Stand-In Bride's Seduction(10)

By: Yvonne Lindsay


He looked at Sara, his eyes locking with hers and willing her to agree, as he waited for his grandfather’s blustering refusal. He saw the instant she understood his intention and watched as she turned to the old man.

“Would you? I always feel better if someone sees me to the door, and I’m really drooping here,” she said, clasping his grandfather’s hand between both of hers.

“I see what you are doing,” the old man grumbled at Rey, “but for this young woman, I will do the gentlemanly thing and escort her home.”

He slowly rose to his feet, slapping away at Rey’s hand as he reached to support him.

“I’m not completely incapable yet.”

He straightened to his full height and stared Rey straight in the eye. “You will tell me. The minute you hear anything.”

“Sí, Abuelo. I promise.”

Rey turned to Sara and took both her hands in his. “Go home, rest, I will call you when I hear anything.”

“I’ll be back in the morning,” she promised, reaching up to kiss him lightly on the cheek.

It was a butterfly-light touch but every nerve in his body centered on that one spot. As she left the room with his grandfather and Javier, he pressed his fingers to the exact place her lips had touched.

“You’ve got it bad, mi hermano. If I hadn’t seen it myself, I wouldn’t have believed it. I was worried when you announced your engagement to us and implied you weren’t serious about it. I’m pleased to see you were only joking.” Alex’s voice broke the brief spell that had captured him in its net.

Rey was momentarily lost for words. Of course he and Sara had kissed before, kissed but nothing more. The engagement was a smoke screen only. A ruse to keep Abuelo from getting even more upset about the three-hundred-year-old legend that had become his obsession. At least that’s all it was supposed to be. Maybe it was just the extreme situation they found themselves in with Benedict’s accident, some age-old instinct to survive at all costs, but right now he wanted a whole lot more than kisses from Sara.

He pushed aside his reaction with a laugh. It was merely the tension of the situation—the worry over Benedict—and very probably, the length of time since he’d last taken a woman to his bed. It couldn’t be anything more than that. Could it?





Three




Rina sat in the backseat of the sleek dark limousine next to the eldest del Castillo, yet her mind was filled with the image of her sister’s fiancé. She fully understood the attraction. In fact, she was left fighting it herself.

It was all wrong. She and Sara had never been attracted to the same kind of guy before. Ever. While physically, both Rina and Sara’s tastes had run to the tall, dark and handsome guys, Sara was all about presence. She fell for men with as much charisma as swagger. Rina’s men had always been quiet achievers. The kind of guys who were strong and successful but not necessarily right up there on the podium announcing their achievements—the sort you might not look at twice, but if you did, you didn’t regret it. Men like Jacob, although his quiet achievements hadn’t exactly led them along the path she’d expected. Especially not when he’d told her the woman he now loved was his boss.

“It’s the curse, you know,” Aston del Castillo’s voice interrupted her reverie.

“The curse?”

“I see he hasn’t told you about it yet. Of course, he doesn’t believe in it, but it’s real.”

Her curiosity piqued, Rina started to ask what the curse was, exactly, but instead the old man muttered something in Spanish and seemed to doze off.

Rina leaned forward and tapped Javier on the shoulder. “Is he okay? He just fell asleep.”

She saw Javier’s eyes in the rearview mirror and then a smile split his face. “Sí, the señor is fine. He is tired and refuses to admit he is not as strong as he used to be.”

At the cottage, Javier saw her to the front door and waited until she was inside and had turned the iron key in the large black lock before returning to the car. Rina turned around and faced the main room, this time really seeing it properly.

Uneven beams ran the length of the cottage ceiling. Rather than being dark or daunting, the warmth of the wooden spines that gave the structure its strength was friendly and welcoming combined with the pale creamy apricot-tinted plaster between each. The low rays of the last of the evening sun speared in through the multipaned, deep-set windows. The simple wooden dining suite, and the chintz-covered sofas in the sitting room area, were clearly not new, but retained the patina of time and wear like badges of honor.

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