The Billionaire Boss's Innocent Bride

Free The Billionaire Boss's Innocent Bride by Lindsay Armstrong

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Authors: Lindsay Armstrong
about her for a long time.
    She stared out of the window unseeingly. On the other hand, he hadn’t married anyone else in six years and, surely, if there was a significant woman in his life she’d be part of these social functions for the Chinese consortium delegation?
    She shook her head and forced herself to concentrate on what was the crux of the matter for her—if Max Goodwin was not for her, she’d learnt one thing in life painfully well and it was that losing people you loved could be agonizing. Even four years on she remembered all too well the sudden void in her life brought on by the loss of her parents. The disbelief, the certainty that it was a nightmare, and the way she’d expected them to walk through the door for months and months. The loneliness, the panic attacks because you were so alone.
    Her Mother Superior’s passing had not been so completely unexpected, but it hadn’t been a long illness, and then that terrible void again that had reminded her so much of the first one.
    And surely Max Goodwin had all the hallmarks of not being for her…
    She moved restlessly and thought, It’s not only that.
    Apart from those few fleeting moments when she’d thought she’d sensed something between them, he’d given no other sign he’d been struck by this strange fever, this unquenchable thirst…
    She had to smile slightly at her flowery imagery, but it was a wistful little smile all the same. And she found herself wondering if there was a current woman in his life, perhaps not significant but…?
    She sat up and put her cup down as she heard sounds indicating that Nicky and Nemo had returned from the beach. She would have to be very careful there. Bad enough to have his father clutch her heartstrings, but both of them!
    So, yes, it could be well and truly said that she was running away. She’d just have to be less obvious about it. She’d have to be on guard, but at least for the next three days she could also be her practical, down-to-earth self.
    She didn’t meet Max again until dinner.
    She hadn’t planned on eating alone with him, but when she’d suggested to the housekeeper that she might eat with the rest of the staff, the idea had been knocked smartly on the head.
    She was told that Mr Goodwin had ordered dinner for seven-thirty, with Miss Hill. They were seated on the terrace at a small table. The larger tables had been cleared away and the clear plastic blinds had been lowered to keep out the cool night air. The lights on the jetty were reflecting in the indigo waters beyond and two flaming braziers lit the steps down to it.
    They were consuming another elegant meal, seafood chowder followed by a veal and mushroom casserole—Alex had the feeling that nothing less than elegant and delicious was ever served in this house.
    ‘How did you get on with Nicky after I brought him back from the beach?’ Max queried and looked around with a grimace. ‘It’s very quiet and peaceful.’ Max’s hair still looked wind-ruffled, Alex noted.
    ‘Fine. We drew and coloured in—he’s very artistic. We played Snakes and Ladders and Snap and that took us up to his supper time.’ She smiled suddenly. ‘He requested fish fingers, to the horror of your housekeeper—she didn’t have any—
    but in the end he was perfectly happy with fresh fish and home-made chips.’
    Alex paused and laid down her knife and fork to raise her wine glass to her lips. After she’d sipped the golden liquid, she added, ‘His previous nanny, if not his grandmother or his mother, seems to have instilled a good routine. By seven o’clock, after we took Nemo for a walk, he was ready for bed with no fuss, no bother.’ She paused again. ‘He calls you Max.’
    Max Goodwin studied her thoughtfully. Gone were the elegant outfits—she was back to ultra-casual: jeans and a jumper. Gone also was any semblance of makeup, although she hadn’t been able to restore her hair to its former unmanageable, mousey knot. And her glasses were

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