‘Look, if you would like to finish watering the plants while I throw on some clothes,’ Griff suggested briskly, ‘we can carry on talking over a cup of coffee.'
‘And how would—your friend, Mrs Major, feel about that?’ Sarah voiced her thoughts about that relationship, having no intention of becoming a bone of contention between the two over the simple sharing of a cup of coffee!
‘Virginia?’ He sounded surprised that she should even come into consideration over the casual suggestion. ‘She wouldn't mind your having—– Ah,’ he nodded slowly as her meaning sank in. ‘My friend Virginia,’ he repeated in amusement. ‘Well, I really don't think she could object to my offering you a cup of coffee. And I've never known her to be the possessive type.’ He looked Sarah over speculatively. ‘So if you're lonely during your stay here…'
Sarah's cheeks became flushed at the innuendo. ‘Just because you're having an affair with a woman almost old enough to be your mother is no reason to think you can insult me!’ she bit out scornfully.
‘I wasn't insulting you, Sarah,’ he mocked. ‘Far from it. Some women would have seen my suggestion as a compliment.'
‘Well, I'm not one of them!’ She shuddered at the thought of it; out of the frying-pan into the fire!
‘Obviously,’ he drawled derisively. ‘And I'm sure Virginia wouldn't appreciate that remark you made about her being almost old enough to be my mother; she's only in her forties.'
‘Still far too old for you,’ Sarah maintained stiffly.
‘I believe she might prefer to be called experienced rather than old,’ Griff taunted. ‘And don't mock the fact that I stay here often between stories; my name may be known worldwide, all my expenses paid by my newspaper, but reporters themselves don't actually earn that much money, and when I'm not working I like to enjoy life.’ He shrugged. ‘As you can see, by this villa, the pool out back, Virginia is rich enough to ensure that I do that.'
Sarah looked at him with distaste as his meaning became clear. ‘And in return for providing all this luxury she gets you,’ she said with contempt. ‘I never imagined Griff Morgan as no more than a kept man!'
‘Well, now you know,’ he mocked.
‘Now I know,’ she echoed with disgust. ‘I think I had better be going.’ She turned to leave, totally disillusioned with the way this incredibly talented man chose to live. ‘I can finish watering the rest of the plants tomorrow.’ When he wouldn't be here, she hoped!
‘Yes—you mustn't keep Stephen waiting,’ he derided softly, following her out to the hallway. ‘I'd rather be answerable to a beautiful woman like Virginia than a spoilt child,’ he softly mocked her.
‘Then that's where we differ.’ She turned to glare at him as she reached the door, her head tilted back as he stood too close to her, the dark hair completely dry now, curling softly over his forehead and ears. ‘I only have another two and a half weeks of this to put up with, and then I'm never going to be answerable to this particular spoilt child again.’ She was only seeing it through this time because she knew her mother would never forgive her if she supposedly let down her good friend Clarissa. Sarah's own sense of family loyalty was enough to make her see through what was turning into a hellish holiday.
She shook her head impatiently at Griff Morgan. ‘I never would have believed this of you. All of your articles have dealt with a freedom of some kind, and now it turns out you're no better than a—a gigolo yourself!’ Her eyes were full of the disillusionment she had suffered through this knowledge. This man had always seemed to represent a certain truth, a freedom, and yet he sold his own principles for a life of comfort and physical indulgence whenever he required it.
‘I am?’ He seemed amused at the prospect. ‘Maybe I should do a story based on that very subject.'
Her eyes flashed her disgust. ‘You certainly wouldn't have to go very far for the research!'
She was still shaking with anger by the time she got into the hire-car Clarissa and Roger let her use to drive over here, colour darkening her cheeks as she turned from reversing down the driveway to find Griffin Morgan watching her from the open doorway of the villa, completely unconcerned by the fact that he still only wore a towel draped about his hips to hide his nakedness!
She dragged her gaze away with effort, unable to deny his undoubted attraction, despite knowing what she now did about his personal life.
Unfortunately, much as she tried, she couldn't shake the man from her thoughts for the rest of the day. She had never met anyone quite like him before, and she found herself indulging in thoughts of him at the most inopportune moments, only giving half her usual attention to Stephen, a fact he took full advantage of by being more unruly than normal, culminating in his pushing a newly oiled Sally into the pool, the water a cool shock to her skin. Her outraged screams woke Clarissa up as she slept on one of the loungers beside the pool, and even the easygoing Roger looked irritated by the commotion as he rushed from inside the villa to see what all the noise was about.
Sally created such a fuss that Sarah was left feeling the one responsible for the whole incident, Stephen gently but indulgently scolded by his mother for his ‘teasing'!
‘Just ignore Sally,’ Ben advised as Sarah prepared a salad for dinner, her movements controlled as she did her best to hold on to her own temper—and her tongue!
Ignore that spoilt little madam! Sarah knew what she would like to do with the young girl—with the whole family, in fact.
Of them all Ben was undoubtedly the nicest, often taking pity on her and helping her out with the numerous jobs that seemed to be included under the liberal title Clarissa had given her of ‘family help'.
Sarah knew she wouldn't have got herself into this situation at all if she hadn't thought a break away from England was exactly what she needed right now. Not ‘what the doctor ordered’ certainly; Simon had been furious at her plans to go to France for a month, but it had been his very anger that had given her the impetus to accept Clarissa's offer in the first place.
He had a lot to answer for!
It was almost nine o'clock that evening before she really had a chance to sit down and relax, indulging herself with the English newspapers that had been purchased that morning. They were one day old, but this reminder of home, of a promised end to this so-called ‘working holiday', was another one of the things that kept her from telling Clarissa what she thought of her and her spoilt family.
Sarah gave an inward gasp at the picture of Griff with a smilingly lovely woman at his side on the third page of the first newspaper she opened. The story that accompanied the photograph made her gasp even more.
Saturday should have been Griff Morgan's wedding-day!
THE woman standing at Griff's side in the photograph was his fiancée, Sandra Preston, the daughter of the owner of the group of newspapers Griff worked for. Griff had waited at the altar for his bride for almost an hour, finally having to accept that she had no intention of arriving.
My God, no wonder he had seemed so cynical and—and yes, slightly reckless today. Sarah wasn't to have known it at the time, but that cynicism, at least part of it, obviously came from the recent hurt he had suffered at the hands of his fiancée, and in such a humiliating way.
How could any woman leave a man standing at the altar in that way, knowing she had no intention of joining him there?
It said in the newspaper article that Sandra Preston had gone off to the family home in the Bahamas to ‘get away for a while and think', and the reporter wondered where the jilted bridegroom had disappeared to. In fact, the headline of the story was, ‘Where are you, Griff?'
Sarah knew exactly where the jilted bridegroom was. He was staying at the villa of another woman, a beautiful older woman who—– Bridegroom… wedding…? Virginia Major had gone to London to attend her brother's wedding!