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“It was worth a try.”
His mother rolled her eyes, used to their antics, when Daniel heard footsteps from the den where his parents had emerged from earlier. He looked in the direction of the sound and froze. A ball of dread ricocheted in his gut. He knew the couple that now walked toward them, plastic smiles pasted on their suntanned faces.
“Oh, Linda, Kevin, join us!” his mother said, waving them closer. “Daniel, you remember the Boyds, don’t you? They stopped by unexpectedly.”
“Yes, of course. Hello, Linda, Kevin, nice to see you,” he greeted them politely.
He had nothing against the Boyds in general. They were typical rich people he’d been used to all his life. Unfortunately, they were friends with somebody he’d rather forget. He could only hope that they were well-mannered enough not to make any inappropriate comments.
“Good to see you again,” Kevin said, shaking his hand.
“Yes, it is. You didn’t bring Audrey?” Linda asked, looking Sabrina up and down as if she were a cow at a cattle market.
So much for Linda’s discretion.
Daniel cleared his throat. “Uh, no. Audrey and I broke up a while back.”
Simultaneously, both Linda and Kevin gasped in surprise. “You did? When?” Linda asked.
“About a month ago.” Daniel put his arm around Sabrina’s waist and pulled her closer.
“But why?” Linda interrupted him. “You were perfect together.”
Perfect? There’d been nothing perfect about his relationship with Audrey. Right down to the day they’d broken up, when he’d found her in bed with his attorney.
“Things didn’t work out.” He sensed Sabrina fidgeting next to him, clearly uncomfortable about the exchange. “This is Sabrina Palmer, my girlfriend.”
Kevin politely extended his hand and shook Sabrina’s. “Pleased to meet you.”
But Linda couldn’t drop the subject of Audrey. “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. What a pity. Audrey and you, you seemed so good together. Well—” She looked at Sabrina, forcing a smile. “I’m glad you found somebody new so quickly.”
But her facial expression belied her words. She was clearly suspecting Sabrina to be the reason for his breakup with Audrey.
Daniel’s good manners forbade him to tell her the truth about Audrey, namely that he’d caught her riding his attorney like a wild stallion.
With a sugary-sweet smile, Linda shook Sabrina’s hand. “I always love a great story. How did the two of you meet?”
“We were set up on a blind date,” Sabrina responded calmly, just the way they had agreed to answer this question when it came up.
He smiled. “Yes, that’s right. Friends of ours set us up.”
“My friend Holly and Daniel’s friend Tim are to blame.” Sabrina laughed nervously.
“Oh, isn’t that nice? It’s so good to have mutual friends, isn’t it? So if your best friend Tim and Sabrina’s friend Holly are friends, I’m surprised you didn’t meet any earlier,” Linda continued fishing for information. Clearly she was trying to figure out if he’d been cheating on Audrey with Sabrina.
Daniel took a calming breath. “You’ve met Tim if I’m not mistaken. As you probably remember, Tim lives in San Francisco. And since I live in New York, we don’t really know each other’s friends.”
“And you’re from San Francisco, Sabrina?” Kevin asked.
“Yes,” she replied, and then quickly added, “But I just moved to New York to be closer to Daniel.”
“Not to be closer to me, but to be with me. We’re living together,” Daniel said, wanting to make sure that the Boyds were aware that there was no way of him ever reconciling with Audrey.
Linda’s eyebrows shot up. “Living together? Oh!” She exchanged a look with her husband. “Well, you two aren’t wasting any time, are you? After knowing each other for such a short time?”
Next to him, Sabrina tensed and her grip on his waist tightened. She’d been worried about this exact thing, about people questioning them and prying into how they met.
“I don’t want to be rude, Linda,” his mother interrupted with a warm smile. “But I’d better get Daniel and Sabrina settled. I’m sure they’re tired from the drive. The traffic on a Friday afternoon is always murder! And I’m sure they’re hungry, too, aren’t you, kids?” She tossed him a conspiratorial look.