Sweet as Honey (The Seven Sisters) - By Caitlyn Robertson
The bright March sun slanted through the café windows and spilled across the tiled floor in a pool of yellow.
For a brief moment, Honeysuckle Summers thought she’d knocked the pot of melted butter she was brushing onto the filo pastry off the counter. Then the metal sign hanging outside the café caught her eye, the sun’s bright rays highlighting each letter of the word Matariki in white gold. She caught her breath, her heart thumping in response. It was just a reflection, she scolded herself as tears pricked her eyes. But surely, if her mother had found a way to send her a sign, today would be the day?
“Honey?” The male voice called from the table to one side of the café. “You okay?”
She glanced across. Dex’s head was tilted to one side, his brow furrowed with concern. He’d obviously been watching her—as usual—and he’d caught the emotion as it washed over her like a warm breeze. He smiled, but it didn’t quite reach his eyes.
She smiled back, blinking the tears away. “I’m fine.”
He held her gaze and raised an eyebrow, but didn’t say anything else. He hadn’t wanted her to work today, had thought it might be too difficult, but Cam Summers had insisted on keeping the café open, and she hadn’t wanted to let her father down.
She gave a little shake of her head, trying to allay Dex’s fears. He worried about her too much. It was nice though, being worried about. So much nicer than her ex’s indifference, his cold, almost cruel disdain. How had she ever thought what they had was love?
Her gaze lingered on Dex for a moment longer, her attention caught as usual by his handsome, strong features and his baby blue eyes accentuated by the cornflower blue shirt he wore beneath his navy police officer’s jacket. The afternoon sun had painted his light brown hair, too, bringing out the natural blond highlights, giving him the effect of a halo.
Now she was being fanciful. Anyone less like an angel than Dex, she couldn’t imagine. There was something…naughty about him that gave her the shivers.
His lips curved and he opened his mouth to say something no doubt teasing or suggestive, but she was never to find out. The man sitting across the table from him had also been looking outside at the sign, and he turned back to Dex, frowning as he asked, “What does Matariki mean again?”
Dex picked up his newspaper, probably to try and discourage Reuben from talking to him until Daisy had finished her work. He disliked her sister’s boyfriend intensely. “It’s the proper name for the Seven Sisters star cluster.”
“I thought that was Pleiades,” Reuben said. Already, he’d lost interest in the conversation, his eyes following the butt of a slim pretty girl as she left the café. Honey gritted her teeth. Reuben may be richer than Croesus and look like he’d walked straight off a Milan catwalk, and his watch may have cost more than the jewellery collection of her and all her sisters combined, but he was an arrogant ass, and she had no idea what Daisy saw in him. Well, apart from the money.
“Matariki is the Maori name for Pleiades.” Dex found the crossword, folded the paper around it and took a pen out of his pocket. Honey went back to buttering the filo pastry, trying not to laugh. He was so useless at hiding his feelings. She could always read him like a well-thumbed book.
“I still don’t get it.” Reuben stirred his latte, destroying the silver fern Daisy had drawn in the foam on the top. “There are only six sisters, aren’t there? Where’s the seventh? Did one die or something?”
Honey bit her lip, more because she knew what Dex’s reaction would be than because she was offended. Sure enough, he put down his paper with a grunt and glared at Reuben. “Jeez, could you be any more insensitive? You know their mother died a year ago today, right?”
“Yes. I was talking about the sisters, not their mother.” Reuben looked at him as if he was stupid.
Dex tightened his grip on the pen, but luckily at that moment Honey’s brother came through the kitchen door, distracting him. The smell of warm pastry wafted out with him, making her stomach rumble. They baked most of their food out the back but prepared it on the benches behind the front counter, as customers seemed to like watching the dishes being made.
Koru deposited the last of the cakes on the