Caryn walked with her long skirt lifted in one fist, watching the spiky heels of her evening shoes so theydidn’t catch in the bricks. The deep blue California spring dusk was balmy. The breeze—less aggressivethan usual—let the salty scent of the ocean ride in on its back.She took a deep breath. It was so peaceful here. So unlike the noisy, claustrophobic midtown day carecenter where she’d been the administrative assistant for the past five years. Until Dirk’s arrest. Untilsomeone decided she couldn’t be trusted around small children…No, she definitely didn’t want to lose this job.As she neared the end of the drive, she glimpsed Sidney, standing in the shadows at the bottom of thecarriage house stairs. He had his back to her, but he was obviously ready to go, his posture more alertand erect than usual, and his cap at an abnormally roguish angle. He was chatting with Colby Malone,the oldest of Angelina’s three grandsons.“Hi, Colby,” she said, waving. She’d worked for the Malones a month now, and calling them by their firstnames no longer felt strange. For card-carrying members of the Rich and Fabulous Club, they weresurprisingly without affectations. “Sid, Angelina wanted to let you know she’d be a little late.”To her surprise, neither man responded right away. Instead, Colby glanced at her with an expressionthat looked almost…
Surely not. The Malones didn’t do nervous. Why should they? They hadthe world by a string, and they knew it.Colby muttered something to Sidney, gave Caryn a weak smile, then pointed vaguely toward the house.He stuck his hands in his pockets, whistled softly and moved off with exaggerated innocence.“Anything wrong with Colby?” Caryn came up behind Sidney, watching the other man slink away. “Helooked distracted.”It was only then, when she was mere inches from the beautifully cut navy blue blazer of the chauffeur’suniform, that she realized something wasn’t right.Her instincts prickled. The shadows had been deceiving. The dimensions of the man in front of her weretoo virile to be a fifty-five-year-old man. The shoulders were too broad, the nipped waist too narrow. Thehair that curled under the cap wasn’t salt-and-pepper, but chocolate-brown, glossy and full.His scent lacked even a single whiff of Sidney’s sinus-clearing arthritis cream. Instead this man smelledall male, a touch of lime, a hint of sea air…Her shoulders tensed.
Her heart knocked. Her pulse skittered, knowing before her brain did. The worst of her nightmares had just come true.
As if he were in a film set to slow motion, the man pulled off the chauffeur’s cap and turned around, oneinch at a time.Finally her brain caught up.“I’m sorry, Caryn,” Thomas Falcon said with the smile that had always melted her like ice cream in amicrowave. “Sidney’s not here. I’m afraid you’re stuck with me.”