Casanova by Emma Hart



“I’m not dying. I’m six months pregnant. Not that you care.” My sister cut her eyes to me, her expression dark.

I rolled mine in response. “Connie, I didn’t even know you were pregnant until a few days ago. How could I care about something I didn’t know about?”

She sniffed at me, lightly pulling at the material covering her slightly-rounded stomach.

Honestly, she didn’t look pregnant. She looked like she’d eaten too much cake.

“You should have known,” she retorted.

“We speak every week. Maybe I would have if you’d told me.”

“You should have asked.”

I blinked at her. God, she was older than me, but she was one heck of a drama queen. “I’m sorry. When you pop this one out, I’ll make sure to start every phone call asking you about the condition of your uterus.”

“Yes. Do that. Now get me some more of those sausage rolls.” She tucked her dark hair away from her face and sat up again.

I repeated the eye roll, something I’d done far too much of since coming home for my grandmother’s funeral. My family tended to have that effect on me. And so did my hometown.

“Didn’t you just say you weren’t dying?” I replied dryly. “Get your own sausage rolls.”

“I hate you so much, Lani.” She huffed as she stood up.

“Good. Then you won’t miss me when I leave.” I picked up my too-warm glass of white wine and sipped. It took everything I had to wince at the harshness of the warm wine.

She paused, turned, and then held up one finger. “Hold that thought.”

I frowned as she half-waddled her way over to the buffet table, but I quickly shook it off.

No—I couldn’t think too much. The more I did that, the more I’d want to stay, especially now that Connie was having a baby. Hell, a part of me wanted to stay already. Unfortunately, I didn’t see freelance journalism working too well in Quietville, Florida.

Okay, so we really lived in Whiskey Key, Florida, but it felt like Quietville almost all the time. Nothing ever happened in my hometown, and I wasn’t sure anything ever had or ever would.

Point was, my career thrived on all things political, gossip, and exciting. It was how it worked. The moment something thrilling happened, I was there. There was a reason I lived in Los Angeles—things were always exciting there.

Florida simply couldn’t compare to California.

The Sunshine State and the Golden State. Both filled with sun and heat and happiness, they had so much yet so little in common.

I sipped again from my horribly warm wine. I knew my mother was in control of the catering for Grandma’s funeral, simply because of the state of it. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good, either. The wake consisted of more alcohol than food, something I know had my sister in the world’s worst mood already.

There was only alcohol, water, and orange juice. Since Preggers, as I’d affectionately dubbed my sister in the past week, hated orange juice, the great selection of water or water wasn’t tickling her pickle.

Although I’d love if something did, because I wanted to know who the father was. Another thing my sister was in-ordinarily tight-lipped about.

“You’re leaving again?” Connie dropped onto the sofa opposite me in Grandma’s family room. We’d long abandoned the main party for the solitude of the family room. “Where are you going to go?”

“Uh, home?” I replied.

It was a long shot. I’d been vague since the moment I drove into Whiskey Key.

“Where is home?” she pressed.

“California,” I shot back without any hesitance.

Connie’s soft-brown eyes searched mine before she said, “Florida.”

“Kiss my ass, Con.” I ground my teeth together. “You know this place isn’t my home. I don’t care about Whiskey Key. I don’t care about the summer fair or the Christmas lights or—”

“Your mom’s relationships or your dad’s business or your sister’s baby,” she said quietly.

“Don’t.” I put my glass back down on the table in front of me. “Just because I made a choice to leave doesn’t mean I don’t care about you all. How do you think I feel that you didn’t tell me about your baby? I don’t know a thing about your pregnancy. Have you been sick? Are you having a boy or a girl? A single or twins? Who’s the father? Are you together? Do you have a name picked out? How organized are you? When is your next doctor appointment? I care about you, Con. You’re my sister.”

Connie’s face paled. “I’m sorry,” she said quietly. “That wasn’t fair. I just...I miss you.”

“I’m sorry, too. I wasn’t nice either. But please...tell me everything.” I moved from the chair and to the sofa where I took a seat next to her. I wrapped her hand in mine and squeezed. “I mean it. I want to know.”

“I haven’t been sick,” she began, slowly. “Actually, it’s been good. She’s a girl, and she’s alone. I want to call her Emery Ada after Grandma. And yes, I know who the father is, but he doesn’t care, so no, we aren’t together. I’m doing this alone, and...and I need you, Lani. I’m scared.”

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