Husband Wanted: Will Train (Chapter Seven - Australia Can Wait, page 1 of 12)


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The day went pretty much as Charity had outlined. The repairman Ross called took care of the chandelier, which was remarkably undamaged by its trip to the ground. There was a wrangle at breakfast over who would do the cooking. Charity and Ross won out and spent an hour baking biscuits, frying eggs and broiling crisp bacon that filled the apartment with a cheerful aroma, much to the disgust of Faith and her little group. They opted for nuts and berries that they'd brought along with them.

Altogether, things weren't quite as peaceful as Charity had envisioned. Family discussions went quickly from speculation to heated accusation, with one person after another getting his or her feelings hurt.

Faith tried to lecture Aunt Doris on her eating habits, but the older woman would have none of it and turned to Mason, demanding to know how a grown man could justify wandering the earth like a nomad, with no evident intentions of ever settling down or even pursuing a career other than that of ski instructor.

Time and again Aunt Doris turned to Ross and Charity as though they somehow redeemed her faith in humanity and were her one haven in the storm.

Reluctantly Charity came to the conclusion that pretending to be married to Ross had been the right thing to do. She hated lying, but she liked to think that this lie had been a white one. She'd been helping someone, not hurting her. The only way to do better was to marry Ross for real.

That thought shook her, and she pushed it away into the margins of her concerns. But every time she looked at him, it grew stronger and stronger.

It was late morning when Ross got a telephone call from Henry Mertz, his business partner. Charity was the one who picked up the receiver.

"Is Ross available?" a deep voice asked.

Here was someone from Ross's real life. It forced her to consider that he did have other things going on besides this make-believe marriage.

Her first inclination was to slam down the phone and claim it had been a wrong number. There was no one else in the living room at the moment; she could easily do it. She didn't want to share him, didn't want to risk having something call him back to where he really belonged too soon.

But that was childish. She killed the temptation and spoke politely. "Just a moment; I'll get him for you."

"How are negotiations going?" the partner asked as soon as Ross got on the line. Henry wasn't really sure of the details, but he did know who Charity was and that Ross was engaged in a delicate operation aimed at getting her cooperation at last.

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