Nine Months to Redeem HimBy: Jennie Lucas
I’d whirled around to see a darkly handsome man with cold blue eyes. “Excuse me?”
“I saw you come in together. Just trying to save you some pain.” He lifted his martini glass in mocking salute. “You can’t compete with her, and you know it.”
It had been a dagger in my heart.
You can’t compete with her, and you know it. Blonde and impossibly beautiful, my stepsister, who was one year younger, drew men like bees to a honeypot. But I’d seen the downside, too. Even being the most beautiful woman in the world didn’t guarantee happiness.
Of course, being the ugly stepsister didn’t guarantee it either. I’d glared at the man before I turned on my heel. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
But somehow, he had known. It haunted me later. How had some rude stranger at a party seen the truth immediately, while it had taken me months?
When Madison arranged for Jason to get a part in her next movie, he’d been thrilled. Working as Madison’s assistant, I’d seen them both every day on set in Paris. Then she’d asked me to go back to L.A. and give a magazine a personal tour of Madison’s house in the Hollywood Hills, and talk about what it was like to be a “girl next door” who happened to have Madison Lowe as my stepsister, a semifamous producer as my stepfather, and up-and-coming hunk Jason Black as my boyfriend. “We need the publicity,” Madison had insisted.
But the reporter barely seemed to listen as I walked her through Madison’s lavish house, talking lamely about my stepsister and Jason. Until she pressed on her earpiece with her hand and suddenly laughed aloud, turning to me with a malicious gleam in her eye. “Fascinating. But are you interested in seeing what the two of them have been up to today in Paris?” Then she’d cut to reveal live footage of the two of them naked and drunk beneath the Eiffel Tower.
The video became an international sensation, along with the clip of my stupid, shocked face as I watched it.
For the past three weeks, I’d been trapped behind the gates of my stepfather’s house, ducking paparazzi who wanted pictures of my miserable face, and gossip reporters who kept yelling questions like, “Was it a publicity stunt, Diana? How else could anyone be so stupid and blind?”
I’d fled to Cornwall to escape.
But Edward St. Cyr already knew about it. He’d even tried to warn me, but I hadn’t listened.
Looking at my new employer now, a shiver went through me, rumbling all the way to my heart, shaking me like the earthquakes I thought I’d left behind. “Is that why you hired me? To gloat?”
Edward looked at me coldly. “No.”
“Then you felt sorry for me.”
“This isn’t about you.” His dark blue eyes glittered in the firelight. “This is about me. I need a good physiotherapist. The best.”
Confused, I shook my head. “There must be hundreds, thousands, of good physical therapists in the U.K....”
“I gave up after four,” he said acidly. “The first was useless. I hardly know which was thicker, her skull or her graceless hands pushing at me. She quit when I attempted to give her a gentle bit of constructive criticism.”
“The second woman was giggly and useless. I sacked her the second day, when I caught her on the phone trying to sell my story to the press...”
“Why would the press want your story? Weren’t you in a car accident?”
His lips tightened almost imperceptibly at the corners. “The details have been kept out of the news and I intend to keep it that way.”
“Lucky,” I said, thinking of my own media onslaught.
His dark eyes gleamed. “I suppose you’re right.” He glanced down at his arm in the sling, at his leg propped up in front of him. “I can walk now, but only with a cane. That’s why I sent for you. Make me better.”