In his bedroom overlooking the impressive Calcott Manor grounds, British-born Rigby stood by the huge window, gazing across the wide swathe of lawn to what he knew to be the family’s favorite sitting room, the one facing the massive rose garden. He’d come here as a young adult, accompanying his godmother, Jocelyn, and her husband, Arthur, when they visited Avangeline and her five grandsons. When he’d established his sports agency business, Soren was the first client he signed. The family had taken an immense leap of faith by appointing him as Soren’s agent and he would forever be grateful for their trust in him. It had all started with Soren, and Rigby was now regarded as one of the best sports agents in the world.
Jocelyn and Arthur had been better parents to him than his own and he adored them. But was it wrong to feel a little grateful that they weren’t attending this function because of a previous engagement? He’d spent some time with them in London a few weeks ago, and Jocelyn didn’t stop nagging him about his love life, or lack thereof. Apparently, she wanted to hold his babies in her arms before she died. Rigby snorted—Jocelyn had more energy than a twenty-year-old and wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Besides, he’d been married. He’d been a husband. Then became a widower and wasn’t interested in reliving the past. Why would he want to bang a set of red-hot nails into his heart again? Nope, he had brief flings, shallow encounters, and they suited him.
Rigby watched as Jace, Calcott’s ex-housekeeper, raced out of the front door and across the lawn to the driveway. Pasco Kildare, a sculptor he’d long admired, followed her. He turned to see who’d caught their attention and there, climbing out of a stretch limousine, was, crap, his godmother.
“I don’t friggin’ believe it.” He rested his forehead against the window frame and gently banged it. “Let the nagging commence.”
“Did you say something?”
Rigby turned around to see Madigan standing in the open doorway to his room, the skirt of her pretty summer dress, a pale mint color, fluttering around her legs. Thick, straight hair dropped past her shoulders, and her cheekbones were high and prominent. He loved the color of her skin—it was a shade deeper than olive and hinted at Greek or Arabic heritage. Her eyes were a deep brown and stunning. With her long-limbed, slim body, he easily understood why she’d been one of the most sought-after models in the world. But these days, she could be found behind the camera and not in front of it.
Seeing her puzzled frown at his silence—she was so gorgeous she stopped the blood from going to his brain—he ran a hand over his face. “Sorry.” He gestured to his window and Madi crossed the room to where he stood. He inhaled her fragrant citrus scent and resisted the urge to bury his face in her neck. And then work his way down.
“Jace and Pasco are greeting Jocelyn and Arthur. They’re close friends of Avangeline’s, almost family, in fact.”
“I know Jocelyn, quite well, actually,” Rigby said, turning his back to the window and resting his butt cheeks on the sill. “She’s my godmother. She’s also intent on setting me up.” He rubbed his hand over his lower jaw before continuing. “Eliot and Soren are amateurs in the art of matchmaking, and Jocelyn has a master’s degree. By the end of this week, I will have been introduced to at least a dozen highly suitable candidates, another dozen who could be brought up to scratch and another handful who would do in a pinch.”
His British accent always deepened when he was frustrated, and he sounded like the private-school aristocrat that he’d been brought up to be. He also sounded like a prize twit.
“Oh, dear.” Madigan laughed. She folded her arms and leaned her shoulder into the window. “So why is Jocelyn so desperate to set you up? Being so ugly and unsuccessful, I assume you have a huge problem meeting women.”
He grinned at her sarcasm. “I was married for a few years and then my wife died.”
“I’m sorry,” Madi murmured.
He nodded his thanks. “Jocelyn thinks we were an advert for the perfect marriage, and she wants that for me again.”
“Weren’t you?” Madigan asked. “Happy, that is?”
She was smart as well as beautiful, but Rigby had no intention of telling her that his marriage, unbeknownst to him, had been a train wreck. He’d thought they’d been happy but had no idea that his wife was having an affair. Love not only blinded him, it also made him stupid.
Rigby pushed his hand into his hair and pulled himself back to the here and now, to this room and the gorgeous woman standing in front of him. He looked out the window and saw Jace guiding Jocelyn, an arm around her waist, into the house and knew that he would have to make his way to the main house and say hello to his bossy-as-hell godmother.
Calcott Manor was a big place. He could avoid her for a day, maybe a day and a half. Okay, now he was being pathetic. But God, she could be relentless.
“So, I take it by that how-soon-can-I-leave look on your face that you are not keen on Jocelyn’s matchmaking scheme?”
“I’d rather have my toenails yanked off with acid-tipped pliers,” Rigby replied. “I’m a bit of a commitment-phobe, actually.”
Madi slapped her hand on her chest, her eyes widening dramatically. “Really? I couldn’t tell. I don’t think you were very clear earlier when you told Soren and Eliot that you are resolutely single.”
“Smart-ass,” Rigby replied, but couldn’t help his smile. He stretched out his legs and his green eyes met hers. “You told them you had terrible taste in men. Were they really so bad?”
Madigan nodded. “They really were. I have awful taste in men but I’m brilliant when it comes to fantasy lovers!”
What on earth did she mean by that? Before he could ask, she blushed and patted his arm.
“Well, you don’t need to avoid me—trust me, I have no intention of falling for you!”
He looked at her and couldn’t help thinking that was a very great pity. Because he could, quite easily, just for a few nights, fall for her.
Log in or create an account to read the next chapter of "Just One Room…"
Every month we select a new title from one of our authors so that you can discover new stories, locations and genres for free.