“Do what?” he asked, hoping against hope she really did mean what she said.
“I’ll be your fiancée,” she said.
Screw Jules Westmoreland. “Would you take the chance on getting to know me?” He was taking a big risk by saying this, by purposefully not answering her texts for the past day and a half. He’d been in agony over it, but he was, at heart, a risk-taker. She blinked up at him, and he could practically see her mind working. She was weighing and assessing him. Weighing and assessing what Isabella had said tonight about Jules not being who he said he was, while he, Sebastian, was in the flesh.
Yes, he’d eavesdropped and he’d do it again if he thought it would help him.
“I think I’d like that,” she said slowly.
Victory was his. “Have a good night, Daisy.”
“What about your coat?” she asked.
“I’ll pop down to your flat tomorrow to retrieve it.”
“Night, Sebastian,” she said.
“I prefer Bastian, remember?”
“Yes.” She smiled, and his heart turned over in his chest. “Night, Bastian.”
The urge to kiss her again came upon him so quickly that he took a step towards her. A deep breath sustained his self-control. “See you tomorrow.”
Pivoting, he nearly sprinted to his car and got in, driving away, but he couldn’t help but glance up at his rearview mirror.
Daisy still stood where he’d left, beneath a halo of light, his coat wrapped around her.
Lifting the collar of his coat, Daisy buried her nose in the fabric. It smelled so good. So him.
She was so in trouble.
Sighing, she turned to head back inside the library. Just as she pushed open the first set of door, Isabella barreled into her. Daisy grabbed her, Sebastian’s coat sliding to the floor. They knelt at the same time, her best friend handing her the coat.
“Late for your flight?” Daisy asked with a smile. Then she got a good look at Isabella and gasped. Her tawny eyes were rimmed in red and her face was all splotchy. “What happened?”
Fat tears rolled down Isabella’s cheeks. “He l-left me for that woman. I got a text message with their Vegas Wedding picture. The coward.” She sniffed and looked up at the ceiling, then back at Daisy. “You and Haven were so right about him. I’m so stupid.”
Heart breaking for her best friend, Daisy helped Isabella to her feet and wrapped her arms around her. She stroked her hair. “You’re not stupid and it’s not your fault the rat bastard left you.”
“They’re all rat bastards. Every last one of them,” Isabella said, her voice shaky. “Not Sebastian, of course. I’m sure you two are perfect for each other.”
The door opened and Daisy turned her head. Isabella’s older brother walked in. All tall, dark-haired and devastatingly handsome, but without the swagger of someone who needed the world to acknowledge it. Growing up, Daisy had a huge crush on him, but he’d only had eyes for Summer Holland.
Daisy had a sneaking suspicion he still only had eyes for Summer.
Her best friend began to sob as her brother caught her up in a hug. “D-don’t l-lecture m-me, Gab-briel,” Isabella managed to say.
“Thought you might need a ride home when this was over,” Gabriel said, his voice low and soothing. “But there’s something you should know.”
If that womanzing asshat had gotten that woman he’d run off with pregnant, Daisy would hunt him down herself.
“I’m not sure how to say it—”
Her best friend gripped his coat. “Spit it out, Gabe.”
“It’s all over the news. Everyone knows.” He hugged Isabella tighter. “Sorry, honey.”
Daisy caught Gabriel’s eye. “Take Bella home. I’ll cover for her.”
“Thank you,” Isabella sniffed, stepping out of her brother’s embrace.
“Maybe you should go on a vacation, Bella. Maybe to the Bahamas or someplace where people won’t bother you.” Daisy raised her brows, trying to convey her thoughts while keeping her own tears at bay. “I’ll hold down the fort while you go.”
“I think you’re right.” Isabella dashed a hand over her eyes, glancing up at her brother and then at Daisy. “And you know what else?”
Daisy gave her a watery smile. She hated to see anyone cry alone, especially her best friend. “What?”
Isabella grabbed her hand, squeezing it so hard that Daisy almost gasped in pain. “I love you, Daisy Starr Barnes.
Daisy watched her friend leave, waving as Gabriel’s truck pulled out of the parking lot. By the time she returned to the fundraiser, people had already eaten, bid on the items they had wanted, and were putting on their coats.
Smiles and laughter were a good indicator tonight had gone well. Heading to the long table of now empty food platters, she cleaned and packed up her supplies.
“Thanks for all of your help, Daisy,” the new librarian called out as she hefted the first bag. “Be sure to tell Isabella not to worry either. Poor girl, migraine hitting her at the worst possible time.”
“You’re welcome, and I will.” Daisy wanted to smack herself as the woman ducked into an office. She still hadn’t gotten her name.
Daisy nodded, and then made two trips to her car before wishing everyone who was left a good night. Twenty minutes later, she was in her favorite pjs and relaxing in bed while checking her email.
One in particular caught her attention—mostly because it sounded like one of those foreign you’ve-won-the-lottery emails.
My dearest Daisy,
It has come to my attention that you have become acquainted with my beloved son. I do hope that you treat him well.
If you find it in your heart, and have the time—
“Give me a break,” she muttered at the screen.
Fuming, she drilled her fingers on the laptop and wondered if she should bother to tell Sebastian. The woman wanted information, that Daisy knew for sure. However, the part about her beloved son…Yeah, a little over the top, and Daisy wasn’t responding to some poser looking for dirt, not that she had any. But there was the urge to email this Francesca, Countess of Spenserfield and tell her off for pretending to be somebody’s momma.
Daisy turned and stared at the wall, taking in all the pictures she had of her family. Tons were of her and her mom, at all stages of life and cancer. There weren’t that many of her dad, who had been killed in Iraq during the first Gulf War, when she’d been a toddler. Some were of her extended family in Holland Springs and down in Georgia. At any given time, she had more relatives in federal prison than out.