We’ve each shared the first half of our first chapters on the Diva blog, and placed the rest of our chapters on our own blog. So, for your reading pleasure, please find below the conclusion of Afternoon Rhapsody’s Chapter One:
Brody hadn’t released her hand. Instead he stared at it as though he’d never seen a hand before. Or maybe he was staring at the white band of flesh around her ring finger. She knew she stared at it a lot. Perhaps to the point of obsession. Not long ago a simple gold ring had covered it, but she’d removed that when the divorce papers arrived. No point wearing it anymore, now was there?
“I am,” he answered eventually. “Well, kind of. I came for a wedding. So I guess you could say I’m here with lots of people.”
“Well, isn’t that a coincidence? I’m here for a wedding too.”
“Bianca…Rogers? Would I be right in assuming you’re here for Mack and Aidan’s wedding?”
She grinned at him. “You would indeed. Savvy mind you have there. Aidan’s my brother. You here for the same wedding?”
He grinned back, and the sheer warmth in his smile heated her blood. It had been a long time since a smile had affected her like that. “I am.”
“On the bride or groom’s side?”
“The groom. Although I know the bride too. We all go back a long time.”
It was her turn to look at him speculatively. “So you know the bride and groom, and you have for a while. It’s interesting that we’ve…uh…never met before. I thought I knew all of Danny’s mates.”
Brody took a long time to answer. Once again, Bee fancied she might be able to read his thoughts in those beautiful eyes but immediately decided she had to be wrong.
“Are you sure we’ve never met?” he asked finally. “You look…familiar.”
Bee shook her head. “Nope. I’d have remembered if we had. You’re not the type of person one would forget in a hurry.” He wasn’t the type of person she’d forget ever.
He tilted his head to the side, regarding her thoughtfully. He opened his mouth to say something, must have thought better of it, closed it again, then said, “Would you like to have a drink with me, Bianca?”
And just like that, Bianca’s mouth was drier that it had ever been. Her throat was parched too, as though she hadn’t had liquid in a year, at least. A drink with him was exactly what she wanted. Needed. “I’d love to.”
His smile was blinding. “Excellent.”
He gave her a swift once-over, making Bee instantly self-conscious. Wearing nothing but a bikini had seemed like a good idea in this heat, but having Brody’s gaze—brief as it was—take in every inch of her lily-white skin was a little inhibiting.
“Looks like you’re all ready for a swim,” he said. “Tell you what, I need to change, put on a pair of boardies. How about I meet you at the poolside bar in…ten minutes?”
Ten minutes? That felt like a veritable lifetime. “Ten minutes would be perf— No, shoot!” Bianca slapped her forehead. “Sorry, sorry. It won’t be perfect. I already have a meeting in ten minutes. Actually, more like one minute now, and if I’m late, Mack is gonna let me have it.” More like Kylie was gonna let her have it. The woman ran a tight ship. Her only instruction to Bee had been not to be late.
Uh, yeah. About that…
“Look,” she hastened to say, “I can’t do drinks. How about lunch instead? They serve a killer salad nicoise at the Seaspray Bistro.”
Brody wrinkled his nose at the very suggestion. “Tuna salad?”
She grinned at him. “Not a fan, huh? Me neither. But Mack’s friend recommended it to me, so I thought I’d recommend it to you.”
“How about a simple grilled cheese sandwich and a bottle of red wine instead?”
Bee’s jaw dropped. She couldn’t help it.
She and Rick had shared that exact meal on the night of their wedding. In the cheap hotel they’d chosen for their honeymoon. Gourmet food it hadn’t been, but Bee had never eaten anything more delicious.
She swallowed at the memory. “G-grilled cheese sounds really good.”
“To me too.” His smile was warm, but his eyes…
“Shall we say twelve thirty? At a table outside?” Aidan was arriving on the island then, so Mack would ensure they’d be done by that time.
“I’ll be waiting for you.”
As Bee waved goodbye and headed off to her meeting, she couldn’t help but think how incredibly appealing the idea of Brody Evans waiting for her sounded.