The Last Billionaire

The Last Billionaire
The Last Billionaire
Escape to Sun Valley
Rating: 70 reviews
By: Sarah Gay
Release Date: Jan. 31, 2022
Format: Kindle
Series: Grant Brothers Romance (Book 8)
Genres: Sweet Romance, Romantic Comedy, Christian Romance

The Billionaire and the HR Consultant.

She's desperate for work.

He's desperate to prove himself to his family. When he hires her as an HR consultant, she brings him a hire love.

Will they become a super couple and have their happily-ever-after? Or will he be the last billionaire standing...alone?

Books in the Grant Brothers Romance series:

  1. Book 1
    Her Reluctant Boss
    Jun. 15, 2019
  2. Book 2
    The Billionaire Patriot
    Oct. 13, 2019
  3. Book 3
    The Billionaire Smokejumper
    Dec. 28, 2020
  4. Book 4
    The Billionaire Champion
    May. 23, 2021
  5. Book 5
    The Billionaire Hockey Star
    Oct. 21, 2021
  6. Book 6
    Once Upon a Midnight Kiss
    Nov. 19, 2021
  7. Book 7
    The Billionaire Fake Fiancé
    Dec. 1, 2021
  8. Book 8
    The Last Billionaire
    Jan. 31, 2022 (this book)
Chapter 1

"This is so much better than listening to boring speeches." With a zing of excitement, Clara Duncan carefully positioned her penny on the rusted metal railroad track. She jumped up and grabbed Enoch's hand.

"Wahoo!" Enoch hollered as they ran down the grassy slope together. That's how it had always been—she and Enoch, screaming with laughter together while doing something borderline heroic, and utterly stupid. Missing their high school graduation today had been his idea, not that she had protested.

His face lit with mischievous satisfaction, a look she knew all too well.

"Proud of yourself?" she asked.

Glancing back at the railroad tracks, Enoch said, "I'd rather do this than swim with manta rays in Australia."

"Sure, you would," she said with heavy sarcasm. "Spoiled brat. I've never been to the ocean. Never even left Montana, and you get to spend an entire summer down under." She tsked her tongue at him.

With a circular motion of his head, Enoch tossed back his shoulder-length, dark wavy hair. Why couldn't she have hair like his? It wasn't fair. Her dirty-blonde, flat hair didn't compare to the sheen and bounce of Enoch's beautiful locks. He plopped down next to her on the picnic blanket, causing the cheese and crackers to bounce and sprinkle her with crumbs.

Most of the time, Enoch Price was simply her sidekick, the playful kid from across the tracks, but when he sat that close to her, her temperature rose, and her speech stammered. If he weren't so dang cute it would be easy to relax on the blanket with him. He'd always had a strong jaw, high cheek bones, and tanned, olive skin, but he'd also always been the school goofball who lived to make her laugh. It wasn't until this past year, after running track and competing in wrestling, that he'd brought his body on par with his pretty face. He was now the complete package. Brains, brawn, and personality.

Clara glanced across the tracks at the manicured lawn and expertly trimmed bushes which encased the horticultural masterpiece which stretched out several acres before it reached the Price mansion. There were two sides of the tracks in Hidden Falls—the poor side, and the Price side. The Prices had moved to Clara's sleepy town when Enoch turned six to escape family relations who tried to exploit their new oil wealth. Since then, they'd purchased nearly every business in town. Enoch's parents were a little stand-offish, but Clara saw their coldness as a protective mechanism. "At least they're fair with their employees," Clara's mom would quip back every time a covetous neighbor started to complain about how the Prices should be more friendly or generous.

Laying down on her side, Clara angled her face toward the sun. She had to enjoy summer sunshine while she could. It didn't last more than a few weeks in mountainous Montana. "When do you think the train will come by?" she asked, reveling at how the sun warmed her cheeks so quickly.

Enoch laid on his back and placed his worn cowboy hat over his face. "Could be hours."

"I'm not complaining." She closed her eyes and took in the world around her, the chirp of crickets, the scent of fresh cut grass, and the quiet rustling of the warm breeze. "I could use a nap after you kept me up all night on the phone." She pointed to her throat. "I got a kink in my neck from staring up at the sky." She opened her eyes just long enough to squint her angst at him. "Waiting for a comet that never came."

"It did come," he argued. "You were just too blind to see it." He lifted her glasses off her face. "I told you that I would pay to have your eyes done. Go get them lasered already."

