Stranger In His Bed. Lauren Canan

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Название Stranger In His Bed
Автор произведения Lauren Canan
Жанр Современные любовные романы
Издательство Современные любовные романы
Год выпуска 0
isbn 9781474076746

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the soft grass. “Please don’t go.”

      Pheromones shot through his body, and it took most of his strength to refrain from going back to her. His body was hard, tense. He needed a release. Dammit, he needed Victoria.

      “I have a meeting.” And if he didn’t get away from her soon, he would never make it to that meeting.

      “That’s too bad. I think you need to relax occasionally. And I think you would enjoy daydreaming in this beautiful garden.”

      “Daydreaming doesn’t allow much time for business.”

      She looked at him, a smile warming her face. It was the first time he’d seen her without anxiety and pain marring her delicate features. Or the mask of disgruntlement she normally wore. It was the first time a freshly scrubbed and exceedingly beautiful Victoria had actually smiled at him rather than smirked.

      “That’s too bad. Really.”

      There was absolutely no way Victoria would normally sit outside on the grass under the shade of a tree. Let alone smile about it. He would definitely take it up with Dr. Meadows when they went in for her appointment.

      “I’d better get back inside. The meeting is in about half an hour.”

      She wiggled to a more comfortable spot on the ground. “Here? At the house?”


      “What’s it about?”

      He couldn’t help looking at her to see if she was joking. Victoria had never shown any interest in any aspect of the business, not that he would have let her be privy to much of the information. As long as the contractual installments that kept her here were paid on time, she couldn’t care less how the money was earned. It was odd that she’d asked. But what about this entire situation wasn’t odd?

      “We’ve just received all the clearances for the resort we’re preparing to build in the Caribbean. I’m meeting with the architect and the designer to finalize the plans for the cottages.”

      “That sounds like fun.”

      “Fun?” He scratched the side of his face. “I never really looked at it as fun.”

      “Might as well like it if it’s something you have to do.” She shrugged. “Thank you for coming to look for me.”

      In the five years he’d known her, he had never heard the words thank you leave her mouth. He was pretty sure he’d never heard Victoria say those words to anyone. Her mind-set was one of privilege. She expected people to wait on her, and in her mind that didn’t require any thanks. He could get used to this new Victoria.

      He brushed off his slacks and bid her good day, heading back to the door. He couldn’t help but wonder what else would be revealed on her journey to wellness and how much longer this new Victoria would be around.


      Dinner that evening was held in the dining room. The forty-eight-seat table kind of put it in perspective: her husband had yet to discover the world of casual. But the food, when it was served, was delicious. She closed her eyes, savoring the taste of the fresh Maine lobster. “My gosh. This is so good,” she said, not waiting until she’d chewed and swallowed.

      “I’m glad you find it to your liking.” There was an unmistakable glint in his eyes.

      She nodded her head. “How’d your meeting go?”

      “Okay. It was just a formality to finalize plans for the resort. John provided an artistic take on the landscaping, and Mac reiterated the completion dates.”

      “Landscaping?” A picture flashed in her mind. A woman sitting in a windowsill, behind her a glorious sunset as she smelled a rose, a soft smile on her lips. Victoria’s head throbbed with the memory.

      “Yeah.” Wade took another bite of his lobster. “The final idea seems off to me, but I couldn’t say what is missing or what, if anything, needs to change.”

      She nodded, taking a sip from her water glass, hoping the throbbing in her head would go away on its own.

      “Would you have any interest in seeing the sketches? Maybe you can spot something we missed. You seemed to enjoy yourself at the waterfall today and had good ideas about putting in some seating.”

      Her gaze shot to his face. “Me? You want me to look at them? Seriously?”

      “Yeah.” He shrugged. “Why not? Unless you don’t want—”

      “Yes. I’d really like that.” He was reaching out to her for the first time. He was offering her a glimpse of his world. It was a small step toward rebuilding their relationship, maybe even a few steps in the direction of trust.

      They ate in silence for a while. Victoria looked around the massive dining room, at the wainscoting, the three crystal chandeliers above the table and the forty-six empty chairs. It was so formal.

      “Do you...we always eat in here?”

      “In the past, you’ve preferred it.” His answer was dry, like he didn’t necessarily share her taste for it.

      “Isn’t there a kitchen?”

      He raised one eyebrow, indicating her question was absurd. “I believe we have one, yes. That would be where the dinner was prepared.”

      “I mean, does it have a table?” she pressed. “Something smaller than this? Or a bar? You know, with stools? A place where just a couple of people can sit and eat. A place not so formal.”

      Wade looked perplexed. It was as though the idea had never occurred to him or he’d never expected her to make such a request. And now that she’d said it, she wasn’t at all sure why she wanted somewhere unpretentious. After being married to Wade for eight months, she should be used to this type of formality.

      “I believe we do.”

      She refocused on her plate. “Have you ever had all these chairs filled? Like, at the same time?”

      “On occasion.”

      “That’s a lot of pizza.”

      He stopped with his fork halfway to his mouth. His lips pursed at the unexpected humor. Clearly, he remembered their previous joking about his family business being a pizza joint.

      “It is. And we serve only the best. But no jalapeños,” he said in a serious tone.

      “Agreed. Or anchovies.”

      “Or anchovies.” He finished taking his bite of food.

      “How long have you lived here?”

      He patted the linen napkin against his mouth. “It’s actually the family home. My grandfather started the business and did well enough that he had the core building erected before he died. My father later added the west and east wings. It works well for meetings that last several days and provides enough space for guests to stay without going to a hotel. The business associates visiting from other countries especially seem to prefer to stay here.”

      “When they’re not’s a big house for just two people. Do you ever get lonely? Do I?”

      He shrugged. “You’ve always seemed to manage. I’ve been staying here off and on most of my adult life. I guess I’ve never really thought about it. I have other houses, an apartment in New York, a villa outside of Rome, a flat in London. I stay in whatever area my business requires.”

      “’re here now because of me?”


      Why did that realization make her a bit sad? What important things had he had to cancel because of her?

      She glanced at him as he returned his focus to his plate. He was