Blush Duo - Marriage Under the Mistletoe & The Christmas Inn

Blush Duo - Marriage Under the Mistletoe & The Christmas Inn by Helen Lacey, Stella Maclean

Book: Blush Duo - Marriage Under the Mistletoe & The Christmas Inn by Helen Lacey, Stella Maclean Read Free Book Online
Authors: Helen Lacey, Stella Maclean
to a glass of wine from the bar and mingled for a while.
    It didn’t take her long to head for the games room on the other side of the patio. The pool game was in full swing and she found a spot near the door to observe the players. Only, the moment Evie saw Scott leaning against a wall with a pool cue in his hand while he waited for his turn to shoot, he was all she noticed. The room was noisy, but she didn’t hear any of it. It was as if the crowd parted of its own will, urging her to make eye contact with him. He looked back, tilted his head fractionally and almost smiled. Almost, because he stopped himself, she was sure of it. It gave her a strange feeling in her chest and she turned away after a few moments, grateful she was by the door for a quick escape.
    Evie headed for the pool area. She could be alone there. She could think. She made her way through the gate and closed it securely behind herself. The terraced area behind the pool was usually reserved as a dance floor when her parents had parties, but thankfully it looked as though there would be no dancing tonight. She sat on one of the bench seats and placed her drink on the timber decking.
    She heard the gate click and knew she had company. Without even seeing him she felt Scott’s presence as if it pulsed through her. He didn’t sit at first. He stood about six feet from her, cradling what looked to be an untouched beer in one hand. The underwater lights created an inviting mood.
    “Did you abandon your game?” she asked, not as steadily as she would have liked.
    He shrugged and sat down beside her, stretching out his long legs. “I’ll let your brother and your policeman friend fight over who’s the reigning alpha male in the group. I beat them twice and figured that was enough.”
    “Callie said you want to leave Dunn Inn?” she asked, figuring there was little point in avoiding the topic.
    “I’m considering it.”
    Evie’s belly dipped in an all-too-familiar way. He had the most mesmerizing effect on her. She breathed a soft “Why?” and waited for his reply.
    Scott felt her looking at him, felt those incredible green eyes waiting for a response. “You know why.”
    She didn’t say anything for a moment, and when she replied he thought she sounded a little breathless. “Because we’re...because...”
    “Because being around you makes it difficult not being with you.”
    He heard her breath catch in her throat. “Oh...well...even if that’s the case, I’d still like you to stay. You know, to avoid any questions from the family.”
    Scott knew that. He’d known it even before the words left her beautiful mouth.
    “Callie told me about your friend who died.”
    Did she, now? “Callie shouldn’t have said anything to you.”
    “Don’t be mad at her. She’s concerned about you.”
    “I’m fine,” he said, feeling the furthest thing from fine. “It was months ago.”
    “Why was there an inquest into his death?”
    Callie had been busy. “Because he died on the job,” Scott replied, feeling the words like they were glass in his mouth. “It’s standard practice.”
    “Were you involved?”
    It was the kind of question Scott would normally have fielded with an effective none of your damned business. But he couldn’t say that to Evie. “I was there,” he admitted. “We’d been called out to a house fire in Orange County. We knew it was gonna be bad because the smoke was thick and black. When we got there the place was well alight.”
    He stopped speaking and she half turned. “What happened?” she prompted.
    Scott filled his lungs with air. “Mike was working an extra shift. Looking back, I knew he was tired, knew he should’ve gone home. But he had a family, a mortgage he was trying to stay on top of. When we found out what street the fire was on, I could see him getting agitated. He kept saying, “No way, no way.” I didn’t get what he meant at first and he didn’t tell me. We were the second squad to get there.

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