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After her parents' death, twelve-year-old Isabella Harrington feels indebted to David Gray and his wife, Henrietta Gray, who adopts her. She leaves her home and moves to Las Vegas to start life afresh. However, the moment she sets her eyes upon their younger son, Weston Gray, six years older and a typical bad boy, she knows that he's trouble. As she grows up, can she deny the attraction that she feels since the moment they clash with one another? Can she deal with the tornado called Weston Gray? With every moment spent in his company being charged with emotional upheavals, how will the innocent Isabella save her heart? Can she forget the moments spent with him when he leaves home for his studies? What will she do when he returns with a girlfriend? What will she do when she realizes she has fallen for him? Will she move on when his girlfriend announces their upcoming wedding? Will Weston Gray own up to his true feelings for the girl he had set his eyes on? Or will he marry a girl he has no feelings for? A bittersweet journey of love, full of twists and turns and a beautiful storyline that will capture your heart. The lead characters, Isabella Harrington and Weston Gray are polar opposites. Experience their collisions, their sweet interactions, their roller-coaster relationship, and the dramatic scenes between them, all spanning a period of ten years, captured in a most poignant and enchanting way. Read Isabella's story as she falls for her foster brother and the upheavals that she goes through. With plenty of twists and turns, this powerful and passionate love story will surely make you emotional!
Chapter 1 Prologue
Thank you for selecting my story.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of my imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Copyright © Rituparna Darolia.
All rights reserved. No part of this novel may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author.
Isabella stared out of the car window as David Gray drove her from her hometown of Los Angeles towards his house in Las Vegas. The scenic beauty around her didn’t interest her as she sat lost in her own thoughts. The tears had dried up after her mom’s funeral three days ago. At twelve, she had suddenly become an orphan with nowhere to go to and no one to call her own.
Isabella’s dad, Norman Harrington, was a lawyer who belonged to an aristocratic British family with orthodox views. They lived in London and Isabella had never seen them or heard from them at all in her entire twelve years of life. Her mom, Gloria Porter, was an orphan and worked as a server at a posh upscale restaurant in Los Angeles. Norman Harrington met her and married her against the wishes of his family.
However, their happiness was short-lived as he died because of a brain stroke when Isabella was just ten. Her mom tried hard to cope up with the loss, but soon she was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease and had to discontinue work. Since her treatment was expensive, they had no other option than to use her dad’s savings. They sold off the house and moved into a small one-bedroom apartment. After one and a half years of treatment, her mom developed a renal infection that led to kidney failure and eventual death. After she died, Isabella was left all alone to cope with her loss. Her next-door neighbor was helpful enough and arranged for her mom’s funeral.
She didn’t wish to be taken away to a foster home, but what other option did she have? Her neighbor, Aunt Dorothy, was a sixty-year-old woman with a paltry income to support her own needs and therefore couldn’t take the responsibility of a twelve-year-old child. She was so worried about Isabella that she called the last number her mom had dialed on her mobile phone before she died. The number of Henrietta Gray, her mom’s childhood friend, who lived in Las Vegas.
Henrietta Gray seemed a kind and sweet woman who immediately rose to the occasion. She spoke to a grief-stricken and frightened Isabella, comforting her in her motherly way. She promised to come to get her as soon as possible. The next day, Henrietta Gray and her husband David Gray drove all the way to Los Angeles to bring her home with them.
The moment Isabella saw her mom’s friend, she had broken down with grief. She seemed exactly like her mom, sweet, kind, and very beautiful. Tears welled up in her eyes as she hugged the distraught girl to her chest, trying her best to comfort Isabella. The next two days, they packed her stuff up and called the packers and movers to shift everything to Las Vegas. They released the apartment and loaded Isabella’s personal stuff into their car, driving her all the way to Las Vegas.
“We’re nearly there, Isa,” said Aunt Henrietta, and Isabella nodded, looking around curiously. Soon enough, the car drove through the gates of a sprawling villa painted in a beautiful combination of white and aqua blue. The front yard was picture perfect, with its gardens, a blue fountain, and a swing in a shady corner. Isabella looked around her new home, loving the homely feel of the place.
“Come inside, Isa,” coaxed David Gray, seeing the girl gazing at the swing.
“You can play on that after you’ve eaten something,” said Aunt Henrietta and Isabelle nodded. Still, in a state of trauma, she hardly spoke much, following them meekly into the beautifully decorated house.
“Hudson, Weston, we’re home,” announced Aunt Henrietta, looking around.
Suddenly, the sound of footsteps thundered through the air as two gigantic boys ran down the staircase, competing to reach their mom first.
“Beat you the tenth time. Quite a hat trick! Admit it, Hud,” said one of them, coming to a halt right in front of her. He didn’t look over eighteen and towered above her slender frame, making Isabella crane her neck to look up at him. However, it was his expressive twinkling blue eyes that had her mesmerized. With his long hair held at bay with a band and a big tattoo on his arm of something that Isabella couldn’t decipher, he looked like the typical bad boys she avoided at school. He gaped at her with curiosity and something else. Interest? Isabella wasn’t sure. He raised his eyebrow at her with a smirk on his face, making her come to her senses. She was so engrossed in him that she hadn’t noticed the other one at all.
