The Immortal Who Loved Me(Argeneau, book 21)(76) by Lynsay Sands
“It sounds as if he tried to fill the hole Richard Carne left behind when he separated from your mother,” Basil said quietly.
“He more than filled it,” Sherry said on a sigh. “He paid me more attention and was more of a father than Richard Carne ever was.”
“And then he left and came back into your life as Lex,” Basil said gently.
Sherry nodded. “As Lex he was my best friend, but . . . Well, I thought of him as an older brother of sorts, but the truth is he was still more of a father figure. He was still doing all the things he had before, advising me on what courses to take, helping me with assignments when I ran into difficulty, making sure I ate when I got wrapped up in studying and stuff.”
“And as Zander?” Basil asked.
“The same again. He was my employee and supposedly younger than me, but he was there for me, offering me support and encouragement and helping out however he could.”
“It sounds like he devoted a lot of his time to you,” Basil said quietly, and then added, “As a father myself, I know how hard it is to get it right, Sherry. We are human, we make mistakes, but he appears to have tried very hard to be a good father to you under the circumstances.”
Sherry nodded and then glanced down at their entwined hands and admitted, “You’re right. He did.” She grimaced and then added, “I’m not happy that he controlled me, but I realized after talking to Elvi that it’s what parents do. Mortal parents use punishments and groundings and stuff to control their kids, not actually taking control of them. But it’s a parent’s job to keep their child away from drugs or other things that might hurt them, and to make them decent, self-sufficient people. And I know that’s something that is harder and harder to accomplish in this society. Some parents don’t even bother, but Alexander, at least, tried, and he was always there for me.”
She fell silent, and when Basil didn’t say anything, raised her gaze to him uncertainly, and then paused at his expression. He was staring at her, a softness in his eyes that she’d never seen before. Biting her lip, she tilted her head and then asked, “What?”
“God, I love you Sherry Harlow Carne,” he growled, and then kissed her. It wasn’t the usual passionate devouring, but a tender caress, and Sherry felt her heart swell and her eyes glaze with tears, and then his tongue slid between her lips and her pants were on fire. Dear God, the man was a match to her tinder. All he had to do was kiss her and she was ready to crawl into his lap and ride him down the highway . . . and she didn’t particularly care that Lucian and Bricker were there.
“If you two can untangle yourselves, we have arrived,” Lucian said dryly from the front seat.
Sherry moaned with disappointment and leaned her forehead on Basil’s chest when he reluctantly broke the kiss. They both remained still as they regained their composure, and then Sherry eased back into her seat and glanced around to see that they had passed through the gates and were coming to a halt in front of the house.
“I expect you’ll want to talk to your father,” Lucian said, unsnapping his seat belt. “Basil can take you. You have ten minutes.”
Sherry scowled at the autocratic man, but was beginning to see that it was impossible to argue with him, so she didn’t bother. Instead, she quickly unsnapped her seat belt and scrambled out of the SUV.
“Where is he?” she asked Basil as he closed the door. “In those cells by the dogs?”
When Basil nodded, Sherry caught his hand and started in that direction at a jog.
“Did you want to talk to him alone?” Basil asked when she reached the door to the outbuilding behind the house and suddenly stopped, without reaching to open the door.
“No,” she said quickly, spinning to face him. “No, I want you there,” and then blurted, “I love you,” and spun to open the door.
Sherry was halfway up the first hall when she realized Basil was no longer with her. Frowning, she rushed back to the door and pushed it open to see him standing where she’d left him, looking as if he’d been pole-axed.
“Basil?” she said impatiently.
His gaze flickered up to her face. “You love me?”
Sherry frowned, her gaze going over her shoulder to the building housing her father, but then sighed and stepped back outside. Pausing in front of him, she reached up to cup his face and said, “Yes, Basil. I love you.” She followed that up with a gentle kiss, but pulled away before he could deepen it and spun back to the door, adding briskly, “Now let’s go. We can talk about this later. We only have ten minutes.”
“Right. Later. Ten minutes,” Basil muttered, sounding dazed, but when she started up the hall and glanced back this time, he was right on her heels. He was also wearing a goofy grin now, she noted, and found herself donning one as well. Damn, she loved him.
Shaking her head, Sherry took the left hall just past the office and hurried forward. She couldn’t hear the dogs this time so supposed they were up at the house being spoiled rotten, or ruined, as Mortimer put it, by Sam. That thought made her smile, and then she pushed through the door leading to the hall of cells and her smile faded.
She found her father in the second cell on the right. He was seated on a cot, a book in hand. But he quickly closed it and got to his feet when he saw her.
“Hi,” he said uncertainly when Sherry just stared at him.
“Hi,” she murmured back, finding herself backing up until she bumped up against Basil’s chest. She relaxed a little when his arms slipped around her, and then blurted, “What’s your name? You’re my father and I don’t even know your name.”
Alexander sighed and dropped the book on the bed, then took a couple steps closer to the bars. He paused, though, when Sherry stiffened again.
“I told you, my name is Alexander,” he said gently.
Sherry shifted impatiently and moved forward a step, unintentionally moving out of Basil’s arms. “I know that. But Alexander what? You were Lex Brown and Zander—”
“Marrone,” he answered before she could finish.
“Oh,” Sherry said, and then tried out the name. “Alexander Marrone. I suppose it’s okay.”
“I’m glad you approve,” her father said with amusement, and then glanced to Basil when he shifted beside Sherry.
“You aren’t Reg’s son?” Basil asked with a frown. “The one who’s been missing for . . .”
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