Crush by Crystal Hubbard Read Free Book Online

Book: Crush by Crystal Hubbard Read Free Book Online
Authors: Crystal Hubbard
Tags: Fiction, General, Romance, Contemporary, African American
the items here are authentic, registered historical artifacts.”
    “Is he royalty?” Bernie asked, knowing that Miranda wouldn’t.
    “On the contrary. Mr. Fletcher is a commoner, despite his nobility.”
    Bernie narrowed his eyes at Morgan and scanned the shorter man from head to toe. “You’re Irish, aren’t you?”
    “Yes,” Morgan responded, raising his strawberry-blonde eyebrows. “How could you tell?”
    “I’m Irish, too,” Bernie winked. “I know a brother when I see one.”
    Miranda listened intently to the exchange between the two men. Morgan’s accent was far different from Bernie’s, whose had a distinct island twist.
    “Begging your pardon, Mr. Reilly, but you’re not exactly what one envisions when one speaks of Black Irish,” Morgan said.
    “I was born and raised on the island of Montserrat,” Bernie explained. “Most of the people there are as black as me and as Irish as you.”
    Morgan finally cracked a big smile. “Then may I say welcome to Conwy, my brother. I’d love to spend some time talking with you about your home, and perhaps in the course of your visit, you’ll find a moment to speak with Mr. Fletcher as well. He’s made several visits to Montserrat and thoroughly enjoys the island. In fact, he recently sponsored a music program at several elementary schools there.”
    Miranda studied Morgan’s face. He clearly respected and admired the man who paid his salary. The staff assembled outside to welcome her seemed quite happy to do so, which testified further to Lucas Fletcher as a boss. After coming this far, Miranda’s reporting instincts kicked in. She wanted to know more about the “Mr. Fletcher” who would fly her to Wales on a moment’s notice and have two hundred people waiting at a castle to treat her as though she were the Queen of the World. She wanted to know more about the man who had saved her life.
    She took a step toward the wide stone staircase that accessed the upper regions of the keep. “Mr. Morgan, perhaps after you show Mr. Reilly to his suite, you and I could speak further about Mr. Fletcher?”
    * * *
    Morgan successfully diverted Miranda from her request for a sit-down by suggesting that she first settle into her own chamber, the Emberley Suite. She was so taken by the amenities Lucas had provided that she temporarily forgot about her plan to ferret into his private life. Lucas had arranged for in-house—rather, in-castle—spa treatments for her and her Herald-Star reporter. Bernie reveled in the hedonistic pleasure of kelp and avocado full-body wraps, and a manicure and pedicure. A hot stone massage eased much of Miranda’s tension, but she couldn’t help feeling as though she were being clipped, buffed, waxed and perfumed as an offering for the king of the castle.
    She enjoyed another short nap, this time in the decadent comfort of a massive four-poster bed draped with ivory linen and silk. Soon after she awakened, stylists imported from London came to her suite to do her hair, makeup and wardrobe. She allowed them to wash and condition her hair but passed on a cut and style, opting to keep her hair subdued by a simple bandanna. The first hair plucked from her right eyebrow made her scream, so she passed on the makeover. And she insisted on wearing her own clothes: blue jeans and a formless sea-green sweater.
    When Bernie came to her suite to escort her to dinner, his eager smile became a fright mask of disappointment. “This is the best you could do?” he squawked. He plucked at her sweater and flipped a hand through her hair. “They came to my room with a dozen or more designer gowns…all in Meg’s size, of course, since they thought she would be the one coming here with you. I can’t imagine that Fletcher’s people didn’t do the same for you.” He turned to ring for Morgan.
    Miranda grabbed him by his arm and stopped him. “I didn’t want to wear any of those dresses. That runway stuff just isn’t me. And I’m not some Barbie

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