"Why? You think I'll be prettier without glasses?" she said with a snort, knowing good and well he wasn't attracted to her.

She'd been told she had a unique, exotic look because of her huge green eyes, her even more prominent mouth with her voluminous lips and her wide smile.

As a kid, having a large mouth wasn't always a good thing, not when the neighbor boys teased her, calling her big mouth.

"Whatever. You know you're a hottie," he said, pushing the glasses back onto her face.

There were other guys at school who thought she was pretty and told her as much, but Enoch had never said anything to her about being attractive...until now. Her breath quickened. She couldn't hold back a smile. "You think I'm beautiful?" She could feel his eyes on her. A tingling sensation flowed down her arm and leg as he wrangled up to her side and their skin touched.

He cleared his throat. "It doesn't matter what I think. It's a fact."

She turned away from him so he wouldn't see disappointment cloud her face. She wasn't sure what she was expecting from her childhood best friend in the way of romance, but it wasn't a monotone statement like ‘It doesn't matter, it's a fact.' Her girlfriends had always assumed that she and Enoch had an understanding, were a secret couple, so they never staked their claim on him, but it wasn't like that between she and Enoch, even if she privately wished it were. He'd never made a move.

He touched her shoulder, causing nervous flutters to attack her chest. Considering what he'd just said, maybe he was finally ready to change their status from friends to something more.

Her nose tickled. She opened her eyes to Enoch reaching over her and brushing her face with a long blade of dry grass, the kind with a tuft of seeds on top. "Enoch!" she rebuked him but couldn't help but giggle while she smacked the grass out of his hand.

A dog's howl pulled their attention toward the tracks. A sandy-colored, medium-sized dog barked at the air in the direction of West Yellowstone. The railway through Hidden Falls once carried excited tourists to the nation's first national park to drink in Old Faithful's reliable show, but that part of the railway had discontinued decades earlier, long before Clara had been born. The tracks ended a few miles down the road at the train depot. The retired stretch of railroad had recently been converted into a gravel trail, now sporadically utilized by cyclists or recreational cowboys—a term she'd coined for horseback riders who considered themselves cowboys because they mounted a horse on occasion. Every now and then, recreational cowboys would continue their ride past the depot, aside the active railroad tracks and discover Hidden Falls. The Price's even had a bed and breakfast with a stable to welcome the occasional ride-in guest.

The ground rumbled, signaling an inbound train. The dog barked at the air again, spun in a circle, then barked with increased vigor.

"He's not getting off the tracks," she whimpered with hurried anticipation, biting into her nails.

Enoch bounced to his feet and ran at full speed up the hill.

Following Enoch's lead, Clara jumped up and waved her arms frantically in the air while she advanced toward the dog. "Move!" she yelled, but the ragged dog didn't seem to notice her or Enoch sprinting onto the tracks behind him.

A red locomotive came into view, chugging toward them. Standing in the center of the track, Clara called to Enoch. The train's horn blared, canceling out her voice. Her heart flew into her throat, choking her. The earth shook under her feet, causing her legs to tremble. She screamed for Enoch again but the only sound in her ears was the deafening reverberation of metal scraping against metal.

Suddenly, Enoch appeared in front of her with the dog tucked under his left arm. With wild eyes, Enoch grabbed her arm and yanked hard. Pain seared through her shoulder as if her arm had been pulled from its socket. Her toe hit a railroad spike, throwing her off balance and causing her body to fling toward the ground. She tucked her head into her chest seconds before her shoulder slammed into the hard, dry earth. She tumbled down the graveled slope on the Price side of the tracks. When her body finally came to a stop, she struggled to draw in sufficient air to catch her breath. With a deep inhale, the scent of grass, chalky rocks, and fresh blood snapped her out of her daze. Slowly curling into the fetal position, she felt the sting of road rash prickle her arms and legs.

Enoch dropped the dog and began patting her arms, checking for signs of life.

The realization hit her in an instant. "We're alive!" she screamed, shoving herself to her feet.

Enoch grabbed her head and pressed her face into his chest. "I can't lose you." He smelled like cranberry sauce and turkey. He had brought her favorite sandwich to their picnic lunch. Signs of cranberry still smeared his soft cotton shirt. He was sloppy and impetuous, but he was home.

"You never will." A light summer breeze caught her hair, cooling the back of her neck.

