Reunited with the Lassiter Bride(6)

By: Barbara Dunlop

“Fix what?” She sat up straighter. “What’s wrong, Evan?”

He put his foot on the first stair and braced his hand on a support post, but seemed unwilling to enter the gazebo. “There was a fire at the Emerald Wave.”

“Oh, no. Was it bad?”

“Bad enough. It gutted half the kitchen. Luckily, nobody was hurt.”

Angelica was grateful to hear everyone was safe, but her mind immediately went to Kayla. “We’re only three weeks from the wedding.”

“No kidding.”

“We need to find them a new venue.”

“Are you going to continue stating the obvious?”

She felt her nerves snap to attention. “Are you going to continue being a jerk?”

“Oh, Angie.” His tone was soft, and his use of her nickname sent a new shiver of awareness through her body. “I haven’t even begun being a jerk.”

She reached for her glass of merlot, needing something to fortify her. “What do you want from me, Evan?”

He came up the three steps, filling the doorway to the gazebo with his six-foot-two height. “I need your help. I went to see Conrad Norville today.”

“I don’t understand.” What did movie mogul Conrad Norville have to do with repairing a kitchen?

“To ask if we could use his Malibu mansion for the wedding.”

The explanation set her back for a moment. But she had to admit, it was a good idea.

Conrad Norville owned a monster of a mansion on the Malibu oceanfront. The seventy-something man was renowned for being gruff and eccentric, but his house was acknowledged as an architectural masterpiece.

“It’s the only place anywhere near Malibu that has a hope of fitting all the guests,” said Evan.

“What did he say?”

“He told me, and I’m quoting here, ‘No way in hell am I getting mixed up with that Lassiter circus. I’ve got a reputation to protect.’”

Angelica felt her defenses go up on behalf of her family. “He’s got a reputation to protect?”

“No,” said Evan, his tone admonishing. “He’s got a house we want to borrow.”


“Don’t get all high and mighty—”

“I’m not high and mighty.”

“Well, whatever you are, this is no time for you to get into a fight with the man.”

“He already turned you down,” Angelica pointed out. How could it possibly matter if she fought with Norville or not?

“I’m willing to take another run at it,” said Evan. “For Matt and Kayla’s sake.”

The statement made her curious. “You think you can change his mind?”

“I was thinking you could help me change his mind.”

“How could I do that? I’ve barely met him in passing. And it sure doesn’t sound as though he likes my family.”

“I thought we could alleviate his fears, present a united front. Show him there are no hard feelings between us, that the rumors about the power struggle were overblown.”

The rumors weren’t overblown. When her father’s will left control of Lassiter Media to Evan, it had resulted in all-out battle between the two of them. Even now, when they both knew it had been a test of her loyalty, their spirits were battered and bruised, their relationship shattered beyond repair.

But Kayla’s happiness was at stake. Or, more specifically, Kayla’s mother’s happiness was at stake. Angelica was willing to bet that Kayla would marry Matt anywhere. In fact, they’d probably prefer to be married in Cheyenne, where they’d made their home. But Kayla’s mother had been looking forward to this day since Kayla was born. And Kayla would do anything for her family.

“So, you’re asking me to lie?” Angelica stated in a flat, uncompromising tone.

“I’m asking you to lie,” Evan agreed.

“For Kayla and Matt.” That might be one of the few reasons she’d consider it.

“I’d do a lot more than lie for Matt,” said Evan.

She took in the determination on his handsome face. Experience had taught her that he was a formidable opponent who let absolutely nothing stand in his way.

“I shudder to think how far you’d go to get what you want.”

His expression tightened. “Yeah? Well, we both know how far you’ll go, don’t we?”

It was a cutting blow.

“I thought I was protecting my family,” she defended.

When she’d learned of the terms of the will, she couldn’t come up with any explanation except that her father had lost his mind, or that Evan had brazenly manipulated J.D. into leaving him control of Lassiter Media.