The Spanish Billionaire's Hired Bride(5)

By: Rachel Lyndhurst

“Don’t worry,” Ricardo said as his long fingers tapped impatiently on his knee. “We’re just coming onto a straight bit, so I can speed up.”

“Oh, good,” Helen said looking warily across at his angular profile. “How long until we’re back in town?”

“About ten minutes.” He flicked through at least three gears before she could even gasp. The bus took about half an hour.

“Don’t rush on my account.”

He grinned and looked straight ahead before flooring the accelerator.

The sensation was like being struck from behind by a runaway juggernaut. The engine roared, its power prickling the soles of her feet as they shot along the peninsula. She couldn’t help admiring how the mechanical beast submitted to its master’s touch, fluidly cornering each sharp bend. It was thrilling. It was dangerous.

This was the second time today she had faced the prospect of an untimely death, and on both occasions at the hands of Ricardo Almanza. The sooner she could get out of this car and away from him the better. She didn’t have time to die on Ibiza, and more to the point, she couldn’t afford to. She didn’t like the effect he was having on her. She had much more important things to do than indulge in wild fantasies involving Spanish playboys.

“So, tell me,” Ricardo suddenly said, his voice raised above the throaty roar the engine. “What brings you to work in Ibiza?”

“Oh this and that. It’s a beautiful part of the world.” She felt a surge of relief as she spotted a sign indicating the harbor was just one mile away. The ordeal would soon be over.

“How long are you here for? Six months or so? What’s the deal?” After a few seconds of silence, Ricardo gestured with a hand that he was waiting for an answer.

Helen sighed. She had nothing to lose by telling him. “I came over last season with some friends. I needed a break. I liked it and decided to stay for a while. It wasn’t planned from the outset. I had a few jobs, office work, bars, and when my last contract was terminated I needed to get a better-paid job quickly. I got lucky, and an agency came up with the position for your stepmother. The money was so good I said yes immediately.”

Ricardo nodded thoughtfully. “How long is your contract?”

“We agreed to work on a week to week basis,” Helen said cautiously. “I guess she needs to be sure that I’m up to the job. Although I’ve made it clear I probably won’t stay any longer than six months. I should head back to England after that.”

“It’s all about the money then?” Ricardo said as he carefully inched the Ferrari through the narrowing streets of Ibiza town.

“It’s amazing here, and I’d love to stay for lots of reasons, but I have responsibilities back home.” Her thoughts jettisoned back to the ungodly mess waiting in England and her resolve stiffened. Her own dreams would have to wait. “So, yes, it’s all about the money for now. It has to be.”

Ricardo slowed the car to a crawl and looked quickly left and right. “Where to next?”

“You can drop me here and I’ll walk the rest of the way. I’m just off Calle Manuel round the corner, it’s not far.”

“No, I’ll take you to your door. It’s dark,” he said and kept on driving.

Helen smiled and unzipped her handbag. “Ibiza town is never really dark and your car won’t fit in the road outside my place, it’s too narrow.” She found her house keys and rattled them in her fingers. “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.”

“Humor me. I won’t sleep from worry if I don’t see you safely home.”

“So gallant.” She pointed to the left. “Just there, by the postbox. It’s as close as you’re going to get.”

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