Absolutely, Luka sorted it.
There was a brief debate with Giovanni and a groundsman who had made his way over, and then Luka told her his decision.
‘For now the horse can stay here,’ Luka told her.
‘Here?’ Maya scoffed. ‘What, shall I pop him onto the lawn?’
‘You were threatening to release him a few moments ago,’ Luka reminded her.
‘I wouldn’t have,’ she admitted and then she was rewarded with a tiny glimmer of what had the potential to be the most stunning smile.
Maya wished she might see it in full.
His eyes weren’t just dark, they were jet black, and for a moment Maya forgot her rather grubby appearance and smiled back.
Luka didn’t return it; instead he told her the plans he had made.
‘For now he’ll be housed in the Di Sione stables until more suitable accommodation can be found.’
Luka didn’t waste words, Maya noticed. He didn’t ask unnecessary questions like whether she’d be staying with the horse.
‘I’ll come and speak with you later,’ he told Maya. ‘Once I know exactly what’s going on.’
It took a couple of hours to track down Matteo and work things out. Once Luka had taken care of it all, Alma told him that, tired from the interruption, Giovanni had retired for a rest. ‘I’ll make you a late lunch,’ she offered.
‘No need,’ Luka said, given that by day he tended to run on caffeine.
‘Well, could you take some down to the stable girl?’ Alma asked. ‘And tell her I have made up a guest room whenever she is ready to come in.’
Luka took the picnic basket Alma had prepared for Maya and walked past the lake, taking his time. It was a gorgeous afternoon and he was more than familiar with the grounds. He turned and headed towards the stables, but as he approached Luka briefly broke his stride.
The angry woman who had greeted him earlier now lay on a field of yellow daisies, no doubt a treat for the little piebald pony whose nose was sticking out from one of the stables. The magnificent stallion was in another and sniffing at the foreign air. He seemed a whole lot calmer.
It was a picture of serenity.
Maya’s magnificent auburn hair spilled onto the grass. Her boots were off and one knee was up and a hand rested on her stomach. She looked incredibly beautiful, Luka thought. He was used to coiffed and buffed women who made no waves when on his arm. Maya, on the other hand, had an earthy beauty and clearly spoke her mind.
She was rather refreshing.
As Luka approached he realised she was asleep.
Actually, Maya was only half asleep.
It had been a long day that had started at four, exercising Turn On A Dime and then getting him ready for the journey. Once she had somewhat settled him, Maya had taken an apple from her bag and lain on the beautiful grass, listening to the birds and thinking about a man with black eyes who had so easily calmed a fraught situation down.
She felt a shadow fall over her and looked up and there he was.
‘I have news,’ he said.
Maya heard his lovely deep voice and the shadow he cast did not cool her; in fact she blushed.
He noted that she did.
‘Oh, and I bring food for the stable girl also.’
‘Less of the stable girl,’ Maya said as she lay there. She wished she could properly see his features, for she felt she might have missed a rare smile. And, because she couldn’t see him, and the air between them now felt kind, it felt appropriate to speak the truth. ‘I’m sorry about before.’
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