Stand-In Bride's Seduction(54)

By: Yvonne Lindsay

He snorted. “Upset me? You two have far from upset me. You disgust me with your avaricious lies. I know she needs sponsorship to continue with her horses, she was at least honest about that while she was here. But clearly that wasn’t all she wanted, nor you. Tell me, when your fiancé broke off your engagement, was it because he’d discovered just how duplicitous you are? Or did you discover that he wasn’t worth the bother and decided to come here for bigger fish to fry?”

“It wasn’t like that,” she cried, her slender shoulders slumped forward and what appeared to be grief slanted raw and stark across her face.

Oh, she was a good actress. He’d give her that. Even now, some traitorous instinct wanted to reach out to her, comfort her, pull her into his arms and take away all of her pain. He ruthlessly pushed the urge away. She was manipulating him again. He would not allow himself to fall for it.

“Rey, you have to believe me. I could never do what you’re suggesting. I love you!”

The anger that had been simmering low in his gut exploded into a red haze of fury. It wasn’t enough for her that she’d seduced his body and his mind—now she thought she could play with his heart, as well? He pushed himself up, dragging the top sheet off the bed and wrapping it around his hips. His forgotten coffee mug crashed to the floor and splintered into a dozen pieces, dark liquid spilling across the tiles.

“Love? You dare to tell me you love me?”

“It’s true, I do love you. I didn’t expect to—I certainly didn’t want to. You’re engaged to my sister.”

“Was engaged to your sister.”

“But we weren’t…we didn’t… Please at least hear her out.”

“I’ll hear her out, all right, before I send you both packing off the island. You are no longer welcome here. I think you’ll find your visa rescinded by this afternoon.”

Rey dropped the sheet and stepped into his trousers, eschewing the rest of his clothing which he bunched into a bundle and tucked under his arm.

“Rey, please don’t go. Please don’t leave like this. I know I should have told you everything from the beginning but there was no right time.”

She thrust out her left hand in an attempt to stop him as he stalked past. The diamond ring he’d given Sara still glinted on her finger, caught in the rays of the rising sun as they filtered through the window. Already the heat of the day was streaming in, but inside him he’d never in his life felt so cold. He looked pointedly at the ring on her finger.

“That is not yours to wear.”

“I know, I’m sorry.” She bent her head and pulled the ring off her finger before dropping it into his outstretched hand.

Reynard shoved the ring in his pocket. If he never saw it again it would be too soon.

“I will make the arrangements for you to leave Isla Sagrado at once. One of my staff will call you with the details,” he said as he covered the short distance to the bedroom door. He stopped inside the doorway and hesitated a moment, then turned to deliver his parting shot in scathing tones.

“Oh, and thanks for last night. That definitely made it all worthwhile.”


It was well into the morning before Rina could bring herself to move from the bed. She’d curled into a fetal position of silent suffering in the face of Rey’s bitter anger. Finally, the worst of the anguish passed, leaving her blessedly numb. Like an automaton, she gathered the sheets and bedcover off the bed and staggered through to the washing machine, set in an alcove in the bathroom. She shoved the linens into the machine, added soap and turned it on.

Continuing to go through the motions, she took a shower and washed herself thoroughly—washed away every last touch or caress that Reynard had given her.

A while later, back in the bedroom, when she reached for the first thing at hand, she remembered she was no longer wearing her sister’s clothes. She was no longer Sara Woodville, but Sarina. She bent and dragged her suitcase from the bottom of the small cupboard, put it on the bare bed and wrestled the zip open. She grabbed the outfit on top—a pair of white capri pants and a mint green T-shirt. It was little comfort but it felt good to be in her own clothes again.

Since she’d been here, aside from her lingerie, she’d hardly worn her own clothing. She turned back to the wardrobe and fingered the fabric of the blue dress she’d worn on the night they’d almost made love for the first time. She should have told him then, she thought.

She’d felt so beautiful that night. So desired, even if it was all wrong. It occurred to her that he’d known even then that she wasn’t Sara. And knowing she wasn’t, he’d still wined and dined her, had performed intimacies on her that had tested her resilience beyond her expectations. A resilience that had broken under his kiss last night.

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