It Happened One Wedding Page 46

Sidney parked the car in the hospital garage, thinking she should probably erase all traces of her suspiciously glowing I-just-got-laid grin before she got to her sister’s room. She didn’t normally keep secrets from her sister, but obviously, this was different. It would be awkward for all of them if Simon and Isabelle knew that she and Vaughn had slept together—especially when neither she nor Vaughn planned to take things any further than that.

Just act normal, she told herself as she exited the elevator at Isabelle’s floor. Like nothing happened. As far as her sister and Simon were concerned, Vaughn had driven her home from the hospital last night, and then they’d gone their separate ways. That was her cover story, and she, being the confident woman she was, would have no problem sticking to—

She stopped in her tracks just outside Isabelle’s room, hearing a familiar low masculine voice with that distinctive sexy, gritty edge.

Shit—Vaughn.

Sidney was grateful that the drawn privacy curtain prevented everyone from knowing she was there. She needed a little space from Vaughn right then, especially while the hot memories of the things they’d done were so fresh in her mind. She turned to go, thinking she would run a few errands on Michigan Avenue and come back in an hour or so. But then she caught a snippet of Vaughn’s conversation with Isabelle and Simon.

“I’d been thinking,” Vaughn was saying, “given all you two have on your plate, that maybe there are some things I could do to help out with this wedding.”

Dead silence followed.

“You know, you all can stop staring at me like my eyebrows fell off for throwing out the suggestion,” Vaughn said dryly.

Out in the hallway, Sidney fought back a grin as Simon and Isabelle laughed.

Vaughn continued. “Look, I know I might not be the first person everyone thinks of when it comes to weddings. But I would very much like to be a part of this particular wedding.”

Out in the hallway, Sidney couldn’t help but smile.

Well. That was actually kind of sweet.

“We’d like that a lot, Vaughn. Thank you,” Simon said. There was the sound of some hearty man-type backslaps—aw, the Roberts brothers were hugging—and then Isabelle spoke.

“Actually, if you’re interested, we have our tasting at the Lakeshore Club scheduled for next Sunday, so we can finalize the menu for the reception,” she said. “They said we could bring two guests, so we plan to invite Sidney. Maybe you’d want to come, too?”

“I’d like that,” Vaughn said.

Sidney stepped away from the doorway as they finished their conversation. While walking back to the elevator, she thought about Isabelle’s remark.

Our tasting at the Lakeshore Club . . . We plan to invite Sidney.

The last contact she’d had with anyone at the Lakeshore Club had been seven months ago, when Douglas, the club’s events manager, had regretfully informed her that he couldn’t refund any of the deposit she’d paid for the wedding, given how close to the date she and Brody had canceled. And now, on Sunday, she would return no longer as the bride-to-be, but as the dutiful maid of honor and the bride-who-never-was.

She was bracing herself for a lot of damn head-tilts.

Eighteen

VAUGHN PULLED HIS car up to the ornate wrought-iron gates at the end of the Lakeshore Club’s private driveway and gave his name to the security guard. “Vaughn Roberts. I’m here for a tasting for the Roberts-Sinclair wedding.”

The guard consulted his guest list and nodded. “You’ll be in the reception hall. Follow the driveway until you get to the end. It’s the white building with columns overlooking the lake.”

Vaughn thanked the guard and proceeded onto the club’s grounds. He passed by tennis courts, an indoor and outdoor pool, an indoor ice-skating rink, and a picturesque nine-hole golf course before arriving at his destination: a stately white Georgian-style mansion.

Nice digs.

When he pulled into the lot for the reception hall, he spotted Sidney’s black Mercedes. It had been a week since he’d seen her, both of them keeping their distance after their hot night together—as was expected. In order to avoid emotional entanglements, he had a strict rule against seeing the same woman twice in one week.

Technically, as of 7:35 this morning, he was free and clear of that rule as far as Sidney Sinclair was concerned. Not that he was anticipating anything, he’d just . . . made a mental note of that fact.

He followed the walkway to the open front doors of the mansion. He stepped inside and took in the lobby’s elegant crystal chandelier and wide, grand curving staircase. The doors to his left led to a large ballroom, presumably where the reception would take place.

Vaughn walked into the oak-paneled ballroom and saw French doors that led out onto a terrace. He stepped outside and took in the sight of the sparkling blue water of Lake Michigan that stretched before him. He smiled slightly, having a proud big brother moment, as he thought about Simon dancing with Isabelle out here, or his parents, who he was pretty sure had never attended a wedding anywhere this upscale before.

The Robertses of Apple Canyon, Wisconsin, had indeed arrived.

“You must be Simon’s brother.”

Hearing the voice, Vaughn turned to face the neatly dressed fortysomething man who stepped out onto the terrace. “Guilty as charged. Vaughn Roberts.” He extended his hand in introduction.

The other man, who wore a crisp linen summer suit and blue shirt, smiled as they shook hands. “Douglas Slater, events manager for the Lakeshore Club. Isabelle called just a minute ago, saying that she and Simon got held up at their appointment with the florist earlier this afternoon. She said they would be a few minutes late. I saw you out here and thought I’d see if I could get you something to drink while you wait.”

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