All the Way (Romancing Manhattan #1)(5)

“Great.” He waits for me to follow him over to his car, opens the door for me, and pulls out of his driveway.

“So, Gabby had horseback-riding lessons yesterday, and piano lessons today?”

“Yes,” he says with a nod. “I have her in several activities. I want her to meet other kids and have fun.”

“I don’t mean to pry, but is she okay?”

He sighs and signals to make a turn. “I’m not sure what’s up with her. She’s been really challenging for her dad, so I offered to bring her here for a few weeks to give him a break. I was hoping it would help her attitude, but so far it hasn’t.”

“Where’s her mom?”

“She passed away about five years ago,” he replies. “Her mom was my younger sister. Carter, Gabby’s dad, is still a good friend, and a partner at the firm, and he was about at his wit’s end with her.”

“Maybe she’s just going through a rough patch.”

He nods and swings into a driveway where Gabby is waiting on the porch of a house with a grandmotherly woman waiting with her. She waves at Finn as Gabby runs down to the car.

“She’s in my seat,” she grumbles as she climbs into the backseat.

“London is my guest and you’ll be polite, young lady,” Finn says, staring her down in the rearview mirror. “Apologize for being rude.”

“Sorry,” she says, and looks out her window as Finn pulls out of the driveway. He takes us to a restaurant by the water that is known for its fish and chips.

“I love this place,” I say when he finds a space to park. “I’ve come here since I was a kid.”

“Perfect,” he says with a smile, and we all climb out of the car and get settled at a table inside. Once we’ve ordered our lunch and have our drinks, I take a sip of lemonade and turn to Gabby.

“So, what musicals are your favorite, Gabby?”

“A Summer’s Evening is my favorite,” she says, not looking me in the eyes.

“Really? That’s the musical that I acted in for a few years.”

She nods. “Yeah, I know. My dad took me a couple of times.”

She shrugs a shoulder, like it’s no big deal. Which is fine with me.

“Uncle Finn has me in those stupid piano lessons, but I’d rather learn how to sing better.”

I glance up at Finn. “Well, I can give you voice lessons.”

Her eyes fly up to mine, holding a little bit of hope now. “You could?”

“Sure.” I shrug, as if it’s no big deal, mimicking her movement from a few seconds ago, and wink at Finn. “I mean, I’ve taken voice and dance since I was a little girl. I could totally help you.”

She clears her throat and then nods. “Yeah, that could be cool.”

“Okay, well, when it works with your schedule, we’ll do that.”

Our food is delivered, and I dig in, suddenly realizing that I’m starving. The meal is full of fat and oil. Tons of carbs. And I don’t even care.

When my basket is empty, I sit back and pat my food belly. “Good lord, that was good. What did you think, Gabby?”

“Pretty good,” she admits, and gives Finn the side-eye, not wanting to show too much enthusiasm.

“Thanks for inviting me along. What do you guys have planned for the rest of the day?”

“Gabby has her first karate lesson,” Finn says, and my head spins. Good God, she goes nonstop, and it’s her summer vacation.

“You’re a busy girl.”

“Tell me about it,” she says, rolling her eyes again. “I thought we would come here to relax, I mean, school’s out and all, but Uncle Finn has me doing everything.”

“I don’t want you to be bored,” he says, and nudges her with his elbow, but she scoots away from him. She doesn’t see the look of hurt in his eyes, and I feel badly for him.

“There are a ton of fun things to do here,” I reply. “Have you thought of sailing lessons?”

“I don’t like the water,” she says, shaking her head.

“Okay. Well, I think karate sounds fun.”

She just shrugs again and looks out the window, ignoring us both now.

“What about you?” Finn asks me. “What do you have planned?”

“Well, thanks to my car, I missed my PT appointment, so I’ll have to reschedule that. I was going to do some baking this evening.”

“What are you making?” Gabby asks.

“Pies. Maybe some cookies. I’ll bring you guys some. I love to bake, but I can’t eat any of it.”

“None of it?” Gabby asks with wide eyes.

“Nope, I have to stay in shape for my job.”

I blink rapidly, realizing that I probably don’t have a job to stay in shape for, but I don’t say that. Staying in good physical condition is a habit, and even if I don’t get to dance onstage again, it’s a healthy habit to have.

“I love pie,” Gabby says with a bright smile.

“I thought you might.”

Chapter Two


“Hey gorgeous,” my agent, Elizabeth, says into the phone the following day as I’m on my way to PT.

“Hi. Please tell me you have good news.”

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