A sad smile graced his lips. Strange. She healed part of his heart but he still couldn’t have her. Well, he could but he wouldn’t. It turned out he loved her too much to do that to her.
They reached the drive and started up toward the house. The sun was setting and candlelight shimmered from several windows. He stopped, staring at the pretty façade. Amazing. The beauty of the outside actually represented the people within. He’d never in his life find this again.
“I don’t want to go in,” Dashlane said. “That Juliet is going to trap me in marriage and make me a miserable bloke for the rest of my life.”
That made Luke stop, a small chuckle rising to his lips. “She isn’t that good.”
Dashlane grimaced. “She might be. She’s got plans for me. Ones I want no part of.”
He raised a brow. “Can I ask you if you’re in denial or just-—”
“No.” Dashlane shook his head. “Even if I were the type to consider marriage, she isn’t the woman for me. I’m certain of that.”
“Then let her down quickly and easily,” Luke said gruffly, brooking no argument.
Craven looked at Luke. “Is Adrianna the woman for you?”
“Yes.” He wanted to hit something. Hard. “But she deserves so much better than me.”
Neither of his friends answered as they reached the front steps and he raised his hand to knock.
Ushered up the stairs, they entered the music room to find the family sitting in a semicircle, each looking at their father.
Mr. Moorish stood at its center repeating a Shakespearean sonnet. He couldn’t remember what work it hailed from, but the words echoed in his heart.
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments; love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
The words hit Luke square in the stomach. Would he love Adrianna forever? His feelings only altered by death itself? Christ. How could he ever let her go? His gaze flew to hers and she stared back.
She looked more lovely than ever, straight-backed, with her blonde hair coiled into a loose coif and her blue eyes sparkling in the candlelight. He wished to cross the room and pull her into embrace. Instead, he remained rooted where he stood.
“Good evening,” Mr. Moorish’s voice boomed across the room, a deep lyrical baritone. “So good of you gentlemen to come.”