Defiant Mistress, Ruthless Millionaire

By: Yvonne Lindsay

After making the men coffee, Callie left them alone together and took her things upstairs. She put everything away and then, loath to interrupt Josh and his father in their first chance to get to know each other, she moved outside, onto the main bedroom balcony. She looked down the hill and out to the water and wondered how they were doing. How they were coping with discovering each other as father and son.

She didn’t hear Josh come up behind her. She simply felt his warmth and strength against her back, his arms sliding around her waist. She leaned back against his chest.

“He had to go. The Guildarian consulate function is tonight, but he wants to come over tomorrow—to spend part of Christmas Day with us. He said he’s missed too many of them now to want to miss this one.”

“So everything’s okay?” she asked.

“Better than okay. I really didn’t know how it would feel—to actually see him face-to-face. To have him acknowledge that he is my father. But it was incredible. He talked to me about Mum, about how he tried to find her after she’d gone, but she’d done too good a job of disappearing. He kept an eye on the electoral rolls for years, hoping she’d crop up and he’d then be able to make sure she was okay. In the end he concluded that she must have left the country.” Josh took a deep breath and let it go in a rush of air. “I gave him the letters. I explained what you’d tried to do and we decided the best thing was to let them go. He finished what you started.”

“I’m glad. They needed to be let go.”

“Yeah. I know you can’t hold on to the past forever. He’s still very angry with Irene, but I know he will eventually forgive her. She finally told him the truth. Maybe they can start afresh when they move overseas. Who knows?”

“She had to protect what was hers. I know what she did came at a terrible cost to you and your mother, but she must have been desperately afraid of losing her husband. What’s important is that she did the right thing in the end.”

Josh pressed a kiss on the top of her head. “You’re too soft, you know that?”

“Maybe I am, but it got me you, didn’t it?”

“You’re right. Maybe I do owe Irene something after all. By the way, Bruce and I sketched up a plan to help Palmer Enterprises through the losses they’ve incurred with that erroneous deal I set up. With Bruce and Irene leaving for Guildara, I’ll be working with Adam—my brother. My God, my brother! All these years I’ve envied him, even hated him for having everything I didn’t, and now we’ll be working together.”

“Adam’s a great guy—focussed. A lot like you really.” Callie smiled. “You’ll work well together—most of the time.”

“Yeah, we’re bound to bump heads every now and then, but we’ll be working toward the same purpose, for a change.” Josh nuzzled the side of Callie’s neck. “It was good to talk to Bruce. We might never get to be as close as we could have been, but right now I feel as if the last pieces of my life have slotted into place, and it’s all because of you.”

“Me? How?”

“I came this close to ruining my own father and you stopped me. You made me question whether I was doing the right thing. I’ll never be able to repay you for that, Callie.”

“You don’t need to repay me, just love me.”

“I will always love you. Thank you. For everything.”

As they turned together and walked back inside, Callie knew that this Christmas would be one they’d remember forever.

It was the start of the rest of their lives.

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