|Название||The Honeymoon Arrangement|
|Автор произведения||Joss Wood|
|Жанр||Современные любовные романы|
|Издательство||Современные любовные романы|
Looking down at her mobile in her hand, she thought that she couldn’t be in the country, breathing the same air as Laura. She’d rather do anything else, be anywhere else. Even—
‘Finn? It’s Callie. You called me last night? If you haven’t married, proposed to or found anybody else to be your wife since we spoke last night I might be your girl.’
CALLIE LEFT AWELFOR and headed directly to Simon’s Town, the pretty town to the east of the city of Cape Town. Her father had set up a branch of his sea kayaking tours there after handing over the family property business to Seb. Patch loved his life as a kayak guide and tour operator. Like her, he was vivacious and open; if she had any charm at all she’d inherited it all from him.
Callie sat on the low wall that separated the promenade from the beach and watched Patch converse with his customers while his assistants unloaded the kayaks from the trailer that he’d driven onto the beach. He was still tall and broad and handsome—quite a silver fox, Callie thought. Thank God he’d finally given up dating vapid and beautiful women—mostly younger than her—and was about to marry a woman his own age.
He and Annie seemed to be blissfully happy, and after what Laura and the crazy gold-diggers had put him through she was happy for him. He deserved to be loved and loved well. And, judging by the perpetual grin he was sporting lately, Annie loved him very well indeed.
Callie let out a whistle that Patch had taught her as a kid and Patch instantly turned, his fantastic smile lighting up his face. She might have had a screwed-up childhood, and maybe Patch hadn’t been the perfect father, but it had been a very long time since she’d doubted that he loved her. He was one of her best friends and the strongest rope keeping the balloon that was her life tethered to the ground.
Patch bounded across the sand and immediately pulled her into his arms, warm and strong. She buried her head in his neck, sucked in the smell of him and felt her tilting world settle down. Patch ran a hand over her hair before kissing her temple and stepping away from her to sit on the wall next to her.
‘Seb told you, huh?’
‘Yeah.’ She suddenly remembered that her mother had been his wife and wondered how he was handling the news. ‘How do you feel about her returning?’
Patch shrugged. ‘Doesn’t mean much to me except for how it affects you and Seb.’
Callie sank her bare feet into the warm sand and wiggled her toes. She bit the side of her lip and stared out to sea. ‘I’m running away …’
Patch cocked his head. ‘You are? Where to?’
‘Well, it’s not quite settled, but there’s this guy and he needs a—a friend to go on a trip with him.’
‘He seems nice, and he’s just gone through a rough time, and we seem to like each other …’ Callie waved her hands in the air. ‘Not as … you know … but I think we could be friends … He needs a friend.’
‘Most of us do,’ Patch agreed. ‘And you want to avoid seeing Laura.’
Callie waited a beat before turning anxious eyes to his face. ‘Am I wrong? Should I be meeting her?’
Patch ran his hand over his jaw. ‘Honey, for the last ten years, ever since you totalled your car at a thousand miles an hour, I have trusted you to do the right thing—not for me but for yourself. I still trust you to do that.’ He reached for her hand and held it. ‘That thing we call intuition? That little voice? It’s your soul talking. You can trust it.’
‘My intuition is telling me to go on this trip with Finn.’
‘Then do it,’ Patch said, before frowning. ‘Wait—is this Rowan’s client? The travel writer?’
Patch smiled broadly. ‘Tell him to come kayaking with me—maybe he’ll do an article on the tours.’
Callie had to smile. Her dad was her rock, but he was never shy about putting himself forward. Ah, well, she thought as she sat with him in the morning sun, you don’t get apples from orange trees.
Callie buzzed Finn through the gates of her complex in Camps Bay and walked onto the wide veranda that encompassed most of her second-storey luxury flat. She leaned her arms on the railing, watching as he steered his expensive SUV into her visitor’s parking space. He left his vehicle and Callie watched as he stretched, his T-shirt riding up his abdomen to reveal a ridged stomach that had to be an eight or ten-pack and the hint of make-women-stupid obliques.
She did appreciate a fine-looking man, Callie thought, and they didn’t come much finer than Finn Banning. Sexy, and also very successful She’d researched him and read that he had been an award-winning investigative journalist before switching to travel journalism, where he was raking in the praise.
What had really gone wrong with his engagement? Why had they called it off? Why would any woman walk away from that?
Maybe there was something about Finn Banning that she didn’t know yet—and that worried her. Especially if she was considering spending three weeks in his company.
After she’d called him from Awelfor she’d spent ten minutes convincing him that she wasn’t joking about being his ‘wife’ and avoiding his probing questions around why she’d changed her mind. She’d ended the conversation with the suggestion that if he still thought that taking her along was a good idea he should pop by for a drink at sunset.
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