The thoughtful gesture surprised her, and she dropped down into the armchair, taking her beverage with her. ‘Thanks. I never would have guessed that you were so domesticated.’
Helping himself to toast and slathering it with a generous portion of marmalade, Seth grinned. The gesture was so distracting it was like the sun bursting through the clouds on a rainy day. She was glad she was sitting down.
‘I like to disprove people’s assumptions about me,’ he drawled. ‘It keeps them on their toes.’
Silently sipping her tea, she owned to feeling an odd pleasure at the sight of the businessman enjoying his breakfast. The realisation made her pause. Talking of assumptions—was she wrong to think that he was a businessman? Although he dressed like a well-heeled broker in the city of London, the fact that she didn’t know what he did made her remember how little she knew about him.
Yet she’d trusted him enough to let him sleep undisturbed on her couch the whole night!
Before she shied away from quizzing him, she asked, ‘Do you mind if I ask what you do for a living?’
The wariness that stole across his sublimely carved features indicated his reluctance to answer. It came back to her that when he’d first met her he’d asked if she was a reporter.
‘No. I don’t mind. I run several motor car dealerships in America.’
‘What kind of motor cars?’
‘High-end ones... Maserati, Ferrari and Lamborghini to name a few.’
Imogen’s stomach lurched helplessly. If she’d needed a reminder that his affluent lifestyle must be about a trillion miles away from hers, then she’d just got one...
‘Is there a very big demand for such cars?’
‘Hell, yes!’ Pausing to gulp down some coffee, Seth wiped the back of his hand across his lips. ‘I wouldn’t be where I am today if there wasn’t.’
He was gazing back at her, and she saw that the blue eyes that were the colour of the most exquisite sapphires glinted disturbingly. But whether it was because her question had irritated him or because he couldn’t believe that she was naive enough to ask it, Imogen couldn’t tell.
‘You mean that you’ve done well selling them...?’
His ensuing laugh was harsh. ‘You think that all I do is to sell cars?’
Her skin crawling with unease, she stared back at him. ‘Clearly you’re more than just a salesman, but as I don’t know very much about the world of fancy cars perhaps you’d enlighten me? I mean...I know you said you ran several dealerships, but—’
‘I should have explained. I employ managers to run the dealerships for me. I don’t work for the company that sells these cars. I own it.’
Talk about having the wind taken out of her sails. With her mouth uncomfortably dry, she took a hasty mouthful of tea. ‘Then, it must have been quite a change for you to sleep on my landlord’s old couch. I know it’s not the most comfortable piece of furniture.’
Frowning, Seth’s eyes were doubly piercing as he studied her. ‘I was very grateful that you invited me in and allowed me to sleep on it. Did you think I was looking down my nose at you?’
Reaching forward, Imogen stood her cup and saucer on the coffee table. Then she got nervously to her feet. ‘I hope you wouldn’t be as unkind as that. Look...I’m not trying to rush you, but when you’ve finished your coffee it’s probably best that you go. It’s Saturday—my day for catching up with the housework.’
‘Haven’t you forgotten something?’
Straight away Imogen knew what he meant. Twisting her hands together, she wished she had forgotten their agreement. But she immediately saw that Seth Broden hadn’t. Now on his feet, there was nothing in his expression that told her he might be willing to change his mind.
Before she could talk herself out of it, she blurted out candidly, ‘So you really want to know my story, do you? Well, I’ll tell you, then...’
Tightly folding her arms across her red sweater, she began.
‘I was jilted by my fiancé on our wedding day. Left waiting at the church as if I wore a sign that said Reject on it...’
She paused to take in a breath.
‘It was horrendous. I kept trying to ring him, to find out what was going on, but he wasn’t taking my calls. And as I sat there, trying to work out what had happened and figure out the reason he wasn’t there, the waiting started to feel like the most horrible nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from. Time and time again I assured the vicar that he would definitely appear—that perhaps he’d slept through his alarm. But even as I said the words I knew I was only deluding myself. In those interminable few minutes, I went to hell and back. Then I began to do my own private autopsy... I had to. Had I missed something in the lead-up to the wedding that should have told me he wanted out?’