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Fake Christmas Lexy Timms 2022/8/3 13:45:47

The food was delicious. Chef Durand really had outdone himself, with grilled fish and coconut-flavored shrimp.

“I’m glad we came out here,” she finally said. “It really is beautiful.”

“Not as beautiful as you,” he said.

She smiled at him shyly and then let out a happy sigh. “It would be so nice to sleep out here tonight. Together. Under the stars.”

He reached for his glass of juice and took a gulp. “Why don’t we?”

“Where on earth would we sleep?” she asked. “I don’t know if sleeping on sand that could get wet is a very safe idea.”

“There are some hammocks out here,” he said. “We could sleep in those.”

Her entire face lit up. “Really? I’ve never slept in a hammock before.”

He chuckled. “An entire luxury villa all to yourself, and you get most excited about sleeping in a hammock.”

“It sounds like fun,” she said. “We can sleep out here by the ocean. Under all these beautiful lights.”

She looked up at the lit palm trees, the smile on her face reaching her bright green eyes.

“Okay,” he said. “When we’re done eating, we can sleep out here for the night.”

After eating, they cleared everything away and headed upstairs to change. Allyson put on a short, silky nightgown while he got into some swim trunks.

As she reached for her handbag, she raised an eyebrow as she looked him up and down. “You’re not seriously going to sleep in that, are you?”

He crossed his arms over his bare chest and looked down at her. “It’s warm out. Besides, if you share a hammock with me you’ll get to sleep next to this all night long.”

Allyson laughed. “In that case, come on.” She grabbed his hand and they headed back down to the beach.

Dane led her to a crowd of palm trees where several hammocks had been attached to trees. Still holding her hand, he helped her onto one of the hammocks and then lay beside her. Wrapping his arm around her, he pulled her close, the hammock swaying underneath them.

She gasped. “Oh wow, this is so much more comfortable than I thought it would be. It’s like floating on air.”

“We got married right there.” He stretched his hand out and pointed down the beach to where they had just picnicked.

Allyson snuggled up to him. The sensation of her soft, warm body was making his blood run hot. “Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.”

“Yes, it is,” he murmured. “How would you like to spend it?”

She bit her lip. “I’d like to spend it trying to get back home before Christmas Day.”

His heart started to pound. Whatever it was that had been troubling her these past few days, the answer was in New York. That was why she was still so focused on going home. That was why she could be back in the place they had gotten married and be barely present.

As much as he wanted to figure out what was going on, starting another argument right now wasn’t going to work. She had promised to tell him the truth. Somehow, that had to be enough. He was determined to trust her. Even if it meant he couldn’t confront her tonight.

Planting a kiss on the top of her head, he said, “I know you’d rather be in New York. But let’s try to get some sleep right now, and focus on getting home in the morning.”

“Thank you for being so understanding,” she said softly. “This can’t be easy for you.”

It wasn’t. But trusting his wife was the right thing to do.

Dane held her close until he slowly drifted off to dreamless sleep.

A loud ringing sound make him jerk awake. He stared down at his wife, still confused by the sound. Allyson stirred beside him, but didn’t open her eyes.

The ringing was coming from inside her handbag, which she had set on the sand under the hammock. Swinging out of the hammock, Dane reached for her bag to retrieve the ringing cell phone. It was probably one of her family members.

Stifling a yawn, he answered the phone. “Good morning.” Night was fading, and the early morning rays of the sun had turned everything into a hazy gold.

“ Allyson there?” A man’s voice. Not Cameron’s. One he didn’t recognize.

Suspicion made Dane narrow his eyes. “Who’s this?”