Wife for a Week(55)

By: Kelly Hunter

Ah. It was slightly disconcerting just how well Nick knew her.

‘Then, when I was just about to tell you, I got distracted.’

‘By what?’

‘You don’t remember?’ He sighed heavily but his eyes gleamed with lazy satisfaction. ‘How soon a wife forgets.’

Hallie did remember. And blushed at the memory of their fiery lovemaking. ‘After that.’

‘After that my brain had turned to mush,’ said Nick and it was Hallie’s turn to sigh. It was almost impossible to stay angry with Nick when he was being charming, which was most of the time, but she didn’t want to set a precedent.

‘We’re partners,’ she said firmly. ‘I expect you to share these little details with me.’

‘Ah.’ It was a very uncomfortable sounding ‘Ah’. ‘There’s something else I should probably mention before we go through customs and out into the arrivals terminal,’ said Nick.

She stopped, mid-stride, and eyed him narrowly. Nick’s mouth twitched as he pulled her into his arms and his mouth descended on hers, regardless of the people streaming past them. By the time the kiss ended, she was dazed, aroused and doubtless dishevelled, but she wasn’t distracted. ‘You were saying?’ she said smoothly.

‘Clea’s meeting us here.’

‘So?’ To Hallie’s way of thinking that was hardly a problem. ‘I like your mother.’

‘So do I,’ said Nick. ‘It’s just one of those details I thought might be worth sharing.’ Then they tackled customs and stepped through the final set of doors and out into the arrivals area.

‘There she is,’ said Nick, and there she was, a vision splendid in magenta and lime chiffon with a leopard-print handbag that matched her shoes.

‘I knew it!’ said Clea when they reached her. ‘I knew you’d be perfect together. Mothers can sense these things.’

Hallie snickered as Nick suffered his mother’s enthusiastic embrace and then she too found herself enveloped in a fragrant cloud of Clea.

‘You are going to marry him, aren’t you, dear? Let me look at you. There, of course you are!’

‘Did you tell her?’ muttered Nick. ‘I didn’t tell her.’

‘Apparently mothers can sense these things,’ said Hallie.

‘Wait until you have children of your own. You’ll see,’ said Clea. ‘Oh, you’re going to give me such beautiful grandchildren!’

But Hallie didn’t appear to be listening. She was looking past Clea, her startled gaze fixed on a dark-haired man leaning against a column some distance away. He was big and lean and all muscle, his hair was shaggy, and he was looking their way, his focus absolute. Nick watched with fatalistic calm as the man dislodged himself from the column to stand and glare at him with amber eyes as fierce and untamed as a mountain cat.

‘I think you’re about to meet Tristan,’ said Hallie.

He’d figured as much. ‘He looks a mite put out. Did you leave him a note?’

‘Right there beneath the toaster. I swear.’

‘I see.’

Tristan had finished taking his measure and was now staring at the hastily re-wrapped funeral vase tucked beneath Nick’s arm, his expression grim.

‘He knows about the vase,’ she muttered.

‘That’s Interpol for you.’

‘You’re not taking this seriously enough, Nick.’

‘Trust me, I am.’

From what Hallie had told him, her brothers were protective of her. And regardless of him wanting to marry her now, there was no denying he’d carted her off to Hong Kong under false pretences, had his wicked way with her, and allowed her to waltz, practically unprotected, into the lair of the local warlord.

Tristan started towards them.

‘You’re going to run, aren’t you?’ said Hallie morosely. ‘They always run.’

‘Absolutely not,’ he said, tearing his gaze away from her brother to send her a reassuring smile, and then Tristan reached them, nodding politely enough to Clea before shooting his sister a wrathful, baffled glare that Nick could identify with. Then it was his turn to meet that flat, golden gaze.

‘So…’ Tristan let the word trail off ominously. ‘How was the trip?’

‘Stop that!’ Hallie stepped forward to stand protectively in front of him, hands on her hips, eyes flashing. ‘You be nice to him!’

Tris’s gaze cut to his sister, to the wedding rings already on her finger, and Nick saw a familiar wilfulness there along with no small measure of love. ‘Why?’

‘Because he’s mine, that’s why! Because I love him and I’m going to marry him and we’re going to have beautiful babies together, so back off!’