“Velazquez, don’t make me punch you on my wedding day.”
“See?” Belle crowed. “Even Darius can’t stand you.”
The Spaniard looked superior. “Just because I’m the only one who is willing to speak the truth...”
“The truth is that marriage is about love and commitment and a whole bunch of sophisticated emotions you obviously can’t handle. So keep your opinions to yourself. You might think you’re being all deep, but talking like that at a wedding is just plain tacky!”
The Spaniard’s eyes narrowed and for a moment Letty was afraid that the constant bickering between them was about to boil over into something truly unpleasant. But to her relief, the man abruptly gave a stiff nod.
“You are right.”
Belle stared at him wide-eyed, then tossed her hair, huffing with a flare of her nostrils. “Course I’m right. I’m always right.”
Letty exhaled as they seemed to drop the matter.
“Except for when you’re wrong,” came his sardonic response, “which is every other time but now, since you’re obviously living in some ridiculous romantic dream world.”
Belle glared at him, then whirled on Letty with a beaming smile. “Are you having a good wedding day, sweetie? Because that’s what I care about. Because I’m not rude like some people. We learn manners in Texas.”
“I have a ranch in Texas,” the Spaniard rejoined. “And I learned an expression that I believe applies to you, Miss Langtry.”
“The meek shall inherit the earth?”
He gave her a sensual half smile. “All hat, no cattle.”
Belle gave an outraged intake of breath. Then she said sweetly, “That’s a lot of big talk for a man with a girl’s name.”
He looked irritated. “You’re saying it wrong. An-hel. And it is a man’s name. In every Spanish-speaking country...”
“Aaain-jel, Aaain-jel!” she taunted, using the pronunciation that involved harps and wings. She blinked. “Oh, look, the limo’s here.”
Letty almost cried in relief.
“Finally,” Darius muttered. The limo had barely slowed down at the curb before he opened the back door for his bride. Letty jumped in, eager to escape.
“Where are we going?” Belle said, starting to follow, the Spaniard coming up behind her. Darius blocked them from the limo.
“Thank you so much. Both of you. But I’m afraid Letty and I must leave immediately for Greece.”
Belle frowned. “I thought you weren’t leaving until tomorrow. We were going to take you out for dinner...”
“Unfortunately, we must get on the plane immediately. My family is waiting to meet my new bride.”
“Oh,” Belle said, crestfallen. “In that case... Of course I understand.” Leaning into the back of the limo, she hugged Letty. “Have a wonderful honeymoon! You deserve every bit of your happiness!”
Belle was right, Letty reflected numbly as the limo pulled away from her friend still beaming and waving on the sidewalk. She’d get all the happiness she deserved after abandoning her father to marry Darius: none.
Letty stared out at the gray rain. Darius sat beside her silently for the hour and a half it took to drive through the evening rush-hour traffic to the small airport outside the city. As they boarded his private jet, he continued to ignore her.
Fine. Letty didn’t care. She felt exhausted and miserable. Walking to the separate bedroom in the back of the jet, she shut the door behind her. Climbing into bed, she pulled the blanket up to her forehead, struggling to hold back tears. She closed her eyes.
And woke up in a different world.
Letty sat up with an intake of breath.
She was no longer on the jet. She found herself in a big, bright bedroom, empty except for a king-size wrought-iron bed.
Brilliant sunlight came through the open windows, leaving warm patterns against the white walls and red tiled floor. She heard laughter outside and conversation in an exotic language and the sweet singing of birds.