The Ultimate Treasure

By: Melody Anne

“I promise you, I’m okay. I really just want to get going now,” she said as she continued to stumble along after him.

He stopped and looked at her, and Stormy’s cheeks flushed at what he must be thinking. He had to know she’d just walked away from someone’s bed. He must be wondering which guy it had been. Maybe he was worried about it being one of his kin. For all she knew, Green Eyes was related to Joseph. The man had sported a really nice boat that was docked on the Anderson pier.

“I’m Joseph Anderson, by the way,” he said, releasing his protective grip on her hand. It seemed as though he expected her to now introduce herself. Something she absolutely didn’t want to do.

“It’s very nice to meet you, Mr. Anderson. As I said, I’m doing just fine, so I’ll be on my way,” she said as she retreated. The first thing she did was remove her shoes and grip them tightly in one hand.

“Where’s your car parked, Miss . . . ?” He trailed off, obviously waiting for her to give her name again.

“I rode here with a friend. I’ve called a cab, and it’s picking me up at the gate, so I’d best hurry,” she said. She hadn’t yet called the damned cab, but she was planning to as soon as she escaped from the intimidating Anderson patriarch.

“Then I’ll walk you to the gate,” Joseph said.

This walk of shame just kept on getting worse and worse. Now the man was going to catch her in a lie. Her humiliation was complete.

“Well, I haven’t actually called the cab yet. I was just getting ready to when I ran into you. So I had best get going and do that. By the time I get to the gate, the cab will be waiting for me,” she said with a sheepish laugh.

“Nonsense, young lady. If you were a guest at the party, I insist on having my driver give you a ride home,” Joseph said, once again tugging on her arm.

Stormy gasped. “I couldn’t have you do that.”

“I won’t take no for an answer.”

And that was why the man always got his way, she decided.

Within a minute, a black car pulled up; a man emerged from the driver’s side and opened the back door for her. Stormy found herself practically pushed into the car, and the only relief she felt was when the car pulled away from the Anderson mansion.

She didn’t look back to see Joseph reach down and pick up the locket that had dropped from her neck, or the smile he wore as he held it.

All fairy tales must come to an end, and when she got home and walked inside, she was cruelly thrust back into the real world—her carriage was now a pumpkin again, and her glass slipper left behind . . .

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