Reunited with the Lassiter Bride(7)

By: Barbara Dunlop


“You figured you were right and everyone else was wrong?” he asked.

“It seemed so at the time.”

His steps toward her appeared automatic. “You slept in my arms, told me you loved me, and then accused me of defrauding you out of nearly a billion dollars.”

All the pieces had added up in her mind back then, and they had been damning for Evan. “Seducing me would have been an essential part of your overall plan to steal Lassiter Media.”

“Shows you how little you know about me.”

“I guess it does.”

Even though she was agreeing, the answer seemed to anger him.

“You should have known me. You should have trusted me. My nefarious plan was all inside your suspicious little head. I never made it, never mind executed it.”

“I had no way of knowing that at the time.”

“You could have trusted me. That’s what wives do with their husbands.”

“We never got married.”

“Your decision, not mine.”

They stared at each other for a long moment.

“What do you want me to do?” she finally asked. Then she realized her question was ambiguous. “About Conrad.”

An ironic half smile played on Evan’s lips. “Don’t worry. I know you’d never ask what I wanted you to do about us.”

He backed off a couple of paces. “Come with me to see Conrad. Tomorrow night. Pretend we’re pals, that everything is terrific between us, and he doesn’t have to worry about any public fights.”

The request brought a pain to Angelica’s stomach. Nothing was remotely terrific between her and Evan. He was angry and she was sad. Because now that their dispute over Lassiter Media was over, she missed so many things about their former life.

“Sure,” she agreed, forcing her misery into a small corner of her soul. “I’ll do whatever it takes to help Kayla.”

“I’ll pick you up at seven. Wear something feminine.”

She glanced down at her slim, navy skirt and the collared, white blouse. “Feminine?”

“You know, ruffles or flowers, and some pretty shoes. Maybe curl your hair.”

“Curl my hair?”

“You don’t want to look like my rival. He’s an old-fashioned guy, Angie. He remembers a different time, a different kind of woman.”

“When? The 1950s?”

“That sounds about right.”

“You want me to simper and giggle and bat my eyelashes to get a wedding venue for Kayla and Matt.”

“In a word, yes.”

She’d do it. She’d definitely do it for her best friend. But she wasn’t going to like it, and she wasn’t going into it without a protest. “Shall I cling to your arm as well?”

“Cling to anything you want. Just sell it to him.” With that pronouncement, Evan turned on his heel, left the gazebo and disappeared along the pathway.





Two

Evan stood in the high-ceilinged foyer of the Lassiter mansion, gazing in amazement as a transformed Angie descended the grand staircase. She looked beautiful, feminine and deceptively sweet. Her chestnut hair was half up, half down, wisps dangling at her temples and curling enticingly along her shoulders in a silk curtain. The color was lighter than he remembered it, and he instantly realized he liked it this way.

“You’re wearing pink,” he couldn’t stop himself from observing.

“Now who’s stating the obvious?” As she covered the last couple of stairs, Evan noticed her simple, white pumps that matched a tiny purse tucked under her arm.

“I’ve never seen you in pink.” The dress was snug in the bodice, with cap sleeves and flat lace across the chest. It had a full silk skirt and a discreet ruffle along the hem. She wore simple diamond stud earrings and a tiny diamond pendant on a delicate gold chain. She truly could have stepped out of the 1950s.

“I hate pink,” she noted as she came to a halt on the ground floor. Then she donned a brilliant if slightly strained smiled and pirouetted in front of him. “But do you think this outfit will get Kayla the dream Malibu wedding her mother wants for her?”

Evan wasn’t sure the outfit would get them a wedding. But it was definitely getting him turned on. He’d seen Angie in no-nonsense suits, opulent evening gowns and the occasional classic black cocktail dress. But he’d never seen her looking so alluring and demure, and so incredibly kissable.

“If it doesn’t,” Evan found himself responding, “nothing will.”

“Good.” Her expression relaxed, and her smile looked more natural. “Then let’s get this over with, shall we?”

He held out his arm to escort her, but she didn’t take it. She walked pointedly past him, drawing open the front door and marching onto the porch.

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