Stand-In Bride's Seduction(8)

By: Yvonne Lindsay


Without a second thought, Rina stepped forward and tucked her hand in the crook of the older man’s arm.

“Mr. del Castillo, I’ve been traveling all day and I’m exhausted. I need to sit down. Why don’t you come and sit with me over here on one of these chairs and we’ll get to know one another a little better?”

It wasn’t an exaggeration. She was exhausted, and she’d been traveling, or on her feet now, for the better part of two days.

“What is this?” he bristled.

Rina immediately threw a worried glance toward Reynard who merely lifted his eyebrows a fraction.

“I’m sorry. Did I say something wrong?” she apologized.

“Rey, explain the meaning of this. Why does your fiancée call me Meester del Castillo?”

A small smile pulled at the sensual curve of Reynard’s lips, giving Rina little insight into what had upset his grandfather.

“Should I have said señor? I’m sorry, my Spanish is—” she broke off. What if Sara’s Spanish had improved past the basic minimum they’d both learned in their late teens on their big overseas experience?

“It is my mistake—I should have introduced the two of you properly instead of only doing half a job. Sara, this is my grandfather, Aston del Castillo,” Reynard interjected.

“You must call me Abuelo,” the old man replied, with a sudden twinkle in his eye. “If you’re serious about marrying my grandson, that is.”

Across the room Rey watched Sara blanch at his grandfather’s words, and felt a brief surge of panic. Surely she wouldn’t expose the capricious nature of their engagement now. He knew they’d entered into the thing as a bit of a lark, neither of them serious about it for now. Even Sara had said they should see where the wind blew them.

Her attitude had been what had made her perfect for the role as his fiancée. He’d needed an engagement that would require little true commitment from him while still keeping his grandfather off his back about getting married. He doubted that Sara had any more intention of them actually getting married right now than he did, himself. If Abuelo would just stop harping on about that wretched curse, they could all get back to normal again. And then, in a few months, he and Sara could part ways gracefully and without any hard feelings. Of course, Abuelo was arguing even harder in favor of the curse now in light of the success of Alex and Loren’s marriage. There was no denying that things had improved financially for the family business and economically on Isla Sagrado as a whole, even in the short time since the two had married, supporting Abuelo’s claims that marriage for all three of the brothers would break the curse, and bring prosperity back to the family.

Reynard still had his doubts though, about the curse of the governess. Abuelo had become unhealthily obsessed with the subject in recent months, even claiming to see her ghost. If the old man were to be believed, the scorned woman’s final words to her del Castillo lover were solely responsible for every sudden death in the family, not to mention the downturn in the economy of Isla Sagrado. In itself, the thought was ridiculous, but Reynard and his brothers loved their grandfather deeply and had been prepared to do whatever it took to ensure his final years remained happy. Even if, on Reynard’s part, it meant faking an engagement.

Suddenly Rey became aware of the extended silence in the room. He stepped forward to Sara’s other side and kissed the tip of her lightly freckled nose, and was amused to see a faint flush of color flood her cheeks.

“Of course she’s serious about marrying me, Abuelo. Who wouldn’t want to be a del Castillo bride?”

“Bueno,” the old man said then nodded and allowed himself to be drawn over to a bank of chairs in the room where he pulled Sara down alongside him.

Before long, their heads were together and Rey felt a sense of reprieve that his grandfather was distracted, at least for now. He moved over to Alex and Loren.

“She did that well,” Alex commented, nodding to where Sara and their grandfather were conversing in a combination of Spanish and English.

Rey nodded, “Thank goodness. What were you going to tell him?”

Alex’s face grew bleak. “The truth?”

“No,” Loren murmured. “You can’t. Not while he’s still recovering from his stroke. He’s not even well enough to be back home at the castillo yet. I’d be terrified he’d suffer a setback and never be allowed home—and you know what that would do to him.”

“You’re right,” Rey agreed. “We don’t want a repeat of that night.”

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