I LOVE LUCY (The Bachelor Pact) (2 page)

BOOK: I LOVE LUCY (The Bachelor Pact)
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She’d have to come up with an excuse to leave town. She couldn’t tell Reid the truth or it might put him in danger.

And lordy, lordy, she didn’t want him to think she’d encouraged the creep or attracted trouble.

The shower water kicked on, stirring wicked thoughts in Reid’s mind, and he slipped from bed, anxious to join Lucy.

But the bathroom door was locked.

Frowning, he paced to the window and looked out. Last night they’d shared a romantic picnic on the riverbank, then raced back in the rain and made love for hours.

He didn’t want the night to end. And today was Sunday…

Sunday usually meant a lazy day reading the paper. He jerked on his jeans and went to retrieve it. Maybe he could talk Lucy back into bed and they could read it together.

The delivery boy had tossed it into the bushes, so he grabbed it and headed back into the kitchen to make coffee. Before he could brew a pot though, the bathroom door opened, and Lucy flitted out in her silky robe. He spied her from the kitchen and rushed to tell her his plan. They’d read the paper together, then he’d serve her breakfast in bed, those croissants she liked with apple butter, and yogurt. And maybe he’d spread a little strawberry jam on her and lick it off…

“Hey, sexy.” He dropped the paper on the chaise in the corner, then reached for her.

But Lucy sidestepped him then disappeared into the closet. “Sorry, Reid, but I have to go.”

His fantasies wilted. “Go where?”

Lucy yanked out a white t-shirt emblazoned with sparkly angel wings and a pair of jeans then started dressing. “That was my agent. He landed me an audition for a new show they’re filming in L.A., and I need to catch a plane.”
Just what did this agent guy look like? “This morning?”

She dragged out her suitcase and began to pile clothes in it. “Yes, it’s last minute, but a great opportunity. One of those scandalous nighttime soap shows. “And,” she added with exuberance, “they already have a big male star signed on.”

Just what he wanted to hear.

But he’d be a selfish pig if he asked her not to go because of him.

Hell, if she got the gig, maybe he could find a project for himself out in L.A.

A moment of insecurity struck him. Of course, Lucy might not want him to follow her.

Especially with this big male star she’d be working with around.

“When will you be back?” He frowned as she piled outfit after outfit into the bag. She was taking a lot of clothes. And why did she need those red thongs if he wasn’t going with her?

“I don’t know,” Lucy said as she filled a cosmetic bag with enough assorted lotions and creams to last a month. “It might be a few days. Maybe a week or two.”

He glanced at her countdown calendar. “But what about Christmas?”

“Christmas?” Lucy tried to fasten her suitcase, but it was so full the zipper wouldn’t budge. She plopped down on it, using her weight to close it. “I can’t think about the holidays now, Reid. This part is to die for.”

So a part in a show was more important than family and him.

She stuffed his shirt in his hands. “Honestly. Reid. Put on some clothes.”
“Not even a quickie before you go?”

She gave his chest the evil eye. “No. I…don’t want to miss my flight.”

So much for all those crunches he’d done to tone his abs.

Irritated, Reid dragged the shirt on, confused by the change in her demeanor. Lucy was always peppy, fun, up for a good time.

“Don’t worry, you’ll get there in time. I’ll drive you to the airport.”

Lucy’s eyes flared with something akin to panic. “No, Reid. I’d rather drive myself.”

“Why?” He grabbed his belt. “If I drop you off, you won’t have to pay for parking.”

Lucy shook her head. “No. This way my car will be at the airport when I return.”

At least she was planning to return.

She took his arm and pushed him to the door. “Last night was fun. But please leave. I don’t need you distracting me.”

He pulled her against him and nibbled at her ear. “You didn’t mind me distracting you last night.”

Lucy whirled away from him, her pretty lips pinched into a scowl.

“Maybe not, but right now I do.” She opened the door and shoved him through it. “I’ve been waiting for this call for months. I can’t let anything stand in my way.”

Especially him?

Reid started to kiss her again and wish her good luck, but she didn’t give him a chance.

She slammed the door in his face.

He stood on the doorstep, bewildered and hurt. Last night they’d whispered words of love while he’d brought her to ecstasy.

This morning he was standing in her way?

Hell, he’d been brushed off before, but never this abruptly. He didn’t even know what he’d done wrong.

Maybe she was just looking for fun like you usually do
.

And now she had a career break, she was moving on.

He stumbled toward his SUV.

If she landed this part, did that mean it was over between them?

Chapter Two

 

 

Lucy swiped at tears as she watched Reid drive away. Dad blast it, it had been all she could do not to jump his bones again. Looking at that naked, sexy chest had almost made her cave.

That stupid Emmet Roach.

It wasn’t fair that she had to leave the people she cared about because he was a lunatic.

But she would do it if it meant protecting Reid and Sophie. After all, Emmet had been a twittering, nervous, pimple-faced menace before he went to prison. Being locked up probably hadn’t changed him for the better.

He might even want revenge against her for having him arrested.

She rushed back to her bedroom, grabbed her bags, and hauled them to her car. A minute later, she hurried back inside, then glanced at her shoe collection and felt a stab of remorse that she had to leave her stilettos and Jimmy Choos behind.

She hadn’t packed her sexy lingerie either although she had thrown in those red thongs.

Well, it
was
Christmas and even if no one saw them, she could fantasize about wearing them for Reid on Christmas day.

