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Page 51 of Just Desserts (Holland Springs 4)

“At least allow me to go by the office before we begin,”—snagging her phone from the bed, he read from the screen—“this magical journey around London. Be sure to have your broom at the ready.” He ran a hand down his face. “Why do you insist on torturing me?”

She glared at him. “Spending time with me shouldn’t be torture.” Whirling around, she marched to the door. “And it’s not going to work.”

“What’s not going to work?”

“Making me mad so I won’t want spend the day with you.” She opened the door with her foot. “I think you need to have some fun. Lots of it, for the entire time I’m here.”

“You think I need to have fun?” he asked.

Casting a glance over her shoulder, she said, “Yes and Kate agreed.”

“The two of you talked about me?” His blue eyes widened.

“Nothing too personal,” she fibbed.

“What did she say exactly?”

Daisy swallowed. She had to tell him the truth. “That she still cared about you and it was the reason she was trying to help me fit in with your friends and dress the part.”

“Really?” he asked, his gaze assessing and maybe even hopeful.

Daisy’s heart pinched. All that talk about him not loving Kate anymore, she realized, might be just that. Talk. “Yes. She thinks you work too much and need to have fun.”

“Well, she would know better than anyone.” He jumped up from bed and strode to the bathroom. “The office first, then we’ll go.”

Daisy left his room, trudging along the hallway. She should be happy that he agreed. She should be happy that he was going to spend the day with her.

But she wasn’t.

Because all she could think about was the look on his face when he learned about Kate’s concern for him. Worse than that, she didn’t want to think about how much it hurt her heart to see it.

***

Sebastian ran a critical eye over Daisy as they waited for his driver. She wore one of her usual cardigans and a pair of dark jeans with hot pink flats that matched the chopsticks in her hair. Lovely, but not very practical for springtime English weather.

“Would you stop staring at me?” she asked, her brow wrinkling.

“I’m not staring.” She gave him a look. “Okay, so I am—er, was staring. I’m actually concerned about how warm you’ll be. Did you pack any jumpers?”

“I haven’t worn one of those since I was eight,” she said. “And if you think I’ll be too cold wearing jeans, then what in the world would make you think a dress could keep me warm?”

“A jumper is a sweater,” he said on a grin.

“Really?” Her face flushed. “Ooooh, so that’s what Ron’s mother made Harry. All this time I thought the woman had made him a dress for school.”

“Are you serious?”

She shrugged. “Foreign country, foreign-to-me customs. Plus, the book is fantasy. People can wear whatever they want in those.”

Yeah, and his fantasy would be to see her wearing nothing but the jewels that belonged to the future Countess of Spenserfield. “Didn’t you see the films? That explained what a jumper was.”

“No, I’m a purist. Usually when books become movies, they—” her eyes narrowed. “How would you know what was in the movies?”

Because his brother had been in the first two, as an extra, and he’d always made a point to watch every film Christian had been in, no matter how small the roll. However, watching the rest of the films had been completely voluntary. “I might be a fan.”

She grinned. “Uh-huh. Bet you know lots of trivia and where everything was filmed around here, more than the website’s tour.”

Her bet would be correct. He grimaced. Time to change the subject. “When I’m done at the office we can pop down to High Street and find a coat for you.”

“Do you mean coat coat or coat as in a pot holder?”

“A coat’s a coat, Daisy.”

“Sure it is.” She winked at him, buoying his general outlook for the day.

He looked forward to spending time with her, all day, every day she was here. Time was fleeting, only two weeks here and then… He didn’t know what exactly. Go back to Holland Springs with her or stay here, without her?

His phone vibrated in his pocket. Pulling it out, he glanced at it. Liam. Something had to be wrong. “I need to take this. Do you mind?”

“Go right ahead and bully all the world leaders you want, but can you start with the guy in North Korea, first?”

“I’ll get right on that,” he said, answering the call and walking a few feet away. “What’s the problem?”

“Seems those pesky pictures of your brother and his night of revelry have resurfaced, this time with irrefutable proof it’s him and not you,” Liam said. “Someone posted the YouTube video of you speaking at Drayton’s Charity event on the night in question.”

Son of a bitch. Christian had finally made headway with his reputation, with everything he’d worked so hard for, and had been forgiven by those who had accused him of remaining the cocked-up, playboy who only cared about himself. “I’ll have James issue another statement—”

“Do you really think the Board need be reminded of this incident?”

Jesus Christ, could his situation get any worse? No good deed ever went unpunished. “Of course I don’t, but hanging my brother out to dry isn’t an option.”

Liam let out a harsh breath. “Figure out what’s more important to you—Romanov Industries or your family.”

His family? “Which side—my mother’s, who loathes my very sight, or my father’s, who given the choice between murdering me or inviting me to dinner, would choose blowing my f**king head off every time?” All because he’d cut ties with them. Bloody Russian Mafia.

“Your call, mate,” Liam said calmly. He hadn’t become Vice President of Romanov Industries by staying in the dark, no matter how embarrassing it was for Sebastian’s best mate to learn all his family’s dark sins.

“I’ll let you know.” He ended their call, jaw clenching. There was nothing he’d like more to do than smash his damn phone against the wall, or go a few rounds with Ivan.

“Your driver’s here, Sebastian,” Daisy said, placing a hand on his arm. Concern was plainly written on her face. “What do you want to do?”

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