It Happened One Wedding Page 25

“Talking about Isabelle again.”


Vaughn tore his eyes away from the saucy auburn-haired woman who was here, in his parents’ house, winning them over with her smiles and making them laugh with her self-deprecating, I-thought-it-was-a-self-defense-course jokes. It was a good thing she was heading to the hotel for a few hours, because he needed a break—a break from those legs, and the blue-green eyes, and the flirty wrap dress that tied at her waist, and could easily be undone with one sharp tug.

He was thinking things again.

A few minutes later, the four of them were finally on their way, with Sidney’s car once again following behind him. Vaughn took the shortest route to town, a twenty-minute drive along hilly, winding roads.

They pulled into the driveway of Carter Mansion, a Victorian-style bed-and-breakfast where the Sinclair sisters would be spending the night. As soon as Sidney’s car rolled to a stop behind the pickup truck, Isabelle scrambled out and hurried up the front steps of the inn, not bothering to wait for the rest of them.

“I guess she’s eager to check in,” Simon said, with an attempt at a casual laugh. Then he climbed out of the pickup, grabbed Isabelle’s suitcase from the trunk of the Mercedes, and quickly followed his fiancée inside.

And then there were two.

Vaughn exited the truck and walked around to Sidney’s car. He found her standing next to the sedan’s open trunk, taking in the picturesque town before them—a quaint cobblestone street flanked by brightly colored historical buildings.

“So this is ‘town.’” She cocked her head, as if surprised. “It’s so cute and charming.” She turned and raised an eyebrow. “You really grew up here?”

Ha, ha. “What were you expecting? A tavern, a gas station, and some diner named Flo’s, advertising the $5.99 meatloaf special?”

“Of course not.”

He gave her an unwavering I-can-wait-for-the-truth-all-day FBI stare.

She rolled her eyes. “Fine. Maybe that’s something along the lines of what I’d pictured.”

Satisfied with the admission, Vaughn reached for the handle of her suitcase. He grunted as he lifted it out of the trunk. “Christ, what did you pack in here?”

“An espresso machine. There’s no Starbucks for miles, so I had to improvise.”

He was about to respond—You’ve got to be kidding me—when he caught the sparkle of amusement in her eyes and realized she was messing with him. “Cute. What’s really in the suitcase?”

She grabbed her laptop bag and threw the strap over her shoulder. “Bridal magazines for Isabelle. Lots of them.” She shut the trunk of her car and they began walking up the driveway to the mansion.

“Ah. You mean the ones filled with articles like, ‘How to Dazzle Your Guests with Ridiculously Overpriced Centerpieces,’ and ‘Where to Register for Obnoxiously Expensive China You’ll Never Use’?”

“And here I thought I was snarky.”

“Come on. You have to admit, the whole thing is a racket,” he said. “The wedding industry preys on stressed-out brides, convincing them that they have to spend crazy amounts of money to create some romanticized idea of the perfect day.”

“And when you’re forty-five, and your twenty-four-year-old fiancée wants to create wonderful memories that you two will remember for the rest of your life, I’m sure that’s the exact speech you’ll use to rein her in,” Sidney quipped, not missing a beat.

Ooh, she sounded irritated with him again. Vaughn turned around, walking backward so he could face her. Strangely, seeing her aggravated expression made him grin—and want to goad her on even more. “I like this scenario. Tell me more about this twenty-four-year-old wife of mine. Is she hot? Smoking body?”

Sidney smiled sweetly. “Remember that thing you said to me at the coffee shop? That we could meet the next day, so you could surprise me by not turning out to be the ass I thought you might be? I think we’ve officially established that you would not have been successful in that endeavor.”

He stopped at the base of the steps. “But I haven’t shown you my best moves.”

“Honey, I already know your best moves,” she said, tilting her head back to meet his gaze. “And five years ago, I might’ve been tempted. But now I’m looking for more . . . serious contenders.”

Personally, he thought it wouldn’t kill her to have a little fun—she had her whole life to be bored by serious contenders. “That’s the second time you called me ‘honey.’ I can’t decide if I like it or if I’m starting to feel objectified,” he teased.

She sighed. “I seriously don’t think I can walk down an aisle with you.”

His voice dipped lower, a slow drawl. “Careful, Sinclair. Those are very heady words to a guy like me.”

She left him standing there, by himself, at the base of the steps.

With a grin, he turned and watched her go. Yep, still cantankerous.

But that didn’t mean he couldn’t enjoy the view from behind.

Vaughn followed her to the inn’s front door, catching sight of the placard that said the mansion had been built in 1849. Stepping inside, he saw that careful attention had been paid to preserve the historical character of the house. To his left was a parlor with a wood-burning fireplace and antique furnishings. Across the foyer was a living room with a small reception area.

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