Grayson's Vow

Page 24


I had wished I could stay a little longer visiting with the people there I'd grown to love and hadn't seen in so long, but I assured them (and myself) I'd be back very soon.
Being away from The Dragon for a couple days had enabled me to put things in perspective. I was driving back with a renewed sense of surety. This plan was going to work. Everything had fallen into place and I tended to think that when that happened, you were on the right path. In a matter of days, we'd be married, have my gram's money, and I'd be on my way to being self-sufficient. I could decide what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I wouldn't be under anyone's thumb. I would finally be free.
Surprisingly, I'd missed my little cottage. After opening the windows and putting my suitcase down at the end of the bed, I fell onto it and smiled up at the stained, peeling ceiling, twirling a piece of my hair, and humming loudly the song that had been on the radio in my car a few minutes ago. Outside the window, I heard the distant sound of a vehicle, most likely a tractor, and the shrill chatter of the birds that filled the trees. I'd find a little place similar to this somewhere in Napa Valley when I moved out. Somewhere simple. Somewhere I could be myself. Somewhere I might find happiness. Sighing, I sat up, slipped out of my clothes, and unpacked the new, fluffy towels I'd purchased in San Francisco. After rooting around in my luggage for my toiletries, I turned toward the shower. A man was standing in the doorway. I startled so abruptly that my toiletries went flying out of my hands and I screamed, a piercing, horror-stricken sound.
"Whoa, whoa," Grayson said, moving toward me, his hands up in an "I surrender" pose, meant to calm me, I supposed. His eyes were wide with surprise, and I couldn't help notice that they swept down my body.
"Oh my GOD!" I shrieked, realizing I was as naked as a jaybird. I looked around wildly for something to hide my nakedness, grabbing the shirt at the top of my open suitcase, and attempting to cover as much of myself as possible. At practically the same moment, Grayson whirled around and went stalking out the door.
I sagged against the end of the bed, my face hot, my legs shaking. "Don't you knock?" I yelled.
"You don't have anything I haven't seen before," I heard said loudly outside my open window as he walked away from my cottage.
I might have growled.
Thoroughly humiliated, I got in the shower, still grumbling angrily about rude, disrespectful stalkers. Nothing he hadn't seen before. Ugh! Scaly beast!
After scrubbing myself just a bit too harshly—if my stinging skin were any indication—I pulled on clothes, put my hair up in a wet bun, and went marching up to the main house.
Charlotte greeted me kindly when I met her in the kitchen. "Is Grayson around?" I asked, trying to keep the brittleness out of my voice.
"I'm right here," came his voice from behind me.
I whirled around, shooting daggers at him with my eyes. "May I speak with you privately?" I said with fake sweetness.
He narrowed his eyes, and didn't move, apparently ignoring my request, or just not caring if Charlotte overheard us. What did it matter? She'd heard us fight before. I crossed my arms. "You can't just flounce into someone's personal habitation without knocking!" I said, my words tumbling out in exasperated anger.
"I did knock," he said, his tone bored, causing me to seethe even more. "And I've never flounced in my life." He turned toward Charlotte. "Charlotte, have you ever seen me flounce?"
"No, it's true," she said, wrinkling her brow. "You're not a man inclined to flounce."
I sputtered in frustration. "Flounce, prance, intrude!"
"Prance?" Grayson asked incredulously. "I've definitely never pranced. Ever. Charlotte?"
Charlotte shook her head. "No, no prancing." She put one finger up, turning her attention to me. "I did see him skip once. But he was still just a wee lad . . ."
I threw my arms up in the air in irritation, trying my best to ignore Grayson's mocking—and Charlotte's support of his mocking—and stick to the subject at hand. "You didn't knock! Or if you did, I didn't grant you permission to enter. I wouldn't have, seeing as I was naked!" Was that a faint pink color tingeing his cheekbones?
Charlotte coughed. "Oh my," I heard her breathe.
"Yes, well, it all happened very fast. I barely saw anything. I've already wiped the vision from my mind. Cross my heart." He said it as if it'd been a particularly distasteful vision.
"If you have a heart, which is debatable." I gritted my teeth together.
His eyes narrowed. "It was an accident, Kira. I apologize. I have no interest in seeing you naked, I promise. It won't happen again." He rubbed a finger beneath his eye as if smoothing away a twitch, his tone bored once again.
I stood up straight, raising my chin. Why was I bothered by his attitude at having seen me naked? What did I want, for Grayson to have stood with his tongue lolling out of his mouth at my mouthwatering sexiness? I knew I was far from mouthwateringly sexy. Cooper had taught me that lesson. I crossed my arms across my chest, hugging myself, feeling the fire burn out of my anger. I took a deep breath. "Well, fine, what did you need anyway?"
Grayson paused a moment, studying me. "I saw your car pull in. I was just coming to tell you that our prenuptial agreement will be ready on Wednesday. I moved our appointment to get married to Thursday." He paused. "As long as that's okay with you."