Jenna looked at herself in the mirror and thought over all that had
happened that had led her to this point in her life. Never in her
wildest dreams had she thought she would be in this situation now. But
for the first time in her life, she was truly happy and felt like she
belonged. She could see the calmness in her face compared to the flock
of butterflies that were doing an acrobatic display in her stomach.
She stepped back from the mirror and looked down at herself. She was
wearing a blue-coloured strapless, figure-hugging dress; the blue was so
dark it looked like black. All over the dress were thousands of little
crystals that shone when the light hit them, making them sparkle, and
she felt like she was looking at the night sky.
Around her throat was a single teardrop sapphire on a chain so fine that
it looked like it had been stuck onto her. The earrings to match looked
like they were floating under her lobes rather than being attached.
She lifted her hand to her neck as she was still getting used to not
having long hair. All her life she had had long hair but had decided
that with all the changes going on in her life, getting her hair cut was
a small one. She smiled to herself wondering how he was going to react
to it. There was a knock at the door, and she turned towards it.
The door opened and in came a female dressed in a gown similar to hers
but in an ice blue colour.
‘My lady,’ the woman did a slow curtsy keeping her head bowed.
‘I’ve told you before, stop doing that.’ As she slowly came to her
full height, there was a grin across her face. When Jenna saw this, she
started to laugh.
‘Sorry, I can’t help myself. And I know how much it annoys you.’
The two women embraced and stood holding each other for a few seconds.
Jenna felt the tears pooling in her eyes and told herself to stop being
an idiot and that she wasn’t going to cry, she just wasn’t. As they
stepped back from one another, they both noticed that they were thinking
the same thing.
Jenna was first to turn away going back towards the mirror, smoothing
her hands down her dress as she went.
‘He’s not going to know what hit him when he gets a look at you,’
the female said. She caught Jenna’s eyes in the mirror.
‘Do you think so, Sarah?’
‘I know so.’ Sarah walked towards where she was standing. As they
looked at each other through the mirror, Sarah could see the nervousness
that was starting to show in her friend. Who would have thought they
would have both ended up in the same place? A twist of fate or simply
destiny? She didn’t know and didn’t care. She couldn’t quite
believe it herself, but seeing her friend dressed the way she was made
it all too real for her, and she couldn’t be happier.
‘I take it it’s time,’ Jenna said.
‘It’s time. Let’s get this show on the road.’
‘Give me a minute. Then I’ll be down.’ Sarah left her friend to
her thoughts as she left the room. Closing the door, she took a few deep
breaths herself before she made herself start the walk to the rest of
As the door closed, Jenna took a few deep breaths as well and spoke to
herself, ‘You can do this. It’s no different to what you have been
doing up until now. Yeah, okay, with the exception of this making it all
She turned away from the mirror and looked about the room she had been
given. The bed was huge and the most comfortable that she had slept in
forever. The heavy oak furniture, along with the built-in fireplace,
gave the room a warm appearance, and she didn’t want to leave.
The drapery was in deep burgundy velvet. The carpeting was a deep green
colour that always made her feel as if she was walking on grass. She
knew how soft it was from experience and knew that if she took her feet
out of the shoes she was wearing, her feet would sink into the deep
The bathroom was a huge white marble affair with a massive sunken
Jacuzzi whirlpool bath where she had spent a lot of time in. The
memories came back to her now, and she smiled a secret smile that only
she and one another knew what was behind it. The shower, well, that was
something she had never seen before. There were sprays of water coming
from all different directions, and the pressure from them was fantastic.
She smiled briefly as she remembered the first time she tried the shower
out and what happened afterwards. The towels were the softest you could
imagine, and you never seemed to run out of them.
She turned and walked towards the bedroom door. As she pulled the heavy
door open, she knew that her life had changed, but now, it was going to
be permanent and she wouldn’t change it for all the money in the
As she walked down the corridor, she took in the pictures on the walls
by artists that she had never heard of. Sculptures stood in small inlets
in the walls again by people whose names she still did not know. Her
feet made no sound on the carpet runner that ran the length of the
hallway and was a deep regal blue colour that felt a little out of place
with the wooden panelled walls, but she knew this had recently been
decorated just for this occasion. She knew that there wouldn’t be
anyone upstairs that shouldn’t be, although she didn’t know the
reason for it.
As she came to the end of the corridor, she stopped and looked around
the corner of the wall and down into the lobby of the place she now
There were people everywhere, dressed in their finest, waiting for her.
