The following day, Bella inwardly fumed, practicing a half dozen speeches designed to set Michael straight, as if such a thing were possible. As if he’d listen to her for more than three seconds. Not on the subject of Leo. After lunch, she was still in flux about her evening plans. If her aunt weren’t so busy with her new beau, Bella would have spent the evening with her.“Bella,” Charlotte called in a singsong voice. “You have a visitor.”
Bella glanced up to see Michael standing next to the front desk. Surprise washed over her, although she was still peeved with him.
“Don’t worry about a thing. I’ve looked at the book, and Donna and I can take all your appointments. It won’t be any trouble at all,” Charlotte said.
“Take my appointments,” she echoed, confused. “Why?”
Charlotte smiled coyly. “I’ll let Michael tell you. But don’t worry about your other appointments today. I’ve got those handled, too.”
“What?” she asked as Charlotte walked away. “What is she talking about?”
“I’m considering buying a property in Grand Cayman,” Michael said.
“That’s nice,” she said, looking away from his gaze, wanting to hang on to her anger. Her anger would keep her safe from getting more emotionally intertwined with him.
“I’m flying down there this afternoon and coming back on Saturday morning.”
She shrugged. “Have a nice trip.”
“I want you to join me,” he said.
She blinked and met his gaze. “This afternoon?” She shouldn’t go. Who did he think he was telling her to join him with zero notice? Join him for a trip to a luxurious Caribbean island where it was warm instead of gray and gloomy. “I can’t imagine leaving Charlotte in the lurch like this, especially on Saturday.”
“I discussed it with Charlotte and she’s all for it.”
“I don’t want Charlotte overworking,” she said, fidgeting as visions of her and Michael walking along a beautiful beach danced in her head.
“Has she been overworking?” he asked.
“Well, no, not yet, but—” She broke off, feeling pinned by his gaze.
“Are you afraid of going with me?”
Her stomach dipped. “Of course not. Why would I be afraid?” Because she was starting to develop feelings for him, strong feelings that could cause problems for her later.
“You tell me,” he said.
When she didn’t answer, he shrugged his broad shoulders. “I won’t force you to go. If you’re not interested in stepping into water so clear you can see down fifty feet and—”
“Okay, okay,” she said and told him the same thing she had when his brothers had come to town. “I’m in.”
“Fine,” he said. “We can leave from here. I’ll buy everything you’ll need down there.”
“But can’t I pick up just a few things? I don’t want to spend my time there shopping.”
He gave a wry chuckle. “Not something I would expect to hear from a woman. You don’t want to spend your time shopping. Okay. I’ll have the driver stop by your apartment. You have one hour.”
“Sheesh. “Do you ever give a girl some notice?” she muttered. “Aunt Charlotte, I’m headed out,” she called.
Charlotte beamed and walked over to give her a hug. “Take pictures.”
“Camera,” Bella said, imprinting the item on her list. “Must bring camera.”
“And have a good time.”
“Are you sure you’ll be okay?” Bella asked, suddenly worried again.
“I’ll be fine. You shouldn’t pass this up.” She glanced at Michael. “Treat her right or you’ll find a pair of scissors in your head when you least expect it.”
“Whoa,” he said and gave her a mock salute. “I’ll make sure she has a good time.”
“You do that,” Charlotte said then clapped her hands. “Now get going. Daylight’s burning!”
Four hours later, they were sitting at a restaurant on the ocean watching the sunset as they were served a gourmet meal. A parrot squawked in the background and a warm breeze slid over her skin.
“Uncle,” she said.
“Uncle what?” Michael asked.
“I can’t deny that this is incredible. The food, the sunset, everything.”
“It’s not bad, is it?” he said. “Grand Cayman is one of the more civilized islands. Rarely gets hit by hurricanes, but it can happen. The rainy season is supposed to be unpleasant. You’ll have to tell me what you think after you’ve spent more time here.”