Grace Green

Colby's Wife


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      “I don’t intend to marry again.” Title Page Dedication CHAPTER ONE CHAPTER TWO CHAPTER THREE CHAPTER FOUR CHAPTER FIVE CHAPTER SIX CHAPTER SEVEN CHAPTER EIGHT CHAPTER NINE CHAPTER TEN CHAPTER ELEVEN Copyright

      “I don’t intend to marry again.”

      Greer frowned. “Have you considered the possibility that you may fall in love again?”

      

      “Love is the last thing I’m looking for. Once I have a nanny in place for Jamie, I’ll be making another...arrangement.”

      

      “An arrangement?”

      

      “A mistress,” Colby replied. “What more could a single father want? A nanny to help look after his child...and a mistress to see to his other...needs.”

      

      Greer stared at him disbelievingly. “You can’t be serious!”

      

      “It’ll be a business arrangement, Greer. I wonder...would you be interested in the job? You did say you aren’t planning on marrying....”

      Grace Green was born in Scotland and is a former teacher. In 1967 she and her marine-engineer husband, John, emigrated to Canada, where they raised their four children. Empty nesters now, they are happily settled in west Vancouver in a house overlooking the ocean. Grace enjoys walking the sea wall, gardening, getting together with other writers...and watching her characters come to life, because she knows that, once they do, they will take over and write her stories for her.

      

      

      

      

      Grace Green has written for the Presents® series, but now concentrates on Harlequin Romance®...bringing you deeply emotional stories with vibrant characters.

      

      Look out for The Wedding Promise (#3526) in October!

      Colby’s Wife

      Grace Green

       www.millsandboon.co.uk

      For my granddaughter, Kathleen

      CHAPTER ONE

      ‘SELL it?’ Greer whirled round from the corkboard where she’d just pinned a sketch of her latest lingerie design, an elegant satin-and-lace negligee in Midnight Cobalt. She stared at her grandmother with dismay. ‘If I don’t want the summer place on Lake Trillium you’re going to sell it?’

      ‘Correct.’

      ‘But Gran ... it’s been in the family for generations!’

      Leaning on her cane, Jemima Westbury moved across the office, skirting a table laden with bolts of purple, fuchsia and emerald silk, and stood with her back to the tall window overlooking Toronto’s Spadina Avenue. The sun glistened in her silver topknot; its shadow softened the lines seventy-odd years had etched around her firm mouth and azure eyes.

      ‘That’s as may be,’ she said, ‘but you never go there anymore, and I?’ She lifted one shoulder in an eloquent shrug. ‘I no longer enjoy spending time there on my own.’

      Greer frowned. ‘I don’t like the idea of strangers living at the cottage, Gran,’ she said slowly. ‘Oh, I know I haven’t been to the lake for a couple of years but—’

      Jem waggled the tip of her cane at her granddaughter. ‘Eight years. You haven’t been there for eight years, not since that business with Bradley P—’

      ‘Not since the summer Colby and Eleanor came home from Australia for his father’s funeral.’ Greer broke in hurriedly. ‘I was seventeen.’ She felt her cheeks flush. Stealing a moment to regain her composure, she crossed to her desk and flicked the switch that would silence the music coming over the Passing Fancy workshop speakers. When she faced Jem again, her cheeks had cooled and she managed a rueful smile. ‘You’re right. It has been eight years.’

      Briefly she wondered—as she had so often done—how much of the truth her grandmother had guessed that long-ago summer. Not all of it, Greer was sure—but certainly some. After all, wasn’t Gran the one who had found her huddled down on the beach, dissolved in scalding tears, after Colby had flayed her with his scathing diatribe—

      ‘What I’d like,’ her grandmother was saying, ‘is for the two of us to go up to the lake this week. You can make your decision there. If you don’t want to keep the cottage, we’ll start packing and get it ready for sale.’

      ‘I really don’t think I can get away.’ Greer dropped her gaze; fidgeted with a scrap of Belgian lace on her desk. ‘Since my Vogue cover, this place has been a madhouse—’

      ‘Then I’ll contact an agency and they can see to the arrangements. I think this is a good time of year to sell, don’t you? Everything will be looking its best. Ben always said June was his favourite month at the lake—’ Jem’s voice caught, and shaking her head, she started for the door, her cane tapping unsteadily on the planked floor.

      Greer had never met her grandfather—he had died before she was born—but she knew that after his death Jem had sold their large Toronto house and moved into an apartment. She had kept on the lakefront cottage because, as she had once confided to Greer, it was the only place where she could still sense Ben’s presence and was thus very special to her.

      Greer took in a deep breath, and ignoring the warning bells clanging in her bead, hurried after the frail figure and caught her in the doorway. Clasping her grandmother’s hands, she said quietly, ‘I’ll come, Jem darling, of course I’ll come. But I can’t get away till Friday. Friday afternoon...probably quite late.’

      ‘Thank you, Greer.’ Jem’s voice trembled with pleasure. ‘Thank you so much. Oh, we’ll have a lovely trip, you’ll see—just like old times.’

      No, Greer reflected, stifling a bleak sigh as she escorted her grandmother to the elevator, it wouldn’t be like old times. It could never be like old times again. Eleanor, and Brad Pierson, had seen to that.

      She should have just told her grandmother the truth, she thought wearily—should have explained that though she had once loved going to the lake, it was a place she could no longer bear to visit. It was too filled with memories, memories of Colby, memories that tore her heart in two.

      But she had committed herself to going.

      And she could see no way out.

      

      ‘When are we going to get there?’ Jamie Daken’s tone was sullen.