Demon’s Little Lamb
The last person in the world Lamb expected to see tonight was James. She was so surprised and genuinely glad to see him, she forgot where she was or that there were people around them. She hugged him fiercely.
“I’m so glad to see you!” Letting him go and pulling back to smile up at him, Lamb continued in a rush. “I thought I’d never see you again! When I left, I forgot to get your number or even an email address!” Then she noticed the woman standing next to him who’d sidled closer, slipping her hand around his upper arm.
And her stomach dropped.
She looked from one of them to the other, realizing she’d fucked up royally. Stupid mistake. She should have gotten a feel for the atmosphere before she threw herself at James. Hell, this was a formal party. Throwing oneself at anyone wasn’t the proper way to behave in this setting.
“I’m so sorry,” Lamb said, backing off and looking down at the floor in embarrassment. “I hope neither of you will be offended. I was just happy to see James and didn’t consider he’d be with someone else.” She looked at the woman next to him when she spoke. “Please forgive my forwardness.”
“You must be an old friend of Robert’s,” the woman answered. She didn’t sound unkind or even angry. Just… cold. Stiff. Almost resigned. As if she’d been through all this before and didn’t like it any more now than she had in the past.
“Uh, yes.” Lamb shook her head, flustered. “No. Not exactly. We met a few months ago in Key West.” She met the woman’s gaze, hoping to convey her acceptance that Robert was with another woman. “I apologize for intruding.”
“Key West?” She turned sharply to Robert. “You met her in Key West?”
“Miss Newsome was on a holiday she’d rescheduled from spring break. We talked in a bar for a brief period, my love.”
The “my love” part made Lamb inhale sharply, something the woman didn’t miss. Lamb also was acutely aware he’d reduced their week together to a mere few minutes in a bar.
“Well, Miss Newsome. It’s lovely to have met you. I’m Mrs. Rachel Luxemberry. James’s wife of ten years.”
Lamb wished the floor could open up and swallow her whole. She’d slept with a married man. Not once, but many times over those days in paradise. No wonder he hadn’t contacted her. Or why he’d not given her a way to contact him. At the time, she’d kicked herself for not asking for a way to call him, to keep in touch. Looking back, he’d distracted her every time she’d intended to. As if he’d known what she’d want and had long experience avoiding it.
“I’m so sorry, Mrs. Luxemberry.” Finally, Lamb pulled herself together. “I wish I could say I’d heard so much about you, but was unaware James… that is, Mr. Luxemberry, was married. Please accept my sincerest apologies.” Without another word, Lamb ducked her head again and retreated. Unsure where exactly she was going, she made it her goal to get out of the ballroom and someplace private where she could regain her composure. Once she was sure she could keep it together, she’d touch base with a few more of her coworkers and her boss, then get the hell out of Dodge.