She met his gaze with her wide brown eyes, surprised by his sudden agreement with her. “I’m right? Did I actually hear you say that?”
“I said you may be right. Maybe I got all dressed up, dropped a ton of cash on a registry gift and came to this baby shower in the middle of nowhere just in the hopes I would see you here.”
Lucy turned away and stared off into the distance. “I don’t appreciate your sarcasm. I also don’t appreciate you accosting me at a party. I’m missing one of my best friend’s baby showers to be out here with you.”
Oliver turned toward her and leaned one elbow onto the railing. “You’re free to go at any time.”
She turned to face him with disbelief narrowing her gaze. “Oh yeah, so you can start something else inside? Or throw me over your shoulder and carry me off next time? No. We’re finishing this discussion right now. When I go back inside, I don’t want to speak to or even lay eyes on you again.”
He looked at her and noticed a slight tremble of her lips as she spoke. Was she on the verge of tears? He wasn’t sure why, but the idea of that suddenly bothered him. “Are you okay?”
“You’re trembling. Are you really that upset with me?”
Lucy rolled her eyes and shook her head. “No, I’m shivering. It’s freezing out here. I’m not dressed for an alfresco discussion this time of year.”
Without hesitation, Oliver slipped off his suit coat and held it out to her. She looked at it with suspicion for a moment before turning her back and letting him drape it over her bare shoulders.
“Thank you,” Lucy said as reluctantly as she could manage.
“I’m not all bad.”
“That’s good to know. I was starting to feel sorry for Harper having to grow up with you.”
“Oh, you can still feel sorry for her. I was a horrible big brother. I made her life hell for years.” Oliver laughed again, thinking of some of the wicked things he’d done to his sister. “One time, when she was about eight, I convinced her that my father’s new Ming vase was made of Silly Putty and would bounce if she dropped it onto the floor. She got in so much trouble. Dad wouldn’t believe her when she said I’d told her that. He grounded her for an extra week for lying.”
Lucy covered her mouth with her hand to hide a reluctant smile. “Why are you being nice to me all of a sudden?” she asked. “You’re not here to fight with me, and yet you’re out here making small talk with me instead of inside with Jonah and your friends. What’s your angle?”
That was a good question. He hadn’t exactly planned any of this. He’d just wanted to get her away from the crowd before they made a scene. Once they stopped arguing, he was surprised to find he enjoyed talking with Lucy. There was an understated charm to her. The longer he spent with her, the more he wanted to spend. It was an intriguing and dangerous proposition, but one that explained his aunt’s bold decision. If he felt swayed by her, his elderly aunt hadn’t stood a chance.
“I don’t have an angle, Lucy.” Or if he did, he wasn’t going to tell her so. “I guess I’m just trying to figure out what my aunt saw in you.”
Lucy opened her mouth to argue, but he held up his hands to silence her. “I don’t mean it like that, so don’t get defensive. I’ve just been thinking that if my aunt really did want to leave you half a billion dollars, you had to be a pretty special person.” Oliver leaned closer, unconsciously closing the gap between them. “I guess I’m curious to get to know you better and learn more about you.”
Lucy’s nose wrinkled, but for the first time, it didn’t appear to be because she was annoyed with him. “What do you think so far?” she asked.
“So far…” He sought out the smart answer, but just decided to be honest. “…I like you. More than I should, given the circumstances. So far, you’ve proven to be an exciting, intelligent and beautiful adversary.”
Lucy’s lips parted softly at his words. “Did you say beautiful?”
Oliver nodded. Before he could respond aloud, Lucy launched herself into his arms. Her pink lips collided with his own just as her body pressed into him. He was stunned stiff for only a moment before he wrapped his arms around her waist and tugged her tighter against him.
Kissing Lucy wasn’t at all what he expected. Nothing about her was what he expected. She didn’t back down from what she’d started. She was bold, opening up to him and seeking his tongue out with her own. Oliver couldn’t help but respond to her. She was more enthusiastic and demanding than any woman he may have ever kissed before.