It Happened One Wedding Page 57

She rested her hand in her chin, and smiled genuinely at him. “That may be the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me, Vaughn Roberts.”

She waited for him to make a joke or say something dry or sarcastic, but instead he just looked at her with the strangest expression. “What?”

He blinked. “Uh, nothing.” Immediately, whatever that look had been, it was gone.

“So I’m dy***ite in bed, huh?” Sidney preened a little, hearing that—especially coming from such an expert. After Brody had cheated, there’d been a small part of her that had wondered if perhaps she hadn’t been sexy enough compared to his twenty-four-year-old lover.

Vaughn looked her over, his eyes suddenly a warm dark green-gold. “Baby, you are as fiery as that tiny landing strip of red hair between your—”

“Okay, got the picture. Thank you.” She took a sip of ice water, then set down her glass. “Stop looking at me like that. I know what you’re thinking.”

There was that devilish smile. “What am I thinking?”

“That I’m going to sleep with you again because I’m feeling dejected about men and you”—she took in his broad shoulders, lean muscles, and ruggedly handsome face—“are a pleasant enough distraction.”

“Pleasant enough distraction?” He gave her a get-real look. “And for the record, you’re wrong. I couldn’t sleep with you today even if I am thinking about it. I have a seven-day rule.”

“What’s a seven-day rule?”

“I don’t have sex with the same woman twice in one week. That starts to get too couple-y.” He saw her roll her eyes. “Oh, you can have a checklist with thirty-four items, and I can’t have one rule?”

Touché.

 • • •

THEY PARTED WAYS on the sidewalk outside the restaurant.

“You’re heading back to the office, then?” Vaughn asked.

She nodded. “As much as I would love to play hooky on a Friday afternoon like this, I need to get back. I’m trying to steal a CEO away from PetSmart.”

“If I had a dime every time a woman used that old excuse to ditch me.”

She smiled. “So tomorrow’s the big day, huh?” she said, referring to Simon’s bachelor party.

“Yep. For you, as well. Do you have some crazy girl’s night out planned for the bachelorette party?”

“Maybe,” she said, being cryptic.

Vaughn thought about Sidney being out on the town, drinking, wearing another one of her sexy dresses, getting wild with the rest of the girls, and probably flirting with guys. He felt a stab of something oddly possessive—which he quickly brushed aside. Sure, perhaps he felt a little protective toward her. That was only natural; they’d gotten close over the last few weeks. In fact, the stuff he’d told her about the dark phase he’d gone through after working on the child victims squad was something he almost never spoke about. He liked talking to her, and hanging out with her, and he sure as hell enjoyed sleeping with her. But that was all it was—they were just having fun together. They wanted completely opposite things, and they both knew that.

“Just don’t do anything tomorrow night that I wouldn’t do,” he told her.

“Well, that doesn’t eliminate much, does it?” She winked and turned confidently on her heel, long auburn swinging.

Probably he should’ve phrased that a different way.

Twenty-two

FIFTEEN WOMEN, INCLUDING Isabelle, let out a collective cheer when the waiter arrived at their table carrying a tray of lemon drop shots.

He served Isabelle first, setting one of the shot glasses in front of her. “For the bride-to-be.”

Isabelle took a tiny sip and her eyes widened. “Wow, that’s strong.”

When the other women had been served their glasses, Amanda, who’d bought the round, raised hers in toast. “To Isabelle and her romantic whirlwind courtship with Simon. I think I speak for everyone at this table when I say . . . girl, I thought for sure you were pregnant.”

The group burst into laughter.

Isabelle lifted her glass. “Bottom’s up to that.” She polished off the shot in one gulp. While everyone else was drinking, she winked at Sidney, who sat at the opposite end of the table.

Unbeknownst to all, Sidney had promised their waiter an extra twenty percent in gratuity if he served Isabelle virgin versions of whatever drinks everyone ordered for her. The plan had similarly worked like a charm earlier that evening at RPM Italian, where they’d had dinner. By now, Isabelle had drunk two virgin cosmopolitans, a virgin French martini, and three nonalcoholic lemon drop shots, and likely was flying high on a sugar rush from all the cranberry, lemon, and pineapple juice.

Sidney shared a conspiratorial smile with her sister, and was struck by a sudden bout of nostalgia. To cover, she looked out at the striking view to her right. They had a VIP table on the terrace of theWit Hotel’s rooftop lounge, which, at twenty-seven stories up, looked out over the city’s impressive nighttime skyline.

She’d wanted to go all out for this bachelorette party because she knew that Isabelle had been stressed with the wedding planning and because things likely weren’t going to get any less busy for her sister anytime soon. After the wedding, Isabelle would move into baby-prep mode, and five months later she would be a mom. Thus, in some ways, this bachelorette party felt like a final hurrah to the old days, the many years when it was basically just the two of them, the Sinclair sisters.

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