Pulling her head away from his chest, he searched her face, fearful and frantic, until their eyes met. His facial expression relaxed as he lowered his head. He drew in a staggered breath before he kissed her lightly. The tenderness of his kiss caused her chest to burn.

Her first kiss!

She leaned into his kiss while a high squeak of happiness bubbled in her throat. She instructed her mind to sear the moment into her—

He dropped his arms and stepped back. "That was amazing!" he shouted, glancing at the disappearing train.

Did he think kissing her was amazing or dodging death?

In all her kissing dreams, her first kiss had never ended so quickly, before her brain had time to process it. Her first kiss hadn't been something she held out for, waiting for the perfect moment, or the perfect boy. Guys simply didn't ask her out. She and Enoch had an unspoken arrangement to hang out whenever they weren't with their other friends. Not to mention, cute boys were scarce in Hidden Falls. It seemed natural that her first kiss would be with Enoch, even if it had only lasted a second.

"Come on." He took her hand. "Let's wash you up." He glanced down at her bloody knees, bringing her attention to the physical pain she'd been too slaphappy to notice.

After the initial hot rush of adrenaline surged through her veins from having cheated death, her legs quivered and her stomach spasmed.

"And you're dirty," he reminded her. He knew exactly how much she hated mud. "Good thing you don't have a mirror."

If he were trying to take her mind off the pain, he wasn't succeeding. Scratching the side of her nose in thought, she said, "Take a photo of me like this and you die." She wouldn't put it past him. Teasing her was as much a part of his personality as taking a thirty-minute shower; she only knew that because she used to wait for him outside the boys' locker room after track practice.

He threw his head back and laughed at her, then waved for the dog to join them. "Come on, Boy."

If she hadn't caught Enoch's loving expression, she would have smacked her forehead dramatically to let him know how naïve he was acting. His parents weren't pet people. She didn't have the heart to mock him, not when his face held tender affection for the discarded animal. "You named him?"

He looked back at the dog who trailed behind them sheepishly. "I saved Boy's life. Seems only right to name him."

As they trekked to his house through the intricately pruned rose gardens, her anxiety spiked. Duty called. Enoch needed a reality check. It was for his own good. "Your parents never let you have a dog before. There's no way they'll let you keep one now. Especially a mangy stray." Boy whined as if he'd understood her. Fact was fact. "You're leaving for Australia tomorrow and then college when you get back."

Enoch's huge brown eyes begged her. How in the blazing hill had his mom never given in to those adorable eyes and allowed him to have a puppy as a kid? His mom was one tough cookie.

Enoch looked at Clara in a way that pleaded with her to be his backup in case his parents turned him down yet again—which they would. No way. Not today. Enoch could give her all the delicate, heart-warming kisses he wanted. She wasn't about to cave.

She elongated her back and walked tall. "Not happening. Don't even think about it. I'm leaving this backwoods town too and there's no way my dorm will let me keep a dog." She picked up her pace, staying a few steps ahead of him. When she'd reached the huge maple tree they used to climb as kids, she stretched up and shook a branch, causing helicopter seeds to windmill around them. The scent of sweet bark released into the air.

"You know..." Enoch drew out with a taunting smile as they skipped up the back steps of his house, "...exchanging drool with a dog puts good bacteria in your gut, which'll help you fight disease and make you live longer."

"Ew." Her face wrinkled with disgust. "I'll never understand why you want to be a gastroenterologist. It sounds like the worst possible career choice."

He chuckled. "When will you finally accept that dirt is your friend?"

She adjusted her glasses in a snooty I know better than you way. "When dirt makes me chicken and waffles for breakfast, then I'll accept it as my friend." She pointed at her feet. "Until then, dirt belongs on the ground. Not on me. And definitely not in me."

Enoch's house was cold and dark. His mom didn't open the blinds much, something about the furniture getting bleached from the sunlight, which didn't make any sense to Clara. Boy's nails clicked across the hardwood floors as he followed them down the long hallway toward Enoch's room.

"Enoch!" His dad's angry voice boomed from his study at the front of the house.

Chills ran down Clara's spine. "I'm out," she said, taking a step back.

"Chicken." Enoch shot her a sideways glance, then proceeded toward the study. "Coming," he called to his father while his eyes lowered to the ground. Mr. Price was nothing more than a bully, but Clara didn't judge Enoch for cowering.

"If you're still alive later, call me." She'd meant it as a joke, but Enoch didn't smile. His dad wouldn't beat him for having skipped his high school graduation. At least she didn't think he would. His dad was known around town for his impatience and bad temper, something Mrs. Price had shrugged off as a trait associated with every successful businessman.

