Once Bitten, Twice Shy (Chapter Nine, page 1 of 5)

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Nothing more was said about the incident at the barn. Apparently Alex didn't want to talk about his relationship with Lori. In fact, it wasn't any of her business. After all, she had no claim on Alex. So when Lori picked him up again Easter Sunday morning, Carmen said nothing - except a prayer that Josh wouldn't catch him. If Alex was interested in Lori, Josh had no right to insist he make an honest woman of Carmen. That was another thing that irked her. Apparently Josh thought they were having an affair. Of course, it did look suspicious, and if she had come across Lori and Alex doing the same thing . . . She caught her breath. But it wasn't innocent. They were doing exactly what Josh had thought. Would it have looked any better if he had come in a few minutes earlier when Alex had his hand under her shirt? And hadn't she been a willing participant? Alex had forced himself on her - taken advantage of her. The only thing Josh didn't know was that Alex had stopped when she protested. Unwittingly, she had set Alex up for a fall. And yet his only attempt at defense had been to tell Josh that things weren't as they appeared. He wasn't defending himself, though. He was defending her honor. She was willing to bet the farm on it.

Still, if Alex had been trying to get somewhere with her, why wouldn't he have tried with Lori? And hadn't he told Josh that it wasn't what it looked like - when it was exactly what it looked like? Should she fight for him, or was she better off without him?

Alex was back by lunch and unusually quiet when they sat down to eat. No doubt he was thinking about Lori. Katie glanced at him questioningly a few times, but he gave his attention to his food. Finally Katie could bare the silence no longer.

"I have an announcement to make."

She had their undivided attention.

"Bill and I are getting married - next weekend."

Alex lifted one brow. "Don't you think that's a little sudden?"

She scowled at him. "We've been dating for over a year."

Alex smiled. "I meant the wedding date. It doesn't give me much time for preparations."

She shrugged. "We don't want a big wedding, and we've already made the arrangements." She gnawed on her lower lip and shifted in her chair. "We didn't want you to pay for our wedding."

He lifted his tea glass and examined the amber liquid. "I don't mind, you know. I've put the past behind me." His gaze shifted meaningfully to Carmen.

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