No, the surprise had been the call thirty-six hours previously when their travel agent had dialed his mobile by mistake. Ever the survivor, Gideon had thought quickly. He’d mentioned that he’d like to surprise his wife by joining her and within seconds, Gideon had had all the details of Adara’s clandestine trip.
Well, not all. He didn’t know whom she was here to see or how she’d met her mystery man. Why was she doing this when he gave her everything she asked for?
He watched Adara’s slender neck bow in disappointment. Ha. The bastard wasn’t home. Grimly satisfied, Gideon folded his arms and waited for his wife.
* * *
Adara averted her gaze from the end of the driveway where the sun was glancing off her rented car and piercing straight into her eyes.
The grounds of this estate were an infinitely more beautiful place to look anyway. Groomed lawn gently rolled into vineyards, and a white sand beach gleamed below. The dew was off the grass, the air moving hotly up from the water with a tang of salt on it. Everything was brilliant and elevating.
Perhaps that was just her frame of mind, but it was a refreshing change from depression and anxiety and rejection. She paused to savor the first optimistic moment she’d had in weeks. Looking out on the horizon where Mediterranean blue met cloudless sky, she sighed
in contentment. She hadn’t felt so relaxed since... Since ever. Early childhood maybe. Very early childhood.
And it wouldn’t last. A sick ache opened in her belly as she remembered Gideon. And his PA.
Not yet, she reminded herself. This week was hers. She was stealing it for herself and her brother. If he returned. The gardener had said a few days, but Adara’s research had put Nico on this island all week, so he obviously changed his schedule rapidly. Hopefully he’d return as suddenly as he’d left.
Just call him, she cajoled herself, but after this many years she wasn’t sure he’d know who she was or want to hear from her. He’d never picked up the telephone himself. If he refused to speak to her, well, a throb of hurt pulsed in her throat as she contemplated that. She swallowed it back. She just wanted to see him, look into his eyes and learn why he’d never come home or spoken to her or her younger brothers again.
Another cleansing breath, but this one a little more troubled as she turned toward her car again. She was crestfallen Nico wasn’t here, not that she’d meant to come like this to his house, first thing on arrival, but her room at the hotel hadn’t been ready. On impulse she’d decided to at least find the estate, and then the gates had been open and she’d been drawn in. Now she had to
“Lover boy not home?”
The familiar male voice stopped her heart and jerked her gaze up from the chevron pattern in the cobblestones to the magnificence that was her husband. Swift, fierce attraction sliced through her, sharp and disarming as always.
Not a day passed that she didn’t wonder how she’d landed such a smoking-hot man. He was shamelessly handsome, his features even and just hard enough to be undeniably masculine. He rarely smiled, but he didn’t have to charm when his sophistication and intelligence commanded such respect. The sheer physical presence of him quieted a room. She always thought of him as a purebred stallion, outwardly still and disciplined, but with an invisible energy and power that warned he could explode any second.
Don’t overlook resourceful, she thought acridly. How else had he turned up half a world from where she’d thought he would be, when she’d taken pains to keep her whereabouts strictly confidential?
Fortunately, Adara had a lot of experience hiding visceral reactions like instant animal attraction and guilty alarm. She kept her sunglasses on and willed her pulse to slow, keeping her limbs loose and her body language unreadable.