Shuffling out the back door for a quick escape, Clara tripped the door sensor causing a high-pitch ring to chime throughout the entire house.

"Who's that?" Mr. Price's voice carried down the hall from the study.

"Clara leaving," Enoch said. By how defensively he'd said her name, Clara envisioned Enoch looking at his father with his eyes narrowed and his jaw tightened.

Escape was her only option. She stepped through the back doorway and into the comforting sunlight, but Boy refused to follow her. The stubborn dog turned his back to her, sniffing in the direction of the study.

"Come here," she whispered loudly in a pleading voice, but the dog ignored her. If Mr. Price caught the dog inside right now, at the height of his anger, there was no telling how hard he'd come down on Enoch. But Enoch wouldn't want her to release the dog back into the wild to be at mercy of another train either. She glanced toward Enoch's room. She had escaped more than once out his window, and Boy would be a comfort to Enoch after his "chat" with his dad. She lightly tiptoed down the hallway to Enoch's room.

"And what's that smell?" his father said angrily.

Clara leaned down and pushed Boy into Enoch's room, then paused to eavesdrop a little longer.

"'s me," Enoch said with hesitation. "I rescued an abandoned dog and I guess he left his smell on me."

Silence. Clara strained to hear.

"You and your rescuing," Mr. Price scoffed. "First Clara was thrown away by her father and now you bring home a mutt."

Clara's gut wrenched. No one knew what really happened to her dad, only that he'd left one day ten years ago for a business trip and never came home. At least that's what her mom had told her.

"This has nothing to do with Clara," said Enoch. His words would have sat better with her if his intonation hadn't felt like he was agreeing with his father.

"This has everything to do with that girl," said his dad. "And you know it. She's trailer trash. She'll never amount to anything. You've been trying to seduce that girl for the past year, to no avail. It's a normal, healthy desire to want to be with a pretty girl. It's okay to admit that you're attracted to her. Please tell me I'm right?" There was hopefulness in his father's tone.

"You called it," Enoch said in a husky voice, the same voice the boys used in the locker room.

Clara leaned against the wall, shaken by Mr. Price's demeaning words.

His father laughed crudely. "What were you thinking, Enoch?"

"A fling before I hook up with college girls?" Enoch said as if soliciting his father's approval.

Clara fought back tears. Enoch's love—what she had considered mutual affection—had turned ugly and crude.

Mr. Price clapped his hands. "Wait until you see those Australian girls," he said with enthusiasm. "This is your time to experiment and explore, son. I'll make you a deal. Forget Clara and I'll let you keep the dog. One stray is more than enough."

Enoch laughed out something, but Clara didn't wait to hear the rest of the conversation. Her heart couldn't take another stab. Responding to her body's sudden numbness, her arms fell slack at her sides. She quietly slipped into Enoch's room, climbed out his window, and despondently walked in the direction of home. Enoch's conversation with his dad repeated in her mind. "A fling before I hook up..." Over and over Enoch's words tormented her soul while she wove her way around the maple tree, the rose garden, and a maze of bushes before she emerged out of the Price estate next to the train tracks, more disheartened than when she'd entered.

Aspen's house wasn't far. They'd been friends since before Clara could remember and Aspen always knew how to make Clara feel better. She wouldn't have to disclose Enoch's conversation with his dad, only that she was heartbroken about Enoch leaving. It wasn't a lie. Enoch would be on a plane tomorrow and she didn't plan on ever seeing or speaking with him again.

The picnic blanket she and Enoch had shared came into view, reminding her that she'd skipped her high school graduation, one of life's defining moments, to spend the afternoon with Enoch. What a waste. She promised herself in that moment that she would never allow another guy to fool her ever again and she would prove herself to the Prices, and everyone else in Hidden Falls who thought she was trailer trash. Her future wouldn't be defined by the trailer she grew up in. The next time she stepped foot into Hidden Falls, no one would call her throw-away, trailer trash. No one. Her vision blurred with the onset of hot, heavy tears.

Focusing on the picnic blanket and not her feet, she stumbled on a rail tie. This felt familiar. She flew once again into the air and landed hard on her backside, then slid down the grassy hill. She hadn't hit the ground as hard this time, which didn't explain why her leg hurt so much. Through tears of pain, her eyes followed the discomfort to a shiny piece of metal sticking out of her calf. One of the pennies she had laid out on the railroad tracks had been flattened by the train; its edges had been transformed into razor blades which sliced into her skin when she'd fallen on top of it. With a flash of heat, her breath weakened, and her stomach grew nauseated. Pressing her palms into the slippery grass, she struggled to her feet, praying she wouldn't faint.

