The High Price of Secrets

By: Yvonne Lindsay

One

“What do you mean you quit? It’s only four and a half weeks to Christmas! We’re so busy with guests and functions that we can barely move. Look, let’s talk about it. If you’re not happy, we can work around that. Find you something else to do.”

Tamsyn sighed inwardly. Find her something else to do. Sure, that would solve how she felt right now—not. She couldn’t blame her brother, Ethan, for wanting to make things right for her. He’d done it all her life, after all. But this situation was beyond his fixing. That was why she’d needed to get away.

A holiday was something she’d been thinking about for a while. Working at The Masters, which in addition to being their family home was a vineyard and winery with luxury cottage accommodation on the outskirts of Adelaide in South Australia, hadn’t given her any satisfaction for a very long time. She’d been restless, feeling as if she didn’t really fit in anymore—at work, at home, in her family, even in her engagement.

The debacle of the night before had only proven just how right she was.

“Ethan, I can’t talk about it. I’m in New Zealand.”

“You’re in New Zealand? I thought you were staying here in Adelaide with Trent last night,” Ethan’s incredulity was clear as it transmitted through the hands-free kit in her rental car.

Tamsyn counted slowly to ten, letting her brother continue to let off steam before replying.

“I’ve ended our engagement.”

There was the briefest of silences as her words sunk in.

“You what?” Ethan sounded as if he wasn’t certain he’d heard her correctly.

“Long story.” She swallowed against the pain that had lessened to a persistent dull throb deep in her chest.

“I have ears.”

“Not now, Ethan. I c-can’t.” Her voice broke and tears spilled uncontrolled down her cheeks.

“I’m going to hurt him,” Ethan growled from far across the Tasman Sea with his characteristic brotherly protectiveness.

“No, don’t. He’s not worth it.”

Her brother sighed and she could feel his concern and frustration in that single huff of air. “When are you coming back?”

“I…I don’t know. It’s kind of up in the air at the moment.” She didn’t think that now was a good time to tell him she’d only bought a one-way ticket.

“Well, at least you trained your assistant to take over when needed. Is Zac up to date with everything?”

Even though she knew he couldn’t see her, Tamsyn shook her head and bit her lip.

“Tam?”

“Um, no. I fired him.”

“You wh—?” Ethan fell silent as he started to put two and two together, coming up with his usual four. Even so, he couldn’t keep the incredulity from his voice. “Zac and Trent?”

“Yup,” she said, her throat almost paralyzed and strangling the single word.

“Will you be okay? I’ll come over. Just tell me where you are.”

“No, don’t. I’ll be fine—eventually. I just need…” She drew in a shuddering breath. She couldn’t even find the words to say what she really needed—she had to simply tell him something he’d understand. “I just need some time alone. Some space so I can think things out. I’m sorry about leaving like this. Everything is in my computer, you know the password, and the bookings are all duplicated on the wall planner as well. Worse comes to worst, they can phone me if they need to.”

“We’ll take care of it, don’t worry.”

Her big brother’s firm conviction wasn’t as good as being right there with him, but in terms of comfort it came close.

“Thanks, Ethan.”

“No problem, but Tam? Who’s going to take care of you?”

“I will,” she said firmly.

“I really think you should come home.”

“No, I know what I need to do. It’s important to me, now more than ever.” This part, she had to share with him—even though she knew he wouldn’t like it. “I’m going to find her, Ethan.”

Silence, then another sigh. “Are you sure now is the best time to go searching for our mother?”

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