Wedding Vow of Revenge

By: Lucy Monroe

“Do you speak Italian?”


“Oh…I took French in high school, but I was always more interested in numbers than languages.”

“I’m fluent in several. It comes with the territory, but my mother spoke Italian to me always and we spent part of every year in Sicily with her family.”

“You said she was Sicilian earlier…is she no longer alive?”

“She and my father died within two years of each other.”

“I’ve heard about that kind of devotion…one can’t go on living without the other.” She’d always questioned it though…wondering if two people could ever really be that necessary to each other.

His face contorted as if in pain, but then went so blank she had to wonder if she’d imagined the first expression. “They loved each other very much.”

He said it so coldly, as if he was unmoved by his parents’ emotion.

Still…“Their deaths must have been very hard on you.”

“I survived.”

She nodded. He was too strong not to have done, but she wondered for just a second what the cost had been for him to be so detached about it now.

“My dad walked when I was two.” Tara said after a silent pause. “He didn’t know the meaning of the word devotion.” Or commitment. Or love for that matter.

“Did your mother remarry?”

“Eventually. I had a few uncles who were every bit as allergic to the c-word as my dad before Darren Colby, my step-father, came into our lives.”

“That doesn’t sound like an ideal childhood.”

“That’s one way of putting it.” She laughed, shocked at herself for sharing so much with a man she was determined not to get involved with.

The same thing had happened the night before. It bothered her, but a barrier that existed between her and the rest of the world seemed to be missing with him. Odd, but apparently it wasn’t something she could do much about.

It was like her normal privacy filter was switched off around him.

Thank goodness he was only in Portland for a visit to his company and would be gone soon.

“Your mother must have had lousy taste in her partners,” he said.

“That depends on how you look at it. She’s drawn to dynamic, powerful men. Men a lot like you.”

“For you to have had several male figures in your childhood, they must have been drawn to her, too.”

“For a while anyway. She’s beautiful.”

“You say that like it’s a curse.”

“None of the men who dumped on my mom would have given her the time of day if she’d been plain.”

“And perhaps Baron Randall would not have been attracted to you if you were not equally as beautiful?”

“I prefer not to talk about him.”

“But he is the reason you are so reticent about becoming my friend.”

“I never said that.”

“Do you deny it?”


“And the man your mom married, Colby. I bet he was also attracted to her beauty.”

“Darren would love Mom if she was fifty pounds overweight and had a mole on her chin.”

“He sounds like a great guy, but wasn’t he first attracted by her beauty?”

“I suppose.”

“So, it isn’t always a curse.”

“No, but then there aren’t that many men in the world like Darren.”

“Maybe there are more than you think.”

Did Angelo want her to believe he was one of them?

The prospect that he might was even scarier than her own urge to find out.

Over the next few days, Tara couldn’t help feeling he was trying to convince her of that very thing.

Against her will, she found herself more and more attracted to the business tycoon who admired her brain and never criticized the fact she played down her beauty. He was charming to everyone, making Danette practically faint with excitement when he accepted an invitation to an informal barbecue at her place on Thursday night.

Under her brazen front, Danette was actually pretty shy and this would be the first major event she’d hosted at the condo her parents had insisted on helping her buy. Members of the city’s elite, they had no problem providing their daughter with a home most people couldn’t afford after working twenty years.

Even so, Danette had been worried about the success of her party and told Tara so. Having Angelo’s attendance was a major coup, especially since so many other partygoers would be from Primo Tech.

“And don’t you even think about trying to get out of coming now that you know he’s going to be there,” Danette said seconds after Angelo exited their work area.

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