Chapter 1


THE CAMERAMAN HELD up his hand. “We’ll count it down. In three, two,” his arm lowered, “one.”

Sean squeezed Sara’s hand a little tighter and both of them smiled pleasantly at the host. Her name was Reanne Mable. Although she was famous in the local area, the show didn’t pick up the vast audience their appearance on USA Today and Newsweek had garnered.

While this would be their third on-camera interview, Sean’s nerves didn’t lessen with experience. Sara seemed to have it all under control, though, from her manicured nails to her designer dress. Even her nose didn’t shine under the bright lights casting down on her.

Reanne, a forty-five-year-old woman who hailed from Texas, carried her twang just as vibrantly today as she would have leaving the state. She smiled at the camera—a smile that was both sincere and enormous. Her skill was apparent, as it should be for a television veteran.

“Today we have a couple with us who are living proof that kind acts are rewarded, and graciously. Papers have said, ‘Watch out, Donald Trump.’ But before I go on any further, please welcome Sean and Sara McKinley to the show.”

“Thank you for having us.” Sean managed to blurt out the words, but his stomach swirled as if he had over-indulged in rich food. At least with a small station he didn’t have to worry about a live audience.

“Don’t mention it. It is our pleasure. On a personal note, it’s so nice to meet both of you. To hear the story about how you went from being one of Albany’s own, to overnight billionaires, it sounds like a fantasy movie.”

Reanne leaned forward in her chair, one hand resting on her thigh, the other gesturing to Sara. “And I understand there’s more to it than just the money.” She winked at Sean and looked back at Sara. “The whole world wants to know about two things. Your fortune, of course, but also your romance. Why don’t you tell us about that, Sara?”

Sara smiled, her brown eyes bright, the flecks of green and gold sparkling. She squeezed Sean’s hand and he picked up on her underlying nervousness. She was definitely much better at hiding it than he was. He mentally coached her that the world would love her.

Sara ran her one hand along her crossed leg, lengthening the fabric while straightening her back. “Well, it wasn’t always what you see here. We used to just be friends.”

Reanne laughed. “So, you’re saying there’s still hope for the rest of us.”

“Absolutely. If you’re meant to be with someone, it will happen. The world, the universe, however, you like to term it, will come together and maneuver things into alignment.”

“I see you’re a big believer in destiny.”

“Destiny, the law of attraction, both. I believe we all have a role on this earth. We are born for a purpose, and we will fulfill it whether we’re aware of it or not. The thing is, though, for those who don’t recognize their true calling, they might not be as happy as they could have been.”

“Oh, isn’t that the truth.” Another polite smile threw in. “Tell us how Sean proposed.”

He watched as Sara told their story, not leaving out any details, all his romantic gestures resulting in oohs and aahs from Reanne.

“That would make it impossible for a girl to say no,” Reanne said.

Sara glanced at him and smiled. “It also helped that I knew he was my soul mate.”

“How adorable. Please, let us see the ring.” Reanne reached for Sara’s hand while she directed the cameraman to close in for the shot. “He’s romantic and he has impeccable taste in jewelry. The cut is divine.” Reanne angled her head and her lips formed a pout.

Sean watched that expression transpose quickly to one gearing back to business. She gestured her hand toward him.

“Tell us where everything started for you, Sean. How did you know Mr. Quinn? I understand you were surprised that he had you in his Will, let alone left you everything. It’s also true you are the new owner of several companies, including Universal Acquisitions Corporation in New York City.”

“That is correct.” His nerves had the first three words cut from his throat as if removing stitches that had bonded it shut.

Reanne handed Sean a bottle of water and then settled back into her chair. “Why don’t you tell us about Douglas Quinn? What kind of a man was he?”

Sara glanced at Sean, the truth reflecting in her eyes. He had a limited number of memories to draw on and it pained him. His heart palpitated as he struggled to find words that would do Quinn justice.

He unscrewed the cap and took a sip of water. “In respect for his privacy, I wouldn’t want to disclose all that I know about him.” He hated that he had to disguise his lack of knowledge by such a blasé statement. “I will tell you that he was a caring and selfless man. He devoted his life to his companies, but not at the sacrifice of heart.”

Reanne shifted, crossing her leg toward them. She rested her elbow on the arm of the chair and hitched her hand under her chin. Her eyes settled on him as if waiting anxiously for the next word to come out of his mouth.

His stomach performed another flip-flop. “Mr. Quinn was a believer in small acts of kindness. That is how we came to be friends.”

“Please tell us about the day you met,” Reanne said.

He endured her questions for the next twenty minutes, the odd one being deferred to Sara. No preparation could have been made. Reanne insisted that her interviews be unrehearsed and conducted with a relaxed, conversational quality.

With the parting words spoken to her audience and the confirmation from the production crew, Reanne stood, beaming. She held her hand out to each of them.

“Well, that’s that. You both did excellent by the way.”

Sara smiled at Reanne. “Thank you for having us on your show.”

“Like I said, don’t mention it. This story really touched me, well, I know it touched a lot of people. It goes to prove our actions have consequences.” Reanne’s eyes diverted to Sean.

His skipped to the floor, briefly, before rising up to meet her gaze.

She offered a parting smile. “Have a wonderful rest of the day. The show will air this evening at nine.”

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