The Playboy of Puerto Banus(8)

By: Carol Marinelli

What on earth was he doing here? Raúl wondered. He should be getting ready to party on his yacht, or to hit the clubs—should be losing himself instead of getting reacquainted with his past. More to the point, there was hardly a limitless choice of women in this castle in the Scottish Highlands. And after what Raúl had found out this morning his own company wasn’t one he wanted to keep.

His hand tightened on the whisky glass he held. The full impact of what his father had told him was only now starting to hit him.

So black were his thoughts, so sideswiped was he by the revelations, Raúl actually considered leaving—just summoning his pilot and walking out. But then a tumble of dark hair and incredibly pale skin caught his eye and held it. She looked nervous and awkward—which was unusual for Gordon’s tarts. They were normally brash and confident. But not this one.

He held her gaze when she caught his and now there was only one woman he wanted to walk towards him—except she was holding tightly to Gordon’s arm.

She offered far more than distraction—she offered oblivion. Because for the first time since his conversation with his father he forgot about it.

Perhaps he would stay. At least for the service…

A deep Scottish voice filled the air and the guests were informed that the wedding would soon commence and they were to make their way to their seats.

* * *

‘Come on.’ Gordon took Estelle’s hand. ‘I love a good wedding.’

‘And me.’ Estelle smiled.

They walked through the mild night. The grounds were lit by torches and there were chairs set out. With the castle as a backdrop the scene looked completely stunning, and Estelle let go of her guilt, determined to enjoy herself. She’d been on a plane and, for the first time in her life, a helicopter, she was staying the night in a beautiful castle in the Scottish Highlands, and Gordon was an absolute delight. Despite having dreaded it, she was enjoying herself, Estelle realised as they took their seats and she made more small talk with Gordon.

‘Donald says that Victoria’s so nervous,’ he told her. ‘She’s such a perfectionist, apparently, and she’s been stressing over the details for months.’

‘Well, it all seems to have paid off,’ Estelle said. ‘I can’t wait to see what she’s wearing.’

Just as she’d finally started to relax as the music changed and they all stood for the bride, just as she’d decided simply to enjoy herself, she turned to get a first glimpse of the bride—only to realise that Raúl was sitting behind her.

Directly behind her.

It should make no difference, Estelle told herself. It was a simple coincidence. But even coincidence was too big a word—after all, he had to sit somewhere. Estelle was just acutely aware that he was there.

She tried to concentrate on the bride as she made her way to Donald. Victoria really did look stunning. She was wearing a very simple white dress and carried a small posy of heather. The smile on Donald’s face as his bride walked towards him had Estelle smiling too—but not for long. She could feel Raúl’s eyes burning into her shoulder, and a little while later her scalp felt as if it were on fire. She was sure his eyes lingered there.

She did her best to focus on the service. It was incredibly romantic. So much so that when they got to the ‘in sickness and in health’ part it actually brought tears to her eyes as she remembered her brother Andrew’s wedding, just over a year ago.

Who could have known then the hard blows fate had in store for him and his pregnant bride, Amanda?

Ever the gentleman, Gordon pressed a tissue into her hand.

‘Thank you.’ Estelle gave a watery smile and Gordon gave her hand a squeeze.

* * *

Please! Raúl thought. Spare me the crocodile tears. It had been the same with Gordon’s previous girlfriend—what was her name? Raúl smiled to himself, as he had the day they were introduced.


This one, though, even if she wasn’t to Raúl’s usual taste, was stunning. Raven-haired women were far from a rarity where Raúl came from, and for that reason he certainly preferred a blonde—for variety, two blondes!

He wanted raven tonight.

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