This is more half a chapter than a full chapter, but I thought it stood well by itself so decided to upload now, instead of making you wait for the next one. :)

I hope you enjoy...

Have a great Saturday night...


Chapter Thirty

Adrienne walked straight into the small cottage without once looking back at her daughter. She felt numb.

How could she have just said nothing...? But what was there to say?

Seeing her daughter so happy had been such a relief as Adrienne had being having a bad sense of foreboding for days now. Then why didn't you speak to her! Adrienne groaned at her own behaviour as she grasped her head in her hands. Foolish, foolish woman!

Collapsing onto her bed, she breathed in deeply. It wasn't going to be easy to rebuild a relationship with Nya, but it was definitely something worth fighting for... and trying for.

She took a deep breath and opened her mouth, she spoke into the silence of the room. Talking and talking to nothing but antique furniture and a small mirror positioned on the wall before her.

She couldn't seem to stop talking once she had started. She spoke of her despair, her need to make things right.

A single tear fell down her cheek. She just needed to get the courage to say this to Nya's face, and not her unrecognisable reflection.

But how could she speak to Nya so openly when that "man" was there all the time?

She sensed something in Nicholas than had been present in Nya's father. A lurking evil, a beast ready to pounce if provoked.

No, she needed to speak to her alone.

Somewhere private where she could be herself. Her new self.

She wanted to prove to Nya she had changed.

Walking over to the mirror, she pushed her hair back from her face and took a good look at her self.

God, who am I? She wondered with a sigh as she took in the strain lines and winkles that hadn't been there previously. She sighed, and rubbed a finger over her dry lips.

When was the last time she had had a drink...? A proper drink. Her stomach tightened at the thought of alcohol and she felt slightly nausea's.

She would make sure she looked respectable when she saw Nya next. And she wouldn't disappear, she would stay and talk.

And she wouldn't stop until Nya saw she had changed, and would do anything she could to change more. To be a mother, Nya could be proud of.

Adrienne smiled at herself in the mirror... yes, she could do this.

She had to. Her and her baby had been separated too long. It was time for them to be back in each other's arms and hearts.

"Perhaps... I can help you there..." came a seductive feminine voice.

Adrienne twirled around and peered around the cottage. "Who's there?" She enquired her voice shaking as she began to walk towards the sound.

No one answered. Adrienne placed her hand over her frantically beating heart in an attempt to calm it.

Surely it's just someone from the ranch, or a family member... she was sure it couldn't be an intruder, there was no way they could have gotten in without permission.

"Is someone there?"

"Apparently yes" Adrienne spun on her heel and came face to face with... Nya?!

Nicholas followed Nya into the ranch and didn't mention the interaction, or lack of with her mother. She seemed to want to forget it even happened. And since that seemed to make her feel better, he was willing to let the subject lie, at least for the moment.

"So... what did you think of my little tour?" She asked with a grin over her shoulder as she made her way to the living room.

"Tour giving is a secret talent of yours, my love." He teased, as he opened the door for her, and winked at her, as she walked through.

She only laughed at him and slumped onto the couch with a sigh of relief.

He knelt by her feet, and took off her shoes, each boot fell to the floor with a decisive thud. He watched as Nya wiggled her toes with relief. Taking each foot in turn, he massaged them gently, his thumb circling and applying pressure until he heard her sigh.

"Better?" He enquired as he went to sit beside her, before dragging her onto his lap. "Much" She whispered as she nuzzled his neck.

Nicholas clutched Nya closer. His head buried in her hair as he smelt the sweet fragrance of the golden strains.

He smoothed some stray strains away from her face, and smiled as she closed her eyes and snuggled closer to him.

He never knew he could get so much pleasure from simply holding someone. It was so peaceful just lying here like this. His hand rubbed up and down her arm, as he began making mental plans for her birthday in two months.

What gift could he give her to ever compensate for the joy she had brought to his life?

Nothing on earth could match the love she had given him, or the light she had brought to his previously dark life.

"What are you thinking about? You blocked me from your mind" She whispered, her light breath feathering over his shirt, and yet he could have sworn he felt it graze over his skin.

"Nothing my love. Just plans" He kissed her hair and snuggled deeper into the couch. It was only half an hour until sunrise, he could indulge himself in her arms for a few more minutes before they retreated to their chamber.

"Nya?" Adrienne whispered as she stood toe to toe with the mysterious woman. At first Adrienne was positive the woman before her was her daughter, but after a closer look it most definitely wasn't. There was a harshness to her features and eyes than Nya had never possessed.

"Not exactly, Adrienne. My name is Crina" Her voice was like silk, and every word was carefully pronounced. It was truly a beautiful voice, and Adrienne wished the mysterious woman would speak once more.

"I have come to help you get your Nya back"

Adrienne's eyes widened. "Why?"

"I hate to see a mother and daughter so separated"

Adrienne knew it was a lie. This woman was bad. She could feel it in her weary bones. Something was wrong with this woman's motives.

"What do you truly want?"

The woman before her laughed, before shaking her head and responding. "You're smarter than you look, old woman. I want to kill the brothers"

She said the sentence so matter-of-factly she could have been reading out a recipe.

"And how will helping me and Nya talk help you kill them?"

"Taking Nya away from the ranch so you two can spend some quality mother and daughter time together, will draw the brothers out in search for her. Then I can strike"

"By yourself? They are strong. And they have families, what about them?" Adrienne had a sickening feeling in her stomach. She remembered the young girl she had baked with, and the look of fear on Violets face. Violet wouldn't survive losing her husband.

"If they stay out of my way they will be spared." Adrienne didn't like the sound of that. She knew what a woman in love was capable of. They wouldn't just stand back.

"What has this to do with me?" She enquired, watching as the woman made her way over to the small couch in the corner, before reclining on it, relaxed, as if she was discussing the weather and not the deaths of innocent woman and children.

"You will arrange to take Nya away from the ranch for a secret meeting to talk. She must not tell her man. Then I will do the rest."

"What makes you think I will help you do this?"

"Because if you don't, Nya will die with the others..."

Thank you for reading. Please review... :)