Exclusive excerpt from
Rebecca Grenville A Romance Volume I
He stopped at our table.
“Good evening, Rebecca and friend.”
I was so shocked I could hardly speak.
“Well, Becs,” Jane looked at me, “aren’t you going to introduce this handsome man?”
“Yes, yes, of course. Jane, this is Will King, the gentleman I interviewed today. Will, this is my best friend Jane.”
“Pleased to meet you, Jane.” Will took Jane’s hand and lightly brushed it with his mouth. “Charmed.”
This time it was Jane’s turn to be struck dumb.
I tried to be as casual as possible. “Don’t worry, Jane. It’s just a habit he picked up while he was living in France. Or so he told me.”
Will smiled that devastating smile of his. “Ladies, may I sit down?”
“Feel free,” I said almost too casually. What was he doing here?
Will sat down. “I guess you’re surprised to see me, Rebecca.”
“Just a bit,” I lied. I was very, very surprised to say the least.
“Well, I thought you were going to ring me to tell me that you had the all clear from your boss Mr Wortle to publish the article and the photos. When you didn’t ring I assumed either everything was okay or that you had simply forgotten.”
“Actually, Will, I had forgotten. But as Mr Wortle was very satisfied with both the article and the photos there was no need to get in touch with you. But how did you know where I was?”
“I didn’t. I rang up Charles Phan to ask if there was anyone interesting in the restaurant and he told me there were two beautiful young ladies that I should come and meet.”
“What! I don’t believe you.”
Will laughed. “Good. Beautiful young ladies should be aware of predatory men.” He paused. “No, I happen to be a regular here and I was thinking of coming for dinner but as it was getting on and I needed a break I thought I would come in and then maybe have a cup of coffee and well here I am and here are you two and let’s order coffee.”
I looked at Will closely. Was he spinning me a line or was he telling the truth? It was far too much of a coincidence that he should suddenly turn up here when we were here.
Will raised a hand and a waiter arrived at once. Will ordered the coffee, checked with us that what he had ordered was okay and off went the waiter to fulfil the order.
“Do you come here often, Rebecca? I don’t think I’ve seen you here before.”
“I’ve been here before but not often. I think Jane is more of a regular.”
God, I’m so nervous it’s untrue. Jane is staring at me. I twist in my seat as if I have ants in my pants.
“Is your boyfriend not with you tonight?”
What? I’ve never mentioned a boyfriend. Why did he say that? And then it dawns on me but not immediately and by then I’ve told him presumably what he wanted to know.
“No. I don’t have a boyfriend.”
Jane butted in. “Becs could enter a nunnery she’s so not into men.”
I try and kick her but cannot reach. “That’s not true. I just don’t go around chasing every man that looks presentable unlike some people I know,” I say meaningfully.
“Oh,” Jane says. “That hit a raw nerve.”
“It certainly did,” Will laughed. “Tell me a little about yourself, Rebecca.”
“What do you want to know? Why?”
“Well, you’ve interviewed me today so now that we are here together I thought I might as well ask you a few questions for a change.”
“Well, I’m a recent graduate as you know and I just started my first job at StartUp magazine. What else do you want to know?”
“Just the usual stuff, you know. Your parents. Siblings. Interests.”
“I know you offered me a job, Will, but I don’t want to be interviewed like this.”
“Well, how do you want to be interviewed?”
Jane looked from me to Will from Will to me and shook her head. “Perhaps it would be better if I left you two alone.”
“No,” I almost shrieked. “I mean we came out together and it’s wrong of Mr William King to intrude like this.”
Just then the coffee arrived. Will stood up. “Perhaps I had better leave. Enjoy your coffee.”
“Sit down, Will. Please. You’re embarrassing me.” I blushed. “Stay for coffee, please.”
We sipped at our coffee in silence for a few moments then Jane piped up.
“To save you asking any questions embarrassing or otherwise, Will, I will tell you a few things I know about Becs that you may be interested in and that I’m pretty sure she won’t mind me telling you.”
“Don’t worry, Becs, I’m just going to tell Will how we met and how we studied together and how we share an apartment and how we are best friends and stuff like that. Okay?”
“Becs and I have been best friends since she moved next door to me when we were both about thirteen. She comes from an Amish community in upper New York state and her family moved here to San Luis Obispo where I come from originally. I think some of her relatives still live there. New York state I mean.”
I nodded. “Yes, I have a few cousins in the Conewango Valley.”
Will was obviously intrigued at this revelation. “Amish, eh? That must have been very different to your life here in California.”
“Yes, it was. It’s why we moved. You see a lot of people have the idea that life in an Amish community is all sweetness and harmony. Well, it isn’t necessarily. Not that it isn’t full of some very good people because where I come from in many ways was a wonderful place. But you still get the odd bad apple and sometimes some of the elders do not deal with matters the way they should.”
I shut up. I had already said far too much. Will and Jane both stared at me wanting me to go on.
“What? That’s it. For now. I’ve already told you too much. Maybe I’ll tell you more if I get to know you better, Will.”
God, where did that come from? Do I want to get to know him better? Do I expect to get to know him better?
Will smiles. “Do you want to know me better, Rebecca?”
Jane coughs and stares into her coffee. Then she looks up and arches an eyebrow as if to say, “Say something, Becs!”
I shrug my shoulders in a very non-committal way. “Perhaps.” I cannot believe I’m acting this way. This man opposite me is the most gorgeous creature I’ve ever seen. He’s also possibly the first man who has ever stirred my interest.
Jane stands up. “I’m not going to leave you on your own, Becs, with a man I know very little about but I am going to give you some space. You two have obviously got things to talk about. (She makes a face as if to say, “Be nice.”) I’ve just spotted a friend of mine in the corner over there. I’ll go and have a chat with her.”
Before I can protest Jane has gone across the restaurant to talk to her friend.
I look at Will. God, he is so, so beautiful. Are men supposed to be so beautiful? He doesn’t give George Clooney a look in.
I don’t know what to say.