She stood up abruptly. ‘What is there for me to feel jealous of?’ she scorned. ‘If those women are stupid enough to accept the little you want to give them, then that’s their problem. I can assure you that I have absolutely no interest in warming your bed!’ Andi regretted the words almost as soon as she had said them, realizing she might have said too much. Revealed too much.
Linus regarded Andi through narrowed lids, inwardly surprised by her vehemence. He only came to Tarrington Park every couple of months, but never during any of those visits had he seen the coolly distant Andi this rattled by anything; those gorgeous brown eyes were positively gleaming with her indignation, and bright spots of angry colour were on her usually pale cheeks.
His mouth hardened. ‘Maybe you should wait until you’re asked before saying no,’ he teased. ‘I was referring to your own lack of a love-life just now, Andi,’ he explained.
She blinked, her polite, businesslike mask falling back into place as she resumed her seat behind the desk. ‘I knew that,’ she dismissed sharply.
Linus continued to look at her for several long seconds, contemplating Andi’s completely defensive reaction.
Things had been a little tense between the two of them when they’d first begun working together, probably due to a certain amount of understandable resentment on Andi’s part at almost being bullied into working for him. But once Andi had accepted that Linus genuinely did want her complete input into the renovations to Tarrington Park—and that his long absences gave her a free rein when it came to the inner décor, the awkwardness between them had started to fade. Now, a year later, Linus totally appreciated that when it came to his business affairs Andi was quiet, efficient and everything that he could wish for in a PA.
Her reaction just now reminded him that she was also an extremely beautiful woman. The tailored suits and blouses she always wore could never hide the fact that she was shapely in all the right places, with long, sexy legs that went all the way up to her…
‘Sorry.’ He gave an impatient shake of his head as he brought his wandering thoughts back from considering just how sexily attractive his PA was. ‘We’ll start the drive up to Scotland tomorrow,’ he bit out abruptly as he straightened. ‘Besides viewing the castle near Edinburgh, there’s someone I need to visit.’
‘Edinburgh?’ Andi echoed. ‘Just a moment.’ She eyed him suspiciously. ‘Isn’t the Scottish rugby team playing against Wales over the weekend?’
‘I think that they are, yes,’ Linus confirmed lightly, his expression deliberately innocent.
‘You think that they are,’ Andi echoed knowingly.
She knew that Linus didn’t just like to play hard, but that his business success was due to the fact that he worked like a fiend too. But, no matter how wealthy he had become, or how busy he was, Linus had maintained his boyhood love for the game of rugby, and whenever possible he attended the games played by the Scottish team.
It was impossible to miss the fact that the Six Nations tournament was about to start this weekend, or that Scotland were due to play at home at Murrayfield, an area of Edinburgh, on Sunday. Too much of a coincidence in the circumstances.
‘You know that they are, Linus.’ Andi gave a derisive shake of her head. ‘In fact, I bet you have a ticket for the game.’ She raised mocking brows.
‘Actually, I have two tickets,’ he conceded dryly.
Andi’s eyes widened. ‘You’re expecting me to go to a rugby match with you too?’
He scowled. ‘Why not?’
For one thing, Andi had absolutely no interest in the game of rugby. For another, attending a rugby match with Linus certainly wasn’t in her job description.
Andi shrugged. ‘If you’re visiting friends and going to a rugby match I really don’t see why you need me with you in Scotland at all.’
Linus’s scowl darkened ominously. ‘This is the first time I’ve asked you to come away on business with me and you’re refusing?’
‘I didn’t say that.’ She shook her head slowly, aware of that dangerous glitter in Linus’s eyes.
‘That’s what it sounded like to me,’ he rasped tersely.
‘Then you must have misheard,’ Andi came back calmly.
Had he? Linus wondered, frowning. He and Andi had worked well together on the occasions he’d come to Tarrington Park, but on a personal level they had never got past the stage of his being allowed to call her ‘Andi’ , instead of the ‘Andrea’ she had initially insisted upon. A situation that Linus had thought suited them both, until Andi’s sharp response just now…
He frowned darkly. ‘Are you coming to Scotland with me or not?’
Andi gave a cool inclination of her head. ‘Of course I will accompany you, if that’s what you want.’
‘What I want from you, Andi, is your input on the castle near Edinburgh. You did a good job with Tarrington Park; I could use your help,’ he stated clearly. ‘Will Marjorie be okay left on her own for four days?’
‘She isn’t on her own any more since you employed Mrs Ferguson as our housekeeper,’ Andi reminded him waspishly.
Linus scowled impatiently. ‘Don’t tell me you’re still annoyed about that?’
Andi had been more than a little put out when, during one of his whirlwind visits to Tarrington Park six months ago, Linus had calmly informed her that he had hired a housekeeper for the gate house. Not that it didn’t make a lot of sense to have someone taking care of the house; Andi just didn’t like feeling any more in Linus’s debt than she already was.
Her mother’s health was much improved from a year ago. The scandal of bankruptcy that had been revealed following Miles’s death had died down eventually, allowing Marjorie to pull back from that emotional edge she had been teetering on—although her mother was still more delicate than Andi would have liked.
But her mother and Mrs Ferguson were of a similar age and got on very well together, meaning there was absolutely no need for Andi to be in the least concerned about leaving Marjorie for a few days. ‘I wasn’t annoyed,’ she assured Linus frostily. ‘I just wish you had consulted me before you did it, that’s all.’
‘If I had, you would only have said no; I decided not to put us both through that particular argument.’ He dismissed her with his usual arrogance. ‘I keep you pretty busy here, and the gate house is far too big for your mother to manage on her own.’
‘Don’t bother trying to explain, Linus.’ Andi sighed. ‘We both know that in my mother’s eyes you can do no wrong.’
He raised dark brows. ‘What can I say? Women of a certain age seem to like me.’
It had come as something of a surprise to Andi that Linus chose to visit her mother whenever he came to Tarrington Park. His manner towards Marjorie was always warm and considerate. The fact that he had watched his own mother struggle to bring him up alone perhaps answered some of his softer feelings towards her mother. Whatever Linus’s reasons, he seemed to have a genuine affection for Marjorie, and she was constantly singing his praises.
Andi’s mouth twisted. ‘The newspapers seem to think it’s women in general!’
‘Oh, give it a rest, Andi.’ He gave her an irritated frown. ‘You can’t deny that employing Mrs Ferguson has made things easier for Marjorie.’
‘I’m not denying anything.’ Andi gave him a considering look. ‘Is life always that easy for you—something isn’t quite right, so throw some money at it and fix it?’
Brought up at Tarrington Park, surrounded by the indulgent love of both her parents, Andi couldn’t even begin to imagine what life had been like for Linus as a child, or a teenager. There had been lots of love—initially from his