Authors: Lily Malone
So Far Into You
So Far Into You
A new Australian rural romance about a millionaire wine tycoon, the woman he betrayed and the second chance neither was looking forâ¦
When she cut her viticulture degree short and moved home, Remy wasn't thinking about anything more than making the next dollar for her pocket. Working two jobs to keep food on the table and a loan shark from the door, Remy and her mother slowly build a new life together. Then a freak storm tears through the Margaret River Wine Festival â and Seth Lasrey tears through Remy's life.
Seth is old money. She is no money. He's the boss. She's his employee. He is society connections and expectations. She is threats and bad decisions and lost dreams. They seem to be so wrong they can only be right â until a costly mistake and a timely deception drives them apart. Remy picks up the pieces of her life and begins anew. The last thing she expects is Seth to show up in her small town in South Australia, bringing with him memories that she can't escape and a damaged heart that she's not sure she can resist.
Lily Malone would have been a painter, except her year-old son put a golf club through her canvas. So she wrote
His Brand Of Beautiful
instead. Since then she's written
Fairway To Heaven,
and the latest,
So Far Into You
for Escape Publishing. You can visit Lily at
Once again huge thanks to my dirty drafters: Jennie Jones and Juanita Kees, and my friend and critique partner, Kylie Kaden for help with the manuscript.
Thank you Kate Cuthbert from Escape Publishing, and editor extraordinaire, Belinda Holmes, for having such a good eye for things that could be better.
To Jarman and Breeze: more than enough dog for anyone, and too much for most.
There were prettier girls at the Margaret River Wine Festival that year but Seth Lasrey, standing inside the mouth of the marquee in Pioneer Park, had eyes only for one. She was with a group of Lasrey staff who had staked a claim on a handful of white plastic trestle tables outside the marquee, beneath a sail that would have sheltered them had there been any sun.
Her dress was the colour of a ripe slice of watermelon and she had no jacketâbloody ridiculous, he thought, given the storm that was on its way. She had her back to him, and both the dress and her hair tossed in a way that reminded him of how the waves smashed into the surf beaches all along the Cape.
Plus she was deep in conversation with his brother, Blake.
That's Blake for you.
Blake wouldn't get stuck in a stuffy tent talking to a bunch of winemakers in suits when there were pretty girls in pink dresses to tune.
Seth took a quick drink of the cabernet someone had poured in his glass. Beside him, a representative from one of the French cooperages droned on about the results of their latest oak trials. As salesmen went, this guy was pleasant enough, but Seth was way too jet-lagged to be polite so when the guy drew breath he said: âYou really should have this conversation with Rina, Philippe. She's our winemaker. How we use oak is her call.'
âI will speak to Miss Stein. I will,' the salesman assured, but the look on his face said:
But I know it's you who controls the money.
Seth excused himself and Philippe turned away, making a bee-line for the next person dressed like a decision-maker.
Which is another thing,
Seth grumped. Old Joe Lasrey would have turned in his grave if he could see all the suits and ties here today. Seth's father had pioneered the Margaret River Wine Festival and Joe saw it as an opportunity for the industry to come together to celebrate everything that made it great: grapegrower and winemaker working as one. Yet every year Seth shook hands with fewer wine-stained palms and more corporate types with soft skin and slick suits.
The girl in pink tilted her chin toward Blake. Whatever she said made his brother laugh out loud and Seth took half a step forward, ready to join them.
âThere you are!'
Through the muddle of bodies, his mother elbowed a path. Her perfume arrived before she did.
âDarling. I've been looking everywhere for you. I didn't see you last night.' Ailsa Lasrey lifted her head and Seth leaned low to kiss his mother's cheek.
âI only flew in to Perth last night. By the time I got down to the farm it was nearly ten. All I wanted was a hot shower and a bed.'
âYou work too hard.' Ailsa rubbed her palm from Seth's elbow to his shoulder. âWhere have you been this time?'
âChina. Beijing. Before that, Singapore. Before
, London for the second time in a month.' He glanced again toward the marquee opening. Was it darker out there? As he watched, a handful of empty plastic cups skittered off the picnic tables.
That was another thing Joe would have hated. Glass in the marquee, plastic cups outside, as if the workers couldn't be trusted not to break the best cutlery. If his father was paying any attention down in that grave, he wouldn't be satisfied with a mere turning. He'd be performing half pikes with triple twists.
âYou travel too much, darling. You should stick around for a while this time, take a holiday,' Ailsa said.
âA few days off would be good.' He'd get up early, take the fishing rods. Blake said there were some good fish biting. âBut I head off again Tuesday, Bordeaux for the trade exhibition, remember? If it wasn't for the festival, I would have stayed away. It was hardly worth coming back for three days.'
