Stand-In Bride's Seduction(5)

By: Yvonne Lindsay


The corridor that faced her as she stepped out was vast and empty. The muted tones of elegant piped music filtered through discreetly placed ceiling speakers. Directly ahead of her was a matched pair of large wooden doors, each one displaying an ornate carving that was, no doubt, the del Castillo family crest. Rina stepped forward and ran her fingertips over the raised edges of the stylized shield divided into three sections. In one was an intricately carved sword, in another a scroll or parchment of some description and the bottom section held an ornate heart. Her patchy Spanish translated the words.

Honor. Truth. Love.

She swallowed. If the man she was coming to see lived by the ancient code of his family, then she was definitely doing the right thing by coming here and telling him the truth. It was the only thing she could do.

Rina pushed against the brass doorplate at the very same moment the door in question swung abruptly away from her. With all her energy moving forward, she stumbled and suddenly fell against an immovable rock of a hard male body clad in a perfectly tailored charcoal gray suit.

Large, warm hands swiftly cupped her elbows and steadied her. Balanced on her feet now, Rina summoned a smile and looked up. Instantly, her heart skittered in her chest as she took in the perfection of male beauty in the face above hers.

A broad, tanned forehead, strong dark brows over clear hazel eyes edged with short, dark lashes. A perfectly balanced face bisected by a straight nose that had obviously never been on the wrong end of a tackle in a rugby game, and finely chiseled lips that were even now curving in a smile that held a strange combination of recognition and relief.

“Thank God you’re here,” he murmured, his voice a deep caress that she felt as though it was a stroke of velvet across her skin.

“Mr. del Castillo. Your brother says he’ll meet you at the hospital,” the receptionist at the vast modern desk behind him said.

The young woman’s words sank slowly into Rina’s mind. Mr. del Castillo? This man, who looked like he’d be better suited to the cover of GQ magazine than a conference room, was her sister’s fiancé, Reynard del Castillo?





Two




Before she realized what was happening, Rina found herself spun around and, her hand firmly locked in his, was marched swiftly toward the elevators.

“Sara! I’ve been trying to reach you for the past hour! I tried both your cell and your home phone because I wasn’t sure you were back on the island. I don’t know why you refused to tell me the details on your flight information. I could have picked you up from the airport. Why didn’t you call me?”

“I—” she began. Her mind raced to catch up with him. Cell phone. Of course, Sara must be ignoring his calls. With her own number being New Zealand based, on global roaming, she knew she couldn’t just say she’d changed numbers. Think, she told herself, what would Sara do or say? Rina latched onto the easiest response. “I’m sorry—I lost my phone while I was away. You know what I’m like.”

“It doesn’t matter now. I’m just glad you’re here.”

“But I—”

The look on his face sent a chill down through her. His eyes, which only a moment ago had been warm and welcoming, were suddenly bleak—a small frown creasing the smooth skin between his brows.

“I’ve got bad news. Benedict’s been involved in an accident. Alex just called me. We’re meeting him and Abuelo at the hospital. Thank goodness you came here, saves time for us both.”

“Benedict?”

“The idiot.” Reynard shook his head slowly. “You know how he drives. Seems the coast road out to the vineyard got the better of him, and that high performance pile of metal he calls a car.”

“Is he okay?”

“No, he’s not. We’re not sure how long he was trapped in the car but it took emergency services nearly an hour to free him from the wreck. He’s in surgery now.”

Reynard’s voice broke on the words and Rina instinctively curled her fingers tighter around his.

“I’m sure he’ll be okay,” she said with as much calm encouragement as she could muster.

Inside, though, her stomach knotted on the news. How on earth could she tell Reynard that she wasn’t who he thought she was now? Benedict was the younger of the del Castillo brothers; she remembered that much from one of Sara’s e-mails. She also remembered Sara mentioning that Benedict ran the winery division of the family business.

“I’m glad you’re here,” Reynard said, his hand all but squeezing hers now.

“I’m glad I’m here, too,” she whispered in response, and in a strange way she really was.

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