It Happened One Wedding Page 21

“I’ll play nice,” Vaughn assured him. Because of his job, he was a pro at masking his thoughts. Certainly he could act civil toward Sidney for the next thirty-six hours, even if she was a termagant. With great legs.

“Good.” Simon pointed, as if having just thought about something. “But not too nice.”

“You know, you’re getting to be kind of a pain in the ass with all these rules. You ever hear the term ‘groomzilla’?”

Simon let out a bark of laughter at that. “There’s no such thing.”

Vaughn gave him a look that said the jury was still out on that one.

 • • •

“IZZ, ARE YOU seeing this? We’ve got cows. And look—there’s an actual farmhouse.” Sidney peered through the windshield. “It’s like we’ve stepped into a John Cougar Mellencamp song.”

Sidney Sinclair had indeed gone country.

Isabelle, however, did not appear to be enjoying this slice of Americana quite as much. “Why do cows have to smell like cows?” she groaned.

Sidney glanced over. “So roll up your window if the smell is bothering you.”

“I need the air or I’ll throw up. Do you want me to throw up? Do you? Because I’ll hurl all over this car, right now.”

This had been how Sidney’s last three hours had gone—trapped in a leather-interior hellhole with the crazy pregnant lady. She hoped the menfolk were having a nice, relaxing road trip in that souped-up man car they were riding in because as soon as they got to the Robertses’ house, she was pawning the woman formerly known as her sister onto the dude whose sperm had apparently turned her into a she-devil. “I’ll tell you what—let’s save the Exorcist-like spewing for the ride back. We can’t use up all the fun car games on the first day.”

Isabelle threw her arm over her eyes, groaning again. “Don’t make me laugh. My stomach hurts too much. Are we almost there yet?”

As if Sidney had any clue where they were going. She followed dutifully behind Vaughn’s car, past the farm and open fields, until they turned off the two-lane highway onto an access road marked “Apple Canyon.” There, the scenery became more heavily wooded, and the streets no longer were marked. Sidney saw a yellow hazard sign for deer crossing, and the city girl in her immediately slowed and gripped the steering wheel tight with two hands—images of Bambi leaping tragically to a death-by-Mercedes flashing across her eyes. Then they came around a hill, and her eyes widened at the scenery before her.

They entered a gorgeous valley, with rolling green hills on both sides, and drove over a bridge that crossed a winding, picturesque creek. There were a few houses scattered along the valley, but they kept going, up another hill and past a waterfall. “Izz, sit up. Check out the waterfall.”

“Just tell me that means we’re close and I can get out of this damn car.”

Ah, her sweet sister, soaking in every moment of the journey. They drove for a few more minutes, then Vaughn’s car slowed considerably and turned onto a one-lane gravel road. Rocks flew up, hitting the underside of the Mercedes in a staccato burst of pings and clangs. They drove into a small subdivision of nine or ten houses, spaced apart by at least an acre or more of land. Sidney followed as Vaughn pulled into the driveway of a white ranch house with a welcoming front porch and a pretty, multihued cottage garden.

Sidney parked the car and turned to her sister. “Ready for this?”

Isabelle, who looked a little better now that the car had stopped, took several deep breaths. Then she nodded and even managed a smile. “Let’s do it.” She opened the door just as Simon walked up, and he helped her out of the car. Hand-in-hand, they walked up the cobblestone walkway to the house.

Vaughn walked over to Sidney’s side of the car, looking inconveniently sexy in his dark sunglasses and day-old scruff, gray T-shirt, and jeans.

“Guess that leaves you and me,” he said as she climbed out of the car.

Great, she thought sarcastically. But then her heel slipped on the gravel driveway, and Vaughn instantly put his hand on her waist to steady her. Sidney felt a quick flare of heat in her stomach.

Oh, brother.

Hi, Hormones. This guy? Yeah, that’s still a no.

“Thanks,” she said.

He peered down at her through his sunglasses. “You might want to lose the heels for the weekend, city girl. That is, unless you’re trying to get my hands on you.” With a cocky smile, he turned and headed toward the front door, all broad shoulders and lean muscles in his jeans and T-shirt.

Sidney glared at his back as she followed him up the cobblestone pathway.

It was going to be a long two days.

Ahead of her, a petite, sixtysomething woman with dark hair was greeting Isabelle with a warm hug. Seeing Sidney approach, Kathleen Roberts pulled back from Isabelle and smiled. Her hazel eyes were Vaughn’s, and her voice carried a hint of an Irish brogue. “And this must be Sidney.”

Sidney held out her hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Roberts. Thank you for having us here.”

“Of course!” She waved them all vigorously into the house. “Come inside, you must be starving after the drive.” She paused in the doorway, two disapproving eyes falling on Vaughn.

He held up his hands. “I just got here. How can I be in trouble already?”

She pointed to his dark, stubbled jaw. “They don’t have razors anywhere in the city of Chicago?”

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