Julieta remained a close friend. The younger woman had long since got over her failed relationship with Fernando Santos and was currently dating a wealthy entrepreneur who seemed to think the sun rose and shone on her, and who had already gained Leandro’s seal of approval.
Molly flew over to London regularly to meet up with her siblings and often made time to see Jez Andrews as well. Jez now had a girlfriend as committed to following the sport of motocross as he was and Molly fully expected to hear that Tamara would be moving in with him soon.
Molly’s life in Spain had become frantically busy, which she loved. She had decided that the farmyard where her studio was would make a great craft village where local artists could work, exhibit and sell their wares. Financed by Leandro and by Nikolai, who had insisted on taking a financial stake in the concern as well, the concept had taken off like a rocket and had had the added benefit of providing a welcome local tourist attraction.
Once Molly had discovered just how much time and effort it took to run the castillo, she had hired an administrative assistant to take charge of the accounts. She had also given Basilio more power and used the older man’s domestic expertise to ditch outdated working practices. Now Basilio was a much happier man. The household had come to run like clockwork and, furthermore, costs had been reduced, which had shocked and hugely impressed Leandro. The fact that his wife now spoke fluent Spanish had assisted her endeavours and she was very popular with the estate staff, who appreciated her practical, hard-working approach.
‘There they are now…we should chuck rocks at them!’ Ophelia pronounced with spirit as a Metaxis helicopter flew in and vanished from view to land behind her stunning contemporary Greek home. ‘Lysander said he’d be back for lunch and it’s almost dinner time.’
‘Nikolai sent me a text saying that they had been delayed. Sorry, I forgot to tell you.’ In the act of chasing after her three-year-old son, Danilo, and his toddler brother as they splashed through the surf, Abbey paused to speak in a tone of apology.
‘Well, Nikolai wins in the communication stakes,’ Molly acknowledged.
‘Bet you anything he’s put his name down on the waiting list for yet another wildly exotic car,’ Nikolai’s wife, the gorgeous red-headed Abbey forecast with a world-weary groan. ‘We have garages full of cars. He doesn’t even have time to drive them.’
‘He just likes collecting them.’ Molly lifted Felipe out of the buggy when he woke up with a cross little sob.
She began walking back up towards the stunning contemporary house above the beach just as the three men cleared the boundaries of the terraced gardens and began to stride down the hill to join their wives. Her heart leapt at the sight of Leandro’s lean, darkly handsome face. Sometimes she loved him so much it hurt. And this was very definitely one of those times, when he was fresh back from the motor show that he had visited with Nikolai and Lysander. Unlike the other two men, Leandro couldn’t have cared less about luxury cars. But in the interests of bonding with her brothers, he had made the effort to accompany them and fit in. These days the guys got on as well as their wives did, although being men there was a good deal more competitiveness and joshing in their dealings.
Felipe was opening his arms in greeting even as Leandro swept his son out of his wife’s arms and high into the air. The little boy’s shout of excitement delighted Molly. She loved the fact that Leandro was a real hands-on father. Tucking his son below his arm, he curved an arm round Molly.
‘I missed you last night, preciosa mia,’ he husked.
‘Me too,’ Molly whispered. ‘We had a barbecue down here for the kids.’
Dark golden eyes nailed to her animated face, Leandro drew her close. Her lips tingled, heat rising in her cheeks.
‘When are you two going to stop acting like honeymooners?’ Nikolai quipped as he strode past them.
‘Never,’ Leandro breathed soft and low, unconcealed appreciation in his gaze as he continued to study his wife and wondered if she would like the very talkative parrot he had acquired for her in London. Ophelia had offered Haddock to Molly, but she hadn’t liked to accept the parrot when Ophelia’s children were so attached to the old bird.
Confidence and happiness were winging through Molly in a glorious wave. Later, when they were alone, she would tell Leandro that their second child was on the way and she knew he would be as overjoyed at that news as she was.
Felipe demanded to get down and examine the sand-castle being built by Poppy and her siblings. Molly looked at Nikolai, who was embracing Abbey while his sons clung to his trouser legs. Lysander was presenting Ophelia with a set of car keys and teasing her wickedly about some vehicle of his that she had crashed. Molly smiled again, loving the fact that she had a wonderful husband and such a loving and close family to share everything with…