Aunt Lucy’s Lover by Miranda Lee
Aunt Lucy’s Lover
By Miranda Lee
Published by Harlequin Mills & Boon Limited (1996)
Jessica had always thought that she had no more relatives left after her mother Joanne died of alcoholism. Jessica was the only child, and when her parents had divorced, the family on her father’s side had practically disowned them. On her mother’s side, Joanne had always told her that she had been a foundling and had nobody to call a family.
Jessica believed what her late mother had told her, until one day an elderly lady came to the Sydney hotel she worked in and claimed to be her Aunt Lucy, her mother’s older sister. Aunt Lucy apparently had something to tell Jessica, but as soon as she took one look at Jessica, Aunt Lucy seemed startled, disturbed and finally left as abruptly as she had arrived. Jessica tried to trace Aunt Lucy since but to no avail.
Only a month later, Jessica was contacted by a solicitor who informed her that Aunt Lucy had passed from cancer and had left all her possessions to Jessica. Apparently Aunt Lucy had no children and thus, Jessica was her one and only heir.
Aunt Lucy had a considerable sum of money and also a family home in Norfolk Island. In Aunt Lucy’s will, all those possessions will be Jessica’s as long as she fulfilled two baffling conditions: firstly, Jessica had to stay at the Norfolk Island home for a full month. Secondly, during her one-month stay, Jessica must allow for a certain Mr. Sebastian Slade to live free of charge in the house. Mr. Slade had apparently lived there for the past three years.
The family home in Norfolk Island had been operated as a summer guesthouse, and this Mr. Slade was not only a long-term guest, but he had been described in Aunt Lucy’s will as a “loyal and loving companion”.
If Jessica failed to comply to both conditions set by Aunt Lucy, her inheritance will be forfeited and given to Mr. Slade instead.
Jessica agreed to go to Norfolk Island and see to the house, but it had not been about the money. The most important thing about returning to her mother’s hometown was that it could be a way to discover her past and learn more about her family background. Why did her mother always claimed to be a foundling? And why Aunt Lucy or her other family members had never come looking for them before her mother died? Jessica had so many questions that she needed an answer to.
Meanwhile, the enigmatic Mr. Slade had gotten on Jessica’s nerves quite unreasonably. Even when she had yet to meet Mr. Slade, Jessica was already forming her own ugly impression of Mr. Slade: she believed him to be a money-chasing man who pried her Aunt Lucy’s money to exchange for sexual favours. Thus his living free of charge in Aunt Lucy’s property during the past three years.
And when Jessica finally met Mr. Slade – or Sebastian, as he would like to be called – she was irked beyond reason. Sebastian was still quite young – in his 30s – and he was good-looking too. Jessica had no doubt that Sebastian was the man she had assumed him to be: Aunt Lucy’s lover!
Sebastian had been friendly and welcoming when Jessica arrived at Norfolk Island, but unfortunately Jessica had been unable to hide her contempt for the man. She had been rude towards him and had no qualms about being clear about what she had thought about his relationship with Aunt Lucy. The first barb was exchanged as soon as Jessica arrived at the doorstep of Lucy’s Place, her late aunt’s summer guesthouse.
Sebastian had a laidback personality and he did not really care about Jessica’s ill judgement. In fact, some people on the island also had the same suspicions on his relationship to Aunt Lucy. However, Jessica’s being rude on their very first meet had left him fuming as well.
Sebastian came to Norfolk Island three years ago on holiday. He planned to stay for several weeks, but by the end of his stay, he had fallen in love with the place that he decided to extend his holiday. Previously Sebastian worked at a bank, but the job was too stressful that he felt that he had lost his soul. He found himself again when he stayed at Norfolk Island. Kindly Aunt Lucy had offered him to do odd-jobs around the guesthouse such as painting the walls in return for free lodging. Sebastian also kept Aunt Lucy company by playing board games and such, as there was no other form of entertainment on the remote island. Meanwhile, he had decided to left his banking job for good and pursue a career in writing instead. He had had enough money to last a lifetime that he had no need to go romancing Aunt Lucy.
Sebastian had made clear that he was just being a friend to Aunt Lucy, and their relationship was totally platonic. Aunt Lucy was a kindly old lady and Sebastian took good care of Aunt Lucy when she was ailing. Evie, a nice elderly lady who had been doing the cooking for Lucy, also attested to it.
Despite failing to converse in a civilised manner the first time they met, Jessica and Sebastian eventually warmed up to each other and then fell madly in love. They just realized that the reason they were piqued towards each other earlier was because the unfathomable, strong attraction they felt towards the other. The feeling just unnerved them. But once they got to know each other, Jessica and Sebastian got along quite well.
Meanwhile, Jessica did not manage to get much information about her family background. Evie, who had known her family for four decades, informed Jessica that Lucy and Joanne had a fallout many years ago. Joanne was about seventeen at the time while Lucy in her twenties. The big fight happened a week before Lucy’s wedding to a man called Bill. Joanne was supposed to be the bridesmaid, but she left Norfolk Island soon after the big argument and migrated to mainland Australia. Joanne and the rest of the family were not in contact ever since. What Jessica really wanted to know was why Lucy and Joanne had the fight, but Evie didn’t know that much.
Only a few days before the end of her stay in Norfolk Island, Jessica finally uncovered the secret behind her mother’s and Aunt Lucy’s fallout. It was Sebastian who had let slip about it, and Jessica ruefully learnt that her mother had had an affair with Aunt Lucy’s husband Bill. Worst, she was Joanne’s daughter with Bill! Actually, Lucy had never told anyone about Bill’s affair with Joanne. Lucy had let out the truth in delirium while Sebastian was caring for her in her illness.
When Jessica contacted her legal father, he confirmed the fact that she was Bill’s daughter. And that was the reason of his abandoning of them after the divorce with Joanne.
Jessica looked very much like Bill, and that was what had unnerved Aunt Lucy when she came to see her in Sydney. It was the main reason why Aunt Lucy left as suddenly as she arrived. However, being her sole heir, Aunt Lucy did want Jessica to inherit everything. The guesthouse was the family house for over a century, and Lucy had hoped that Jessica will continue looking after the house with love and care.
And Aunt Lucy had purposefully put Sebastian into the clause in her will to ensure Jessica will not let go of the property once she inherited. Aunt Lucy had hoped that Sebastian – who had every intention to remain in Norfolk Island all his life – may become the seal that cemented Jessica’s decision to remain there too.
Indeed, Aunt Lucy’s wish finally came true when Jessica and Sebastian fell in love, and Jessica decided to leave her live in Sydney and started anew in Norfolk Island. Jessica and Sebastian got married and went on to have three children that were lovingly raised at the family home in the island.
Sounds like an awesome read. And look at the hunk on the cover. Hehehe ^_^ReplyDelete
Yeah, he looks like some sort of Aussie surfer dude kan, hehehe!! 😜Delete