âWell, at least it's a long weekend and I, for one, am glad you're here. Someone has to talk some sense into Blake.'
Seth glanced outside at his brother. âWhat's he done now?'
âHe said he wants to take next year off to concentrate on his
.' She said it the same way she might have said
Seth shrugged. âHe's good. You know that.'
Ailsa's chin came up: âHe'll listen to you. Blake looks up to you. I'm not sure he's got people around him with his best interests at heart. Blake gets influenced so easily. He's not like you, Seth. Talk to him.'
Through the gap in the marquee, Seth saw the girl in pink laughing. Blake had his camera aimed at her and the flash was a strobe in the gloom.
Sometimes Seth envied his younger brother the freedom that came with no responsibility. Blake was happiest on the ocean, riding the waves. He worked in a logistics role at Lasrey but all he was doing was marking time, getting enough cash together to finance his next surf trip up north.
âBlake's twenty-two. He can look after himself.' It came out with more salt on it than Seth had intended but he was tired and his mother didn't know when to let up.
âOh, don't mind me, darling. Once a mother, always a mother. We never stop worrying about our children. You'll find that out one day.' There was a pause, one in which Seth could hear the pinballs in his mother's brain falling into their slots. âSpeaking of which â¦ maybe you can tack on some holiday time after this Bordeaux visit, hmm? Better yet, why not bring Helene back from France with you? I haven't seen her for far too long.'
And that was a thought that needed nipping in the bud, right now. âI don't have plans to see Helene.'
Ailsa sighed and stared pointedly out through the tent opening: âIt won't hurt the girls around here to see at least one of my sons with a girlfriend in tow. That girl in the pink dress is all over Blake.'
Seth took another look. One of her slim hands held a chunk of wheat-blonde hair at the nape of her neck, making a ponytail cascade over her shoulder. He could see why she'd caught his brother's eye. Blake was a leg man and as the wind whipped at the long pink skirt of her dress, it outlined a truly superb set of pins. She had legs like a dancer's.
She had dancer's shoes on her feet, too. Silver sparkly heels that were every bit as ridiculous as having no bloody jacket on a day like this.
âWho is she?' he asked.
âShe started as Greg Trimble's viticulture trainee in March.'
Ailsa's attention clicked back to him. âI'm impressed you'd remember. But of course, Remy is an unusual name.'
Seth ignored the dig. âLasrey isn't so big its CEO shouldn't know all the staff by name, MotherâDad always said that. Know their names and be the first to shake their hand.'
Ailsa bit her lip. âWe're not big enough
maybe. But we will be one day. You'll take us there. I know it. Your father never had the vision but you do, Seth. We've had better growth in this last four years, since you took the helm, than in the previous fourteen.'
âThere you are, Seth! Hello, Ailsa.'
âRina,' he greeted. He would have shaken her hand, but hers were busy with a bottle of red and an empty glass.
âRina, darling. How are you? You look lovely,' Ailsa gushed beside him. His senior winemaker and his mother exchanged air kisses.
When Seth looked back out the opening of the marquee, he couldn't see Blake. The girl was there though, looking lovely, if a little lost without his brother.
âTop you up?' Rina waggled the bottle at him.
He put his hand over his glass. âNo thanks. I'm driving.'
How much longer did he have to stay? Till the speeches, at least. Each year since his father died Seth had presented the Joe Lasrey Perpetual Trophy at the festival, for service to the Margaret River wine industry.
âBugger driving. That's no fun.' Rina filled her own glass and tucked the bottle between her feet. She wore sensible black boots under practical blue jeans. Not a sparkly silver sandal in sight.
Blake jogged back into Seth's view. He had a pair of rough timber boards under one arm, like thick over-sized skis, and Seth heard him bellow to the group of Lasrey workers: âWho's in for the plank walk with me?'
âLooks like Blake's having fun,' Rina commented, following Seth's gaze toward the park.
âHe always does,' Ailsa added drily. âSo does
. It's not hard to see why Greg hired her.'
His mother's tone made Seth pause. It wasn't unusual to see Ailsa agitated. The word could have been her middle name. Her angst over this girl felt different. Personal. And he didn't know why. Seth didn't like it when he didn't know the âwhy'.
âIf there's something you want to tell me, Mother, I'm sure Rina will excuse us for a second,' Seth said.
Ailsa laughed. âI don't keep secrets from Rina. She's like family.'
His winemaker batted Ailsa's compliment away.
âFair enough.' Seth's patience for the festival, the marquee and his mother, ebbed. âIf Greg Trimble hired Remy as his assistant, it would be because she was the best person for the job. Take my word for it.'