Nick arrived at the Summerhill house a few minutes earlier than Rosalind had asked him to come. But she answered the door almost instantly, so she must have been just as eager to see him as he was to see her.
"Hi," she said, smiling at him with her whole being. Her hair was loose today, and her lips were glossy and inviting.
She raised on her toes to kiss his cheek. "I'd do better," she whispered against his cheek, "but I'm afraid we may have an audience again."
He brushed her hair aside. "Fran?"
She shook her head. "No, my niece. She's fourteen, and I don't want to set a bad example for her. Although for all I know she could teach me a thing or two about sex."
He took her arm and led her away from the front door. "Do you want children?"
She shrugged. "With the right person, I suppose. I haven't thought too closely on it. You?"
"Yes." He wanted her to know what she was getting into. "I want at least two, with all the trappings."
She nodded thoughtfully as they walked. "You'd be a good father."
He blinked, surprised by the surge of pleasure her good opinion caused. "You think so?"
"Yes. You listen, and you care." Her mouth turned down. "My father did neither of those things. Actually, he didn't really want any of us."
"But he had"-he caught himself before he said seven children-"a lot of daughters."
"He wanted a son, so he had to keep trying, didn't he?" Her smile was tinged with bitterness. "We were always a disappointment to him."
"Is that why you moved away?"
"Primarily." She shrugged. "My best friend grew up in San Francisco, and I used to spend all my holidays there. I fell in love."
"I've never been to San Francisco." He opened the car door for her and handed her in.
"You should come visit."
"Okay." He smiled and went around to his side. After he strapped himself in and started the car, he said, "Where are we going?"
"Regent Street, near Oxford Circus."
"Shopping?" He groaned. Although the bright side was that he'd be forced to keep his hands off her.
"For wedding dresses. We have an appointment at four." She glanced at him. "I'll make it worth your while."
"I didn't doubt that for a moment." He pulled away from the curb. "Is this more research?"
"Yes, partly professional curiosity and partly for Sara."
He said nothing, willing the moment to pass quickly.
"Are you going to let me design your matron of honor dress?"
"Dress?" He looked at her over the rim of his sunglasses.
"I'd make sure you looked pretty. Maybe in pink, since you look so nice in it." The corner of her mouth kicked up. "Don't worry, I won't let Sara put you in ruffles."
"You're enjoying yourself," he accused as he took a tight turn to get off the main drag and onto a less busy side street.
She held on to the dash. "Don't take it out on me."
He slowed down immediately. "Sorry. All the stops drive me insane."
"Maybe you should be a Nascar racer instead of a lawyer."
"Nascar." He scowled at her. "Driving around in perfect circles for hours in utter lunacy. At least Formula One circuits have challenging surprises. If I had the choice between driving fast in circles or not driving fast, I know which option I'd take."