“How does it feel to be a magnificent blessing?” Four asked with a grin.
Mackenzie did her best not to groan. “It’s better than last year when she said I was a miracle brought into the family to take Bel Après to greatness. Although technically I’m pretty sure she said I brought a magnificent blessing, not that I was one.” She looked at her youngest sister-in-law. “Sorry about her enthusiasm.”
“Don’t be. We love you just as much. Or maybe more. Our love isn’t conditional.”
Four was right about that, Mackenzie thought. Barbara always claimed Mackenzie was her favorite, but that affection was very much tied to her work in the winery. If she hadn’t been interested in Bel Après, Mackenzie wasn’t completely sure Barbara would have allowed the wedding to take place.
“She is a challenge,” she murmured. “She is,” Four agreed. “She’s my mother and I love her, but there is something deeply wrong with her. I can’t figure out if she was traumatized as a child or if she was just plain born mean.”
The stark assessment surprised Mackenzie. “You think she’s mean?”
Four’s eyes brightened with amusement. “Do you think she’s nice?”
“I wouldn’t say nice. She can be…exacting. But she’s always been good to me.”
“She has, and you deserve her affection.” Four hugged her. “You have an open and giving heart that warms us all. You are the fairy dust that allows us to fly.” She waved her glass. “Oh, and you’re magnificent.”
The male voice came from behind her. Mackenzie turned to see Bruno Provencio walk up to join them. The man knew how to dress, she thought. Like Rhys, Bruno wore slacks and a long-sleeved shirt, but somehow the clothes were more elegant on him. Barbara said his clothes were all custom—a concept Mackenzie understood intellectually but made no sense to her on a day-to-day basis. Why take the time when you could buy stuff online and have it delivered with just a few clicks?
Something she would guess that Bruno had never done in his life, she thought, trying not to smile. Bruno came from money. He was good-looking, with dark hair and brown eyes, and carried himself with an air