As she swept her eyes over the crowd, she saw familiar faces that made
the butterflies calm slightly – Josh and Sarah, looking radiant
together. Sarah had picked the perfect colour of dress that matched
Josh’s eyes. There were also Callan, Cassie, Dom, Freya, Gage, Robert,
and the doc whose real name she still didn’t know but had an idea of
what it was. She caught sight of someone at the back near the shadows,
but it had been so fleeting that she thought she had imagined it.
She scanned the crowd again but couldn’t see the one person she wanted
to see. She knew he was there somewhere, as she could sense him. She
took a breath, then stepped out from behind the corner, and walked
gracefully towards the stairs with her hand holding on to the handrail
in case her legs gave out.
At the top of the stairs, she stopped briefly and looked down to the
people below. She knew when they had noticed her as there was silence
from below. The butterflies started up again as she felt everyone’s
eyes on her. She hated being the centre of attention, but she was
getting used to it. She had to as this was her life going forward. She
took the first step down and then the next. Before she knew it, she was
a step away from the bottom. He came out from the shadows to the left of
the stairs and stopped just to the side of her.
The suit he wore was tailored to fit him perfectly, and she looked at
him for a moment as she had only seen him in this outfit only a few
times. She knew he favoured casuals rather than formal clothes and
sensed that he wanted out of it already, but type of male he was, he
would remain by her side until she was ready to go. Wherever she went,
he followed, protecting her although she didn’t want his protection.
It was down to him that she was here tonight, and she owed him after all
that had gone on. The memories of the road they had taken to get here
were bittersweet. Lives had been lost, new alliances had been formed,
and the enemy was on the run again.
She brought her mind back to the here and now and looked down at the
male waiting for her at the bottom of the stairs. His hair shone when
the light hit it, and all she wanted to do was run her hands through it.
She knew how soft it would feel against her.
His name was all she could manage to say as she stepped down from the
last step, still looking at him.
‘Alex.’ She knew she was still smiling as she could feel it in her
face, and as she turned away from him, she looked at all those who had
been waiting for her.
She looked at him as he put his hand out to her. She took hers and
reached out to him. As his cool hand caught hers, the butterflies in her
stomach vanished and left her with a sense of calm, warmth, and
satisfaction. She smiled at him as he brought her hand to his mouth and
kissed the back of it.
‘You look beautiful.’ Jenna blushed as she heard this, and although
the butterflies in her stomach had vanished, her heart decided to
replace them and was beating a mile a minute. She was surprised that no
one else could hear it.
‘My heart is racing as well,’ he said, and Jenna smiled even wider.
She couldn’t find the words to speak as she was taking in how he
looked. It still freaked her a little that he could tell what she was
thinking without asking. He still held her hand as he moved his arm
forward to ensure that she was standing in front of him, proving that he
would always put her first. He would always have her back.
As Jenna looked over the numerous faces staring at her, she felt peace
finally come over her. She felt as if she had come home. She moved her
hand forward to bring Alex so that he stood beside her and not behind. A
questioning look came over his face, but he wasn’t about to question
her motives. This was where he wanted to be, at her side, not behind.
She glanced at him beside her and saw his proud expression as he stood
at her shoulder, proving that if anyone wanted to get to her, they had
to go through him.
As she was about to speak to the people in the room, she heard a faint
beeping sound. She looked around trying to work out where it was coming
from. She dropped Alex’s hand and moved forward turning her head
trying to work out where the sound was coming from.
She heard Alex calling her name, but she was so focused on the sound
that she ignored him. How could he not hear it? His hearing was like
that of a bat, but he was giving no impression of hearing the sound she
was trying to find.
Alex stood watching Jenna move about the lobby looking for something. He
tried to get her attention, but she wasn’t listening. He took a step
forward to meet her on her way back across the lobby when she spoke,
‘Don’t you hear it? That beeping. Something’s not right.’
She moved past him still looking for the source of the sound.
‘Jenna, stop. There is no noise.’
‘Yes, there is. Why can’t you hear it?’ She felt his hands on her
arms, and she pulled away from him. A worrying looking came over his
‘It’s getting louder.’ Jenna put her hands over her ears trying to
drown out the sound. Nothing was getting past that sound. She could see
Alex talking to her, but she could not hear anything. She could see
everyone else looking at her. She could also see some people looking
worried, and it seemed to her as if they expected this to happen.
She started shaking her head and moving back away from them. She felt
her foot hit the last stair, and she felt her body falling backwards.
Excerpted from "Hope Found" by Jackie McMillan. Copyright © 2016 by Jackie McMillan. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.