Wanted by Her Lost Love(2)

By: Maya Banks

The problem was, the only people he counted as friends were Ryan, Devon and Rafe. He didn’t have much patience for anyone else.

“Sorry I’m late,” Cameron said as he approached the two men. Then he glanced over the dance floor and his gaze stopped when he came to Rafe and Bryony. “How did the ceremony go?”

“Oh, it was lovely,” Devon drawled. “All a woman could hope for, I’m guessing. Rafe didn’t give a damn as long as the end result was Bryony being his.”

Cam emitted a dry chuckle. “Poor bastard. I don’t know whether to offer my condolences or my congratulations.”

Ryan grinned. “Bryony’s a good woman. Rafe’s lucky to have her.”

Devon nodded and even Cameron smiled, if you could call the tiny lift at the corner of his mouth a true smile. Then Cam turned to Devon, his eyes gleaming with unholy amusement.

“Word is you’re not far from taking a trip down the aisle yourself.”

Devon muttered a crude expletive and flipped up his middle finger along the side of his wineglass. “Let’s not ruin Rafe’s wedding by talking about mine. I’m more interested in knowing whether you were able to acquire the site for the new location of our hotel since Moon Island is now officially a bust.”

Cam’s eyebrows went up in exaggerated shock. “You doubt me? I’ll have you know that twenty prime acres of beachfront property on St. Angelo is now ours. And I got a damn good deal. Better yet, construction will commence as soon as we can move crews in. If we really dig in, we’ll come close to hitting our original deadline for the grand opening.”

Their gazes automatically went to Rafe, who was still wrapped around his bride. Yeah, the man had caused them a major setback when he pulled the plug on the Moon Island venture, but it was hard for Ryan to get up in arms about it when Rafe looked so damn happy.

Ryan’s pocket vibrated, and he reached down to pull his phone out. He was about to hit the ignore button when he saw who was calling. He frowned. “Excuse me, I need to take this.”

Cameron and Devon waved him off and returned to their bantering as Ryan hurried out of the building. As soon as he stepped outside, the sea breeze ruffled his hair and the tang of salt filled his nose.

The weather was seasonable but by no means hot. It was about as perfect a day as you could ask for, especially for a wedding on the beach.

He turned to look at the distant waves and brought the phone to his ear.

“Beardsley,” he said by way of a terse greeting.

“I think I’ve found her,” his lead investigator said with no preamble.

Ryan tensed, his hand gripping the phone until his fingers went numb. “Where?”

“I haven’t had time to send a man to get a visual confirmation yet. I only just got the information in a few minutes ago. I felt strongly enough about her identity to give you a heads-up. I should know more by tomorrow.”

“Where?” Ryan demanded again.

“Houston. She’s working in a diner there. There was a mix-up originally in her social security number. Her employer reported it wrong. When he put in the correction, she popped on to my radar. I’ll have photos and a full report for you by tomorrow afternoon.”

Houston. The irony wasn’t lost on him. He’d been close to her all this time and never known it.

“No,” Ryan interjected. “I’ll go. I’m already in Texas. I can be in Houston in a couple of hours.”

There was a long silence over the phone. “Sir, it might not be her. I prefer to get confirmation before you take a needless trip.”

“You said it was most likely her,” Ryan said impatiently. “If it turns out not to be, I won’t hold you responsible.”

“Should I hold off my man then?”

Ryan paused, his lips tight, his grip on the phone even tighter. “If it’s Kelly, I’ll know. If it’s not, I’ll inform you so you can continue your search. There’s no need for you to send anyone down. I’ll go myself.”

Ryan drove through Westheimer in the blinding rain. His destination was a small café in west Houston where Kelly was waitressing. It shouldn’t surprise him. She’d been waitressing in a trendy New York café when they’d met. But the check he’d written her would have prevented her from needing to work for quite some time. He figured she would have returned to school. Even when they’d become engaged, she’d expressed the desire to finish her degree. He hadn’t understood it, but he’d supported her decision. The selfish part of him had wanted her to be completely reliant on him.

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