind me of
“Really?” She suppressed a grin. Being compared to a mother-in-law was a
novel kind of comment.
“Not really, no. Her hair’s short and straight, not long like yours,
and her face is rounder.”
She couldn’t help but laugh. “So I’m nothing like her?”
“You’re much younger, of course, but your eyes are the same colour.
“Brown eyes are unusual?”
“Kind of coppery. I’m useless with colours, but that’s what she said
“Oh, I see.”
It seemed an odd conversation to be having with a stranger in a
supermarket, but his dark eyes twinkled as he smiled, and her heart-beat quickened.
He held out his hand. “Luke Sullivan. Pleased to meet you.”
“Oh—er—yes.” As she put her hand in his, something low in her stomach
jerked in response to his strong handshake. “Charley Hunter.” Deliberately she
didn’t use her professional surname, which he might recognise if the local
press had reported anything about Waterside Hall being used as a film location
during the next few weeks.
“Short for Charlotte, but only my grandmother calls me that.”
“Hunter was my mother-in-law’s maiden name. Maybe you share the same
“Maybe.” She’d no intention of telling him it was her married surname.