Tears clogged her throat, but she swallowed back a sob. No use blubbering like a baby.

She didn’t have time to cry or dwell on what she was missing or the fact that the people she loved might not even miss her.

They
would
miss her, wouldn’t they?

Outside, dark clouds gathered, indicating a storm on the way, so she ran back in the apartment for her purse. But the picture of her and Reid at Sophie’s wedding mocked her from the end table, and she snatched it up.

Panicked at the idea that Emmet might find her apartment, break in and scour through her things for clues to find her, she made a mad dash through every room, gathering all her personal photos, address book, mail, her ipad, and the newspaper article featuring Reid and Lance’s business and the housing development on Skidaway Island they’d just finished.

She stuffed them all in a tote bag and carried them to her car. She couldn’t leave a trail behind for Emmet to follow.

Thunder rumbled as she drove to the square to meet Wallace Bannister, the federal marshal. He was near fifty and had been as close to a father figure as she’d ever had, giving her a shoulder to cry on during the entire Emmet ordeal.

She parked, then followed the sidewalk. Wallace was sitting on a park bench with a newspaper in his lap sipping a cup of coffee, looking very much the casual tourist in his jeans, polo shirt and lightweight jacket. He rubbed a finger across his mustache as she drew near, their signal that it was clear to talk, so she slid onto the bench beside him.

She felt like some spy in a low budget movie that she didn’t want to star in.

“Any word on Emmet?” she asked, hoping by some miraculous means the police had caught him and she could keep her holiday plans.

“Afraid not,” Wallace said. “But we will get him, Lucy. I promise.”

Lucy nodded. She’d been down this road before. There was no telling how long it might take. “So, what’s the plan?”

Wallace scanned the area as a young couple pushing a stroller passed. Another man, maybe thirties, wearing a suit paused to smile at Lucy.

She averted her gaze, her nerves spiking. What if Emmet had hired a private investigator to find her? He might have already tracked her down.

She had to get out of town fast.

Wallace waited until the suited man disappeared into the café across the street, then slipped a Manila envelope from inside his jacket. “There’s a new ID in here, some cash and a credit card in your new name, along with directions to the place you’ll be staying.”

Lucy removed the ID and glanced at it. Taylor Overby. Not a bad name. She would have chosen something like Jasmine, but then again that might sound like a stage name and Wallace was careful about his selection. Actually she was surprised he hadn’t chosen Smith or Jones.

“Your new wheels are waiting at the Savannah Airport. A beige Buick.”

Lucy raised a brow.

“It’s about as nondescript as we could find on short notice.”

“And absolutely a car I’d never drive,” Lucy said, thinking about her lipstick red convertible bug. Now
that
was a car.

“The parking stub shows where it’s parked in the long-term lot,” Wallace continued. “Leave your car there and take the new one. The space has been paid up for two weeks, but I’ll make sure it’s updated if we need it.”

Two weeks and Christmas would be over.

“The other key is for your condo.”

Was he sending her to Alaska or some Podunk little town in the desert? “Where is it?” Lucy asked.

“The Sunset Vista. It’s in Delray Beach.”

Wasn’t that the place Deseree’s friend had put her mama in to die? “You’re sending me to a nursing care facility?”

“It’s not a nursing home, it’s a sixties-and-up community.” A grin tugged at the corners of Wallace’s mouth. “I figured it would be the last place Emmet would look for you.”

Lucy shrugged. That was true. It was also the last place she wanted to be during the holidays.

But she would do whatever she had to do until crazy Emmet was caught.

She just hoped that Reid didn’t forget her while she was gone.

Reid could not forget the doe-like look on Lucy’s face when he’d driven away. Or the curtness in her tone when she’d asked him to leave.

Dammit. He had never allowed a woman to get into his head until her. But Lucy had a way of sneaking up on a man like a cold. Once you caught it, it invaded every pore of your body and left your knees wobbly.

Well, maybe she wasn’t
exactly
like a cold…but she definitely made his head foggy and his knees weak.

At a loss as to what to do now that his plans with Lucy had been nixed, he phoned Lance.

The phone rang a half dozen times before his brother finally picked up. “What?”

“How about a game of golf?” He needed to hit something today.

“Since when do you play golf, Reid?”

Lance had a point. “Since I…don’t know. I just thought it was a nice day and wanted to be outside.”

“Sorry, bro, Sophie and I have plans.”

Irrational jealousy hit Reid. Ever since Lance and Chase had gotten hitched, they never wanted to do anything manly. “What? You gonna be Sophie’s purse holder while she shops?”

Lance chuckled. “No. We’re looking for a Christmas tree.”

Exactly what he’d wanted to do with Lucy.

“I thought you and Lucy were keeping each other busy,” Lance said.

Reid grunted. “She’s flying to L.A. for an audition.”

“Really? Well, good for her.”

“Yeah, good for her.” And bad for him.

“Sophie’s calling,” Lance said. “We’ll catch up at the building site tomorrow.”

Reid grunted again, then hung up. Was he going to be whipped like that? Every time Lucy called, he’d run? Hell, Lance practically held Sophie’s hand while she peed.

No way. He should view Lucy’s trip as a sign that they were on the same page. Have fun, sleep together, but keep their own lives. That was what he wanted.

Wasn’t it?

Hell, yeah, it was.

Feeling better, he phoned Chase. Chase might go to a sports bar with him.

BOOK: I LOVE LUCY (The Bachelor Pact)
5.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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