A teenage guy on a white horse appeared at her side. She hadn't heard the horse approaching. At first, she wondered if she'd passed out and he was some sort of apparition from a brain injury. That first whiff told her everything she needed to know. Honey oil and sage. This kid screamed recreational cowboy.

The tall, well-built teen jumped off his horse, leaned over, and shot his arm around her back to hold her up. "What happened?" His voice rang foggy in her ears as if they were underwater.

She waited for fear to grip her chest, but the expected feelings of discomfort and dread from a stranger grabbing her waist never came.

"I fell," she said in a breathy voice. "That's my blanket." She pointed to the plaid picnic blanket covered in cracker crumbs.

"You look pretty banged up," he said, helping her down the grassy slope and onto her blanket. "Can I take you to a clinic? Or call someone?" By his babyface, he couldn't be much older than she was, but he was tall. Really tall. And his voice was deep and smooth.

"I just need to catch my breath," she said. With a groan, she sat down and twisted her leg to examine her punctured calf.

The guy whistled, long and low. Not bad for a recreational cowboy. "That's gotta hurt," he said, pulling a little brown bottle out of his jean pocket.

"Do you always carry a bottle of iodine around with you?"

"I'm impressed that you know what this is," he said, eyeing the bottle as he shook it. "I never know when I'll pass a stream and need a long drink of fresh cold water." He scratched his dark eyebrow which framed his light blue eyes in an unusual but attractive way. She'd never seen anyone with eyes so hauntingly clear yet innocent. They were nearly absent of color. Not that she was an expert on blue eyes. She'd been staring into Enoch's dark brown eyes for the past fifteen years, big jerk.

The cowboy scratched his chin. "Is there something wrong with my face? Cause you're looking at me like you want to kill me."

"Pain," she spat out, trying to push Enoch and his father from her mind. "Lots of pain. Do you have a Tylenol, cowboy?"

An expression of interest crossed his face. "For a second there, I thought you were going to call me a boy scout." He tipped his hat and smiled. "But I'll answer to anything you call me." He reached into his other pocket and pulled out a plastic baggie with an assortment of pills. "The red ones are Tylenol." He handed the bag to her. "What should I call you?"

"Clara," she said, popping a pill in her mouth and chasing it down with a gulp of water from her half-drunk plastic water bottle left over from her lunch with Enoch. Not one more thought about Enoch! she shouted at herself. She needed to focus on the cute guy in front of her who was flirting with her. Not to mention, the welcomed distraction lessened her pain. And he wasn't half-bad to look at. Staring into his kind eyes, made the piece of metal jabbed into her flesh almost tolerable.

If she could figure out how to flirt back with this guy, then she might be able to forget today altogether. Not likely. That would take skills she didn't have. She'd never been good at carrying on a conversation with people she didn't know. In the presence of attractive, unfamiliar boys, forget it, she held her tongue so she wouldn't make a complete fool out of herself by babbling incoherent sentences. It was worse than it sounded, and more embarrassing. That's why Enoch's company was so enjoyable. Had been so enjoyable.

"Yeah. There's that look of disgust again," he said, pointing at her face. "Wait." His eyes livened. "We might be able to use that." He tapped his lips with his index finger and stared up at the darkening clouds as if an idea bounced around in his head. With a nod, he seemed to agree with himself, then scooted in close to her, allowing her to drink in his pleasing cedar and honey scent.

"What's that?" he asked, pointing toward the tracks.

"What?" she asked with concern. She elongated her neck and scanned the railroad tracks for Boy. Just as she drew in a breath of relief that Boy hadn't followed her, the stranger's soft lips pressed into hers, causing her mouth to moisten. Sentiment of calm and comfort engulfed her, something she desperately needed now. She closed her eyes, wanting to fully experience every sensation. She'd been cheated the first time and wanted to know what a real kiss felt like.

His lips were firm with determination. Not what she expected. She'd hoped for more connection, not a hurried burst of passion. Accepting the kiss for what it was, accepting him for what he was, allowed her to fully relax into the moment. Her shoulders lowered and her chest relaxed. Disappointment turned to pleasure as she rested in the beautiful stranger's arms, allowing her lips to part and accept his kiss. The kiss deepened, igniting sentiments of honesty and kinship. By the way his lips drew into hers and held them captive, she could feel his desire to connect with her on more than a physical level. Who knew a single kiss could communicate so much?