“Who’s this, Mom?” said the other guy, and Isabella turned to him. He was also of the same height, but his eyes were light brown, just like his father’s. Unlike the other guy, his hair was normal, and he didn’t have any tattoos. He looked at her with a friendly smile on his face, making him look warm, kind, and approachable, just like his mom.
“She’s Isabella. She will live here from now on, with us, like a family,” announced Aunt Henrietta.
“Why is she here, Mom?” asked the tattooed guy in a gruff voice, showing his displeasure.
“She’s lost both her parents. Her mom was my childhood friend, and I want her to stay here. No more arguments, Weston.“
“Hey, I’m Hudson,” said the brown-eyed boy, stretching his hand for a shake. “Welcome to the Gray world.” Isabella couldn’t help smiling too and shook his hand, feeling a little better.
“I can’t possibly adjust to her mom. You can’t just pick up everyone and bring them home to disrupt our privacy,” said the tattooed guy.
“No one is asking you to adjust, Weston. She won’t bother you at all,” said his dad sternly. That shut Weston up and he strode past them towards the door. The sound of his motorcycle roaring to life and racing away made his parents sigh.
“Give him time, mom. He’ll come around,” said Hudson.
“Hope so,” shrugged his mom, looking at Isabella tenderly. The poor girl hadn’t spoken a single word since the day she met her and she was very concerned about her. Did she need a doctor?
“Come dear, I’ll show you to your room,” she said, walking towards the stairs to go up since there weren’t any other bedrooms available downstairs. Isabella followed her meekly and so did Hudson, carrying her luggage.
“Will she stay here?” asked Hudson excitedly, seeing his mom enter the room next to his. His mom nodded, and he deposited her stuff in her room.
“Isa, you can freshen up, dear,” she told the quiet girl. Isabella nodded and the moment she went towards the washroom, Henrietta Gray turned towards her teenage son.
“She’s in a state of trauma and hasn’t spoken a word since I saw her, Hudson. Don’t hit upon her, please. She’s just twelve. Treat her as a sister, since your dad will adopt her legally.” Hudson nodded since he knew that at eighteen, he was six years older than her and she was too young to interest him. He left her room with his mom, closing the door after him. His mom turned to him worriedly.
“Tell Weston that too. He shouldn’t mess with her at all. I’ll punish him if he does,” she said strictly.
“Yes, mom. Don’t worry, I’ll get that drilled into his head.”
His mom went towards her room, tired after the long drive. Her husband was lying on the bed after freshening up, straightening his aching back. “That more or less went better than I had expected. I hope Weston accepts Isabella just like Hudson did,” said David Gray. They all knew that although the boys were twins, their natures were opposites. While Hudson was too mature for his age and thought before acting, Weston was immature, headstrong, and independent. His actions came before. Although both were brilliant where studies were concerned, David Gray was very concerned about Weston and his bad habits. There wasn’t a thing that Weston didn’t engage in. He twice landed in police lock-up already and David Gray had to use all his contacts to get him out. Yet he didn’t learn his lesson.
“It will be tough, but maybe with time, he will,” said his wife.
“So, who will you consult for the adoption process?” asked his wife after she had freshened up.
“John is the best lawyer for this. What do you say?” asked David Gray and his wife agreed. John Campbell and his wife Gabriella were their family friends and had helped them many times.
“We should start the procedure as soon as possible,” she told him.
“Yes, I’ll call him to invite him and Gabby to dinner tomorrow. What do you say?” he asked her.
“That’ll be great.” She went upstairs to check up on the frightened girl. To her dismay, she saw her sitting on the windowsill, staring blankly outside.
“Isa? Are you okay?” she asked her gently. Isabella nodded, focussing her dazed eyes upon her.
“You must be hungry. Come down, I’ll make something for you,” said Henrietta Gray. Isabella nodded again, making Henrietta sigh, and go to the kitchen to make some lunch.
Isabella’s gaze went back to her window. She could make out Weston’s figure in an electric blue tee-shirt and white shorts, playing soccer with a bunch of boys in a field a little farther away from the house. She didn’t understand why he hated the sight of her. Was she imposing upon the Grays?
Chapter 2 Dealing With Weston’s Hatred
“Hey, pumpkin,” said Hudson, peering into Isabella’s room. She turned to look at him and his face brightened up when he saw how her lips broke into a smile at the nickname.
“You seem to like your nickname, don’t you?” he asked, coming inside her room and sitting on the windowsill with her.
“Yes,” said Isabella, speaking for the first time since her mother’s death. Hudson looked at her with a kind smile.
“I’m glad you came to stay here. I was worried that mom and dad would be lonely after we left,” said Hudson.
“Are you going away?” asked Isabella. She liked this warm brown-eyed boy and felt very comfortable in his company as if she’d known him for a long time.
“Yes, in another four months, we’ll go away to New York to study. Mom’s family lives there. You should know since your mom also used to live in New York when she was young,” said Hudson, and Isabella’s eyes widened. She didn’t know that.
“I didn’t know. Mom never told me,” she told him in a
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