|Название||One Night, Two Consequences|
|Автор произведения||Joss Wood|
|Серия||Mills & Boon Modern|
Remy felt the mood in the wine bar shift, felt the energy change. Grateful to be distracted from her thoughts, she turned her head to look at the new arrival into the elegant space. The man had stopped to talk to a couple sitting at a table close to the front door. His back was to her, so she admired the broad shoulders the white dress shirt covered, and the spectacular butt beneath the tailored, expensive black suit pants.
Finished with that conversation, he moved on to the next table, shaking hands and kissing cheeks, and Remy waited for him to turn around so that she could see his face. She rested her chin in the palm of her hand—at ease, as always, with flying solo.
In the corner a short brunette strummed a guitar and crooned into a microphone, while a group of women her age sat in a booth, laughing raucously and slamming tequilas. Groups of people were gathered around the horseshoe-shaped bar, and Remy couldn’t help noticing the interested and predatory female eyes tracking Hot and Sexy’s progress to the bar. In a room brimming with handsome and successful men he had the ability to capture a lot of attention without doing much at all.
He eventually made it to the general vicinity of where she was sitting and Remy could—finally!—see that face up close and personal: wavy dark brown hair, almost black, a long nose, and deep-set, mysterious eyes. Strong jaw, sexy mouth.
Oh, yeah. Very hot. Incredibly sexy.
Remy tipped her head as he was pulled into yet another conversation and noticed that while he didn’t seem to say much when he did people listened. Really listened. Even in silence he exuded confidence and control. More than his face or his body—both of which were panty-droppingly attractive—it was that control and confidence that intrigued her. Alpha male, she decided quickly: powerful, wealthy, in charge.
She’d known many alpha men. They had littered the offices, bars and pavements of New York. ‘Arrogant’ and ‘entitled’ hadn’t turned her head for a long, long time. He did. And she had to wonder why. Something about him made her lady bits quiver—and quivering was a not a good thing. Not good at all.
She was passing through Bellevue and she didn’t need any distractions. This man, she realised instinctively, was the type who women made themselves look silly over, changed their plans for, embarrassed themselves with.
Remy was too smart to do any of the above.
Too smart, period.
Bo Tessier had noticed her as soon as he’d pushed through the glass doors to his family’s wine-tasting bar in the heart of Bellevue town—a venue that both locals and tourists flocked to for their evening entertainment. Her elbow was propped on the bar and her hand held up her head. Her hair was a long fall of rich brown messy, loose curls, shot through with chestnut streaks too subtle to have come out of a salon. She had sculpted cheekbones, a stubborn chin, and a body that was long and lean—almost scrawny.
‘You heard that Bella passed away?’
He pulled his attention away from the beauty at the bar and looked down at the expectant faces at the table he was standing next to. He’d been answering the same question all day. Yes, of course he’d heard that Bella Abram, his neighbour and owner of Bella’s Folly—a Queen Anne mansion on five acres, bordering the east side of Belleaire—had passed away in her sleep the night before last.
‘We’re wondering who will inherit. Bella was quite well off.’
And there was the other comment he’d been hearing all day.
As for the heirs—who knew? Bella had kept the valley entertained with her many torrid affairs, but she’d never married, and since as far as anyone knew she was the only child of only children … dead end. When her heir was identified he’d be first in line with an offer to purchase. He could do without her monstrosity of a house, filled with rubbish, but he wanted that land. More land meant more vines, and there would be space for tunnels to grow organic exotic fruits and vegetables to supply their restaurants—and others in the area.
He was very aware that the land, being on the main tourist route leading into town from the more southerly towns in the Napa Valley, was also a prime spot to be developed. Belleaire did not need a housing estate or a golf course or a shopping mall on its doorstep. He couldn’t think of anything worse.
Extricating himself from the conversation, he moved towards the busy bar as a tourist group seated in a circle rose and, gathering their jackets and bags, drifted towards the exit. Bo stepped up to the bar and raked his hand through his hair.
‘Your usual, sir?’ the barman asked, and Bo nodded.
The barman scuttled across the area behind the bar and Bo winced when an expensive bottle of whiskey nearly slipped from his hand. Resisting the urge to climb over the bar and pour his own drink—he’d worked behind this bar during his college years—he drummed his fingers against the surface before abruptly stopping when he recalled his sister Ginny’s words.
‘You intimidate the hell out of our staff, Bo. You’re so distant, so unapproachable. Loosen up, smile at them occasionally. Crack a joke, compliment them.’
Years ago—before he’d lost Ana and long before he’d assumed the enormous responsibilities of running the Belleaire Group—he would have found that easier to do. These days he didn’t have the time or the energy or the inclination to soft-soap people into doing their jobs.
Communication was not his strong point—as Ginny frequently reminded him.
‘You can only take strong and silent so far, brother darling. No man is an island and all that …’
Bo gave a mental shrug. It worked for him, and since he worked crazy hours running their multimillion-dollar group of companies, comprising vineyards, a winery, farms, a hotel, restaurants and more than a few wine bars, he didn’t see the point in fixing what wasn’t broken.
Bo lifted the glass of whiskey on ice and closed his eyes as the first sip slid easily down his throat. His business might be built on wine, but there was nothing like a good shot of Irish whiskey to soothe.
Looking across the bar, he caught the eye of the barman again. ‘Has my cousin been in?’
‘Eli has come and gone, sir. He waited for you, but said to tell you that he’d catch up with you in the morning.’
Out of the corner of his eye he saw the woman’s head lift, knew that she was listening to their conversation. He felt her eyes on his face, sensed her interest. He didn’t mind—hell, she was gorgeous.
But many, many gorgeous women strolled in and out of this wine bar, through the tasting rooms back at the vineyard, through their restaurant, their art gallery, hotel … his office, his life. He never picked up random women. If he required female company—he was only thirty-five and he frequently did—he had a couple of women on speed dial. Women he knew, liked, was comfortable with. Women who understood that he only wanted a couple of hours’ strings-free fun.
Bo placed his forearms on the bar and looked at his foot resting on the gold rail, resisting the temptation to look her way and initiate conversation. He should be heading back to the estate, to the first of the four luxury houses they’d had built when they’d decided to turn the Belleaire mansion and family home into a boutique hotel. The houses were tucked into the east end of the estate, beyond the vineyards, and were far enough away from each other so that he didn’t feel as if he was living in his sister’s or his cousin’s pockets. The fourth house, smaller than the rest, they kept for visiting family and friends.
He had a full day tomorrow, a crazy week ahead, and he was nuts to be even considering chatting up this beauty with shadows under her eyes. He knew instinctively that she wasn’t his type. He liked women like himself: cool, collected, calm. He could tell from the short sundress she wore with kick-ass cowboy boots, from her curly down-to-the-waist hair and make-up-free