Burning pain seared through her leg. "Ah!" she screamed out, throwing her head back.

Her eyes flashed to her leg. Her jaw dropped and she stared with her mouth agape at the cowboy as he poured the iodine into her open flesh. When she regained her senses, she cocked her arm back and allowed her hand to fly wildly until it connected with his jawbone.

Pressing his palm to his reddening cheek, he said, "I guess I deserved that. But I have to admit that I thought that slap would come sooner." His brow furrowed while he tilted his head to the side and stared at her. "And you kissed me back. I wasn't expecting that."

He'd kissed her to distract her. She wasn't sure if she should be grateful or livid. He did save her from a trip to the local doc. She covered her mouth with her hands and said in a muffled voice, "I'm so sorry."

"Wish I could say that was the first time a beautiful girl slapped me silly, but that's a story for another day," he said, carefully sticking a butterfly bandage to her leg to hold the cut closed.

"Another day?" she asked wondering if he planned to stay in town.

"Can I give you a ride home?" he asked, motioning to his horse.

His eyes held a gentle kindness, but she'd been fooled before. She didn't want to give one more person permission to call her trailer trash, although he didn't look like someone who would belittle others for sport. "What's your story?"

"Guess," he said, taking her leg in his hands and examining the scrapes on her knees. His fingertips were soft and smooth on her skin, no tough callouses.

"You're from a big city," she surmised.

He chuckled. "Not even close."

She twisted her lips in thought. "Is that your horse?"

"Yeah," he said with quiet confidence.

Perhaps he wasn't a completely fake cowboy. Her estimation of him rose a few clicks.

The next question would tell her all she needed to know. "Have you ever sheared a sheep?"

His sky-blue eyes sparkled with playfulness. "You betcha. Lots of times."

She allowed herself to smile brightly at him, letting him know she liked what he was saying so far. Down-to-earth farm boy? She could go for that. "Rancher from Wyoming?"

"Idaho," he said, glancing in the direction of West Yellowstone.

An Idaho farmer/rancher is exactly who she could see herself settling down with someday, after she'd made her own mark on the world. His eyes held a confidence only acquired through hard work. She hated dirt, but this guy didn't give her the impression of someone who was afraid to get dirty if it meant getting the job done. By his humble attitude, he hadn't been raised with money and privilege. She saw it in his eyes; he considered her his equal. And why shouldn't he see her as his equal? They came from the same class of people. Finally, she could let her guard down with someone. Too bad he wasn't a local. "Idaho's a big place. Where exactly are you from?"

"Sun Valley. It's—" His phone's ringtone cut him off. "Dang!" he said, jumping to his feet. "I'm late. Really late. They've gotten the other horses onto the trailer already. I'm sorry," he said with a pained expression. "I wanted to help you get home."

She held her palms up. "Believe me, you've done enough," she said with a relaxed laugh, glancing down at her cut that still stung like the dickens.

"Here," he said, handing her a tattered business card. "That's where I am most nights." He mounted his horse and turned in a circle. "It's a restaurant."

"Oh," she said, wondering if he was asking her to call him at work. She didn't understand why he hadn't asked her for her phone number, unless he wasn't planning on calling her, which seemed like the most likely scenario based on her day.

"Watch out for those railroad pennies," he said before galloping away.

Didn't the prince who rode the white horse in all the fairy tales take the injured damsel with him? She held the card up in front of her face to read it. Wind gusted, ripping the card out from her hand. She jumped up to snatch the card out of the air, but the only thing she'd accomplished was placing herself in the path of the wind, which billowed around her, whipping her hair in her eyes and rendering her blind. By the time she regained control of her hair, the card was nowhere to be seen, having been carried off by the stealing breeze.

"Typical," she said with an exasperated sigh.

She gathered up her blanket and shook off the crumbs. As the cracker pieces fell off the blanket, she imagined herself shaking off the sadness of having lost her best friend today. She pleaded with her mind to forget what had happened at Enoch's house. If she allowed that conversation to ever repeat through her mind again, it would throw her into depression and damage her soul.

"I control my destiny!" she yelled to the thieving wind. "And I choose happiness and success!"

Tomorrow will be a better day. She'd make sure of it.