Stand-In Bride's Seduction(7)

By: Yvonne Lindsay


On the surgical floor they were shown to a private waiting room. Immediately Rina spotted another handsome man who she assumed was Reynard’s elder brother, Alexander. He stood near a window, his arm around a slender woman of average height, offering her comfort even as his own face bore the ravages of the worry they were all going through. Although his hair was darker than Reynard’s, the family resemblance was still incredibly strong. On closer inspection, Rina realized that, converse to her original impression, the woman at his side was supporting him, rather than the other way around.

As soon as Alex saw his younger brother, he pulled away from his wife and came across the room. The affection the del Castillo brothers bore for each other was evident in the way they clasped in a long and silent embrace.

“Any news?” Reynard said as they pulled apart.

“Nothing,” Alex said, his voice hoarse.

“The doctor said it could be a few hours,” the other woman volunteered gently. Suddenly, she seemed to notice Rina standing near the door and crossed the room toward her. “You must be Sara. I’m so sorry our first meeting should be under these circumstances.”

First meeting? Had Sara never met Reynard’s family?

“She’s only just returned from visiting friends in France. I haven’t even given her time to take a breath yet.” Reynard turned to Rina and pulled her to his side. “Alex, Loren, this is Sara Woodville, my fiancée.”

“Welcome to the family,” Alex said, taking her hand and leaning in to kiss her on the cheeks in European fashion. “As Loren said, I’m sorry we had to meet you like this, but I am glad you are here for Reynard.”

“Thank you,” she answered, but before she could say any more a commotion outside the waiting room distracted them.

A volley of voluble Spanish rent the air as the door opened. The del Castillo imprint was obvious on the face of the elderly gentleman who pushed into the room, leaning heavily on a highly polished wooden cane, soon followed by a middle-aged man who looked both worried and apologetic at the same time.

“I went to visit him at the nursing home to tell him the news in person, and he took my car keys and tried to hijack my car. I tried to stop him, señors, but he would not listen,” the younger man said. “He said he would drive himself here if I did not bring him.”

“Listen? Pah!” the white haired gentleman spat. “You think I am too old to give support to my grandchildren when they need me?”

“Don’t worry, Javier, Abuelo will be fine with us. Why don’t you see if you can find us all some decent coffee to drink, hmm?” Reynard suggested while smoothly stepping forward and taking his grandfather’s arm.

“I know everyone else’s preferences but, señorita, how do you take your coffee?” Javier asked.

“Strong and milky, thank you,” Rina replied with a smile.

“You are forgetting your manners,” the old man chastised his grandson. “Who is this young lady?”

His slightly quavering voice in heavily accented English belied the sharply inquisitive gleam in his eyes as he assessed Rina. For a moment she wondered if he could see right through her, see the falsehood she was perpetrating by masquerading as her twin.

“This is Sara Woodville, my fiancée,” Reynard responded smoothly.

“It’s about time she came back. I was beginning to think she was a figment of your imagination. The governess, she won’t wait, you know. You mark my words. This accident of Benedict’s,” he stated as he waved a mottled hand through the air, “it is no accident, I tell you.”

“Abuelo, enough!” Alex’s voice was sharp. “Benedict endangered his own life every time he got behind the wheel of a car. It was bound to catch up with him sooner or later. It had nothing to do with—”

“You can deny it all you wish, my boy, but the facts remain in front of your face as clear as your nose. Now, where is my grandson? I wish to see him.”

He imperiously stamped the cane he clutched in one gnarled hand on the vinyl floor, and Rina suddenly realized why the brothers had not wanted him at the hospital. He had no idea just how seriously hurt Benedict was.

She looked from the elderly man to his two grandsons, especially Reynard. His face was a mask of concern, his hazel eyes clouded. Clearly Benedict’s injuries were life threatening. Why else would he and Alex be so determined to keep the information from their grandfather? And now, with him demanding to see his youngest grandson, and with the obvious respect they had for him so apparent in their demeanor, how could they tell him the truth?

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