Sebastian Rentoul. Her one and only one-night stand. Her one and only week-long fling. Her one and only whirlwind wedding.
Her husband. The father of her baby.
Her husband who had lied. Her baby who had died.
A thousand images flashed in the space of a second. The heat and light in the bar, the thrum of the beat as they’d stood so close, the lust in the touch, the laughter as they’d come together and uttered those foolish words. The anger in discovery of betrayal and miscommunication. The anguish in her lonely loss.
She hadn’t been granted the joy of knowing her child. Looking back on it, she hadn’t known her husband either. The man she’d fallen for was a fiction—a fantasy in her own needy head and heart.
It was excruciating what a fool she’d been. And the resulting pain had almost broken her completely.
Suck it up, Ana. Suck it up.
It was done. In the past and she was over it. She wasn’t going to fall apart at the mere sight of him. For one thing he didn’t know the half of it. And she didn’t want him to. She blinked again. He was coming towards her. She reeled it all in—stuffing the memories, and emotion, into her internal prison and padlocking the door. She shut off the camera and set it on her lap, not wanting him to see the pictures she’d just been giggling over. Good grief. That she’d just felt the burn for him?
She looked down. Moved faster when she saw it, twisting the thick platinum band off her finger. He definitely didn’t need to see she still wore his wedding ring. She hadn’t taken it off in all these months. She’d been going to. Of course she had. But she’d been told wearing one was something a lone woman traveller could do to try to deflect unwanted interest—and as she’d had it already…
She tucked it into her camera case. Even so, her tan exposed a pale ring of skin on her finger. But she could do nothing about it now. He wouldn’t notice—he wouldn’t be getting that close. She darted another look.
He was almost right beside her. Had a smile on but it wasn’t full strength. Not the knockout ‘come party with me’ number he’d hit her with that first night. Even so it was enough to shoot her temperature up. Too unfair that a guy like him should be given such a gift.
She summoned a bright smile of her own, ignoring her scattered insides. Pride dictated she keep it together.
‘Wow. Sebastian.’ OK so she sounded a little breathless. No surprise given the way her thoughts and her blood raced.
Unbelievable. Here he was looking totally at home as if he were the one who’d been on safari in Africa for the best part of the month. He even had a tan—she knew it took only moments in the sun for his skin to go that gorgeous burnished brown. It had done that during those few crazy days in Gibraltar. Oh, hell, she didn’t need to think of that again. From every angle heat crawled over her body, zeroing in on her middle.
‘Ana.’ He didn’t sound breathless. But he did sound quiet. He nodded at the empty seat next to her. ‘Mind if I sit here?’
Her smile became that little bit fixed. ‘Not at all. Please.’ She shifted on her own, moving that imperceptible half-inch nearer the side of the truck and away from him. Her heart thudded harder, all senses on acute alert as she clamped on the muscles.
No way, no way, no way. He couldn’t be here. And she couldn’t be thinking about…what she’d been thinking about. Not about him. ‘Fancy seeing you here,’ she said. ‘Africa. Of all places.’
He sat and the devilishness showed in his grin. ‘Quite some coincidence, isn’t it?’
‘Quite.’ As if it really were. ‘Who told you I was here?’
‘No one,’ he said innocently. ‘It really is a coincidence.’
He turned, watching her too close, sitting too close. ‘Oh, I got the divorce papers.’
Oh, so he was just going to throw that in casually, huh? Ana made her smile even sweeter. ‘Did you sign them?’
Please, please, please. Then this really would be over.
Her heart skidded.
‘I wanted to see you first.’
‘Oh.’ Why? Hadn’t everything been said and done? Or rather not said and not done, which was frankly the way she’d prefer to keep it. They totally didn’t need a post-mortem. It had been a stupid, mad mistake and the best thing to do now was wipe the slate clean and move on. Away from each other and as fast as possible given how her body was reacting in such an off-base kind of way.
Sebastian took a couple of big breaths and tried to clear the mess from his head. Hell. He hadn’t imagined her being like this. He hadn’t imagined her looking like this. All these months when he’d thought of her she’d been quite different—pale, a little shy, compliant.