Page 36 of The Shy Bride

The pool was the perfect temperature and she swam several laps, enjoying the unlooked-for treat.

She was sitting on the side, dangling her feet in the wet and drinking water from a bottle she’d found in the pool bar’s fridge when Neo returned.


He looked harried.

“Tough meeting?” she asked.

“I am regretting my choice in contractors.”

“That’s not a feeling you have often, I’m sure.”

“You’re right. I weigh my choices carefully and I thought I had this time, too.”

“What happened?”

“He had done two smaller projects for me before, but despite his claims to the contrary, it is now obvious he does not have the resources for this much larger one.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“He’ll be far sorrier if I have to fly out there.”

“Where is it?”

“Dubai.”

“Really? I’ve always wanted to go.”

“I’ll make a deal with you—if I go, I’ll take you.”

She rolled her eyes. “Yeah. Thanks.”

“Are you afraid of flying?”

“Flying? No. The crowds in the airport and on the plane are enough to give me nightmares.” Though she could deal with them if she had to. Maybe.

“What about a private jet?”

“I’ve never flown on one.”

“It is the only way I travel. For both expediency and security reasons.”

Wow. She leaned back and smiled up at him. “Of course you have your own jet.”

“Well?”

“Well what?” She thought she should know what he was asking, but it was escaping her.

“Would you like to go to Dubai with me on my private jet if the project ends up requiring my personal supervision?”

“I…” Was he serious? He certainly seemed so. “You…” The prospect was so tempting. She missed travelling so much and she could not imagine a better partner for doing it. She couldn’t imagine anyone else making her feel comfortable enough to be so tempted. “I think so, yes.”

“Fantastic.” And he looked like he really meant it. Like he was proud of her.

She bit her lip, blinking back tears. He was an amazing man. And the trip sounded wonderful. But best of all, she would be with Neo. That was even more tempting than the travel. “I’ve never thought to try flying private.”

She could have rented a private jet to fly her domestically at least, but the thought had never occurred to her, even when she used to jokingly lament about the lack of private railcars nowadays.

“We’ll have to give it a test. Before Dubai. Go somewhere not too far away. Maybe a trip to Napa Valley.”

“Are you kidding?”

“I don’t have a sense of humor, remember?”

“I know that’s not true.”

“Well, I am not joking.”

CHAPTER EIGHT

“BUT there’s nothing in it for you.” And wouldn’t such a trip require him taking even more time off from work?

Her head was reeling and so was her heart.

“Helping my friend with her desire to travel is something.”

“You’re crazy.”

“I do not think so.”

She laughed, feeling happier than she had in years.

“Besides, I like California wines. I wouldn’t mind a chance to visit some of the better vineyards and purchasing some of their selective stock.”

“Hmm…”

“Do you like wine?”

“I don’t drink.”

“Religious reasons?”

“No. It’s just…I’m a lightweight.”

“How light?”

“I smell the cork and I’m tipsy.”

“This I should like to see.”

“And when I start making words up to go with my instrumental compositions? So not pretty.”

“I would like to hear you sing.”

“No, you wouldn’t. Trust me. As talented as I am on the piano, I am conversely as horrible a singer.”

“You only increase my desire to hear it.”

“You’re a masochist? I never would have thought it.”

“And if you had, you would have been wrong, but I like the idea of hearing you be less than perfect.”

Implying what? That he thought she was mostly perfect? Now that wasn’t possible. With her problems, no one thought she was perfect. Or even close to it. “So you can laugh at me?” she teased.

“Laughing with you is surprisingly pleasurable.”

She remembered the movie and nodded. “It is.”

“So, you will sing for me?”

“If we go to Napa Valley and if you convince me to taste some of this selective wine you plan to buy, you just might get that treat.”

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