“Oh no.” A concerned look crossed Tabitha’s heart-shaped face. “Danny told me this was inevitable.”
Nicholas’ lips tightened. He was beginning to hate the way she kept mentioning his son’s name, and damn if he knew why that was.
Bee’s concern grew at the way Nicholas’ features had hardened in the past ten seconds. “I truly don’t mind about the age gap,” she told him earnestly. “Danny said you’d eventually bring it up because you were that kind of man. But honestly, it’s not an issue, and I don’t care if others think I’m too young for you—”
“Aren’t you?” he asked flatly. At twenty-three, Tabitha was one whole decade younger than him…but just five years older than Daniel. “You seem more suitable to be my son’s girlfriend—” The expression of genuine revolt that crossed her face immediately put a stop to his words.
“Don’t ever make a joke of that kind again, please?” Bee pleaded with a shudder. “I’ve never thought of him as anything else but my stepson,” she said feelingly, “and vice versa.”
“I see.” He saw Tabitha bite her lip and wondered if there was something else she wanted to say but couldn’t. “Tabitha?”
“Everyone calls me ‘Bee’—” She saw his lip curl and had to quickly swallow back a giggle.
“Tabitha is a lovely name,” Nicholas said firmly. “So I’d rather use that if you don’t mind.”
“I definitely don’t,” she assured him.
Thinking it was a good time as any to bite the bullet, he said slowly, “I can be rather…high-handed at times, but it doesn’t mean you would ever need to watch your words with me. I’ll always endeavor to listen to what you have to say. I’m…your husband, after all.” He saw her eyes widen in surprise, and color stained Nicholas’ bronzed cheeks. “You don’t think of me that way?” he challenged.
Of course I do, Bee wanted to say. But the thing was, hearing Nicholas actually say those words out loud had shocked her so much it completely robbed her of the ability to speak.
Tabitha’s continued silence was making Nicholas feel strange, and the prospect of her possibly having second thoughts about their so-called marriage was irritating the hell out of him.
Nicholas appeared to be brooding over her words, and Bee couldn’t stop herself from staring. It was like seeing a golden-haired Heathcliff brood before her every eyes, and she could barely contain her giddiness, could barely resist the urge to swoon just so he’d be made to sweep her up in his arms.
If this is a dream, God, please don’t wake me up?
The thought had Bee reaching for her cheeks again, but just as she was about to pinch herself for a reality check, he suddenly turned to face her, and her fingers froze mid-squeeze.
Nicholas’ brows shot up at catching Tabitha with her hands on her face. “What are you doing?”
Bee quickly dropped her arms to her sides. “Nothing.”
Green eyes narrowed at her. “You’re incredibly…odd.”
The words made her feel anxious, and she joked nervously, “That’s not grounds for an annulment, is it?”
Nicholas only stared at her.
“That was a joke,” she said weakly.
Bee’s unease disappeared as her cheeks heated up and her lips formed a helpless smile.
Nicholas was starting to get a headache. “Why are you blushing?”
“Because Danny told me about that.”
Her blush had deepened as she spoke, and his confusion grew. “Told you about what?”
“He says when you say that…”
“What the hell is that?”
“You see what?”
A choked laugh escaped Bee. “No, I meant, it’s the words ‘you see.’ Danny said that whenever you say those two words, it’s probably your way…”
Tabitha’s face was now beet red, while Nicholas didn’t think he could get any more confused than he already was. “Just spit the words out, Tabitha.”
Squirming on her feet, she took a deep breath before letting the words spill out in lightning-quick fashion. “He says it’s your way of trying to control yourself from kissing me.”
Nicholas nearly choked. What the hell? Tabitha had to be an idiot to fall for such words—
And then it hit him.
The reason why she had been blushing in the car, the first time he had said ‘I see’, and disbelief swamped Nicholas at the realization that she could be so naïve enough to believe Daniel’s words. His gaze snapped back to her direction—
And she was still blushing.
He remembered the words from the contract his son had forged his signature on.
The marriage must be consummated within twenty-four hours of their first meeting.
And failure to meet even just one of the conditions would mean losing half of his fortune – or risk having Tabitha sue his son for fraud.
Bee was not a total novice when it came to sexual chemistry. Most of her knowledge, however, came from the romance novels she read, and so she still found herself rather stunned when it finally happened.