On Tuesday morning a week later Aoife rose in advance of the sun and took her canvas and paints down to Buchau where she planned to do a quick watercolour of Pertisau and the mountains beyond. She reached Buchau with the rising sun, found a sheltered patch invisible from the path behind some thick bushes, and painted away happily for half an hour or so, uninterrupted and implicitly absorbed.
Suddenly strong arms encircled her and she stiffened, dropping her paintbrush abruptly. Then she relaxed, feeling the secure warmth radiating off the body behind her.
Twisting her neck, Aoife saw Vinzent, grinning, looking down at her. She smiled.
“Vinzent,” she sighed in perfect pleasure.
“Aoife,” he said in a low gentle voice. He twisted so they were facing one another, and at the look of deep tenderness in his well-like eyes, Aoife abandoned any doubts and threw her arms around him, resting her head on his warm safe shoulder.
And then her lips had found his, and they were soft and moist and warm, and he was kissing her back, and it felt so sweet and thrilling to be holding his hand, and so entirely natural to be wearing a gold ring displaying a heart of a dark greenish citrine gem, her birthstone and the colour of her eyes.