Home > The Vampire’s Fake Fiancée (Nocturne Falls #5)(10)

The Vampire’s Fake Fiancée (Nocturne Falls #5)(10)
Author: Kristen Painter

Sebastian turned. He’d told Greaves everything the minute he’d gotten home. “I need to go see Tessa. There are too many details. We’ll never get them right if we don’t start now.”

“You could just tell Evangeline the truth.”

“And look like a fool in her eyes once again? No. I can’t have her thinking I’ve been waiting for her return all these years. That I’ve just been pining away.”

“Except that you have been.” He held his hands up. “Respectfully.”

Sebastian frowned. “I know what a pathetic fool I am, old man. No need to remind me.” He pinched the bridge of his nose. “She looked at me with utter disbelief. As if the thought that another woman was willing to have me was completely preposterous. That I could not possibly be interesting enough to hold the attention of another woman. It may be my downfall, but my pride will not let that lie.”

“No, sir.”

He looked at Greaves. “Am I that difficult of a man just because I am firm in my beliefs and have little tolerance for imperfection in others? Is that enough to make me…hard to love, do you think?”

Greaves pursed his mouth. “I can’t speak for the female population, but you are not Julian, that’s for sure.”

Sebastian snorted derisively at the mention of his youngest brother. “And I never will be if treacly charm and loose morals are what make a man attractive.”

Greaves grunted in agreement.

A hard thought struck Sebastian. He let a few seconds pass before speaking again. “Am I boring, then, Greaves?”

Greaves tipped his head slightly. “I suppose that depends on what a woman finds stimulating. Evangeline’s interests lay beyond the realm of the cerebral, so you two were never going to be a good match. You’re a brilliant man with a mind that seeks higher pleasures. You need a woman with a similar mind.”

“Thank you for that.” Sebastian rolled his shoulders to relieve the stress of the day. It failed to help. “I’m going out to see Miss Blythe. We have work to do. I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Very good, sir.”

Deputy Blythe lived in one of the residential neighborhoods the Ellinghams had set aside specifically for town employees. The houses weren’t enormous but they weren’t shoe boxes either and the yards all showed pride of ownership, something that pleased Sebastian. Order was a thing of beauty and these streets had it in spades.

He parked in her driveway next to her patrol car and went to the front door to knock. Deputy Blythe answered a few moments later and he knew immediately by her expression that he was not who she’d expected.

“Sebastian.”

“Deputy Blythe. I realize I should have phoned that I was coming. My apologies for interrupting your evening. I was hoping to speak with Tessa.”

“Did you decide to call the whole thing off?”

“No. But that is why I’m here. Is she available?”

“Sure, come in. She’s in her room. I’ll get her.” Jenna pointed at the couch in the living room. “Have a seat.”

He remained standing. The house was as neat inside as it was out and not overly accessorized. He liked it.

A few minutes later, Tessa walked into the room. She pushed her glasses back and blinked at him. “H-hello.”

A more tentative greeting he could not imagine. He did his best to be casual. “Hi. I’m sorry to drop by unannounced, but I was thinking we should start the process of getting to know each other now instead of trying to cram it all into the hours before dinner tomorrow.”

She nodded, looking relieved. “That’s a good idea. I have to confess, the whole thing is making me nervous. I don’t like being unprepared.”

“No, neither do I. Would you like to go out? Get some coffee perhaps?” He hadn’t actually intended that, but it seemed like he’d become quite impulsive lately.

She tucked a loose strand of dirty-blonde hair behind one ear. It was the only piece that had escaped the chignon at the nape of her neck. “Um, sure. I guess if we’re supposed to be engaged, being seen in public together makes sense, doesn’t it?”

“Yes. Although now it’s my turn to confess that I hadn’t even thought of that.”

She raised her hand, palm to her chest, and wiggled her fingers. “Something else you might not have thought about. Do you have a ring for me to wear?”

“A ring?”

“An engagement ring. Won’t this other woman expect to see one on my hand?”

He closed his eyes and sighed. There was so much he hadn’t considered. This was why he was rarely impulsive. Actions spawned by emotion were prone to failure. “Yes, she absolutely will. And no, I don’t have one. We’ll remedy that this evening as well. Why don’t you get ready and I’ll make a call and see what I can do about that.”

She glanced down at her nondescript pants and blouse. “I…am ready.”

“Oh.” Plain did not begin to describe the poor woman.

Her mouth thinned to a perturbed line. “No, never mind. I’ll go change. I’ll be quick.”

“Take as long as you like. I’m happy to wait.”

She headed back down the hall and he heard her calling for her sister. He shook his head. He had only himself to blame when Evangeline saw through this. He pulled out his phone and dialed Willa Iscove, the jeweler in town. He needed a ring and he could think of no one else who could provide him with one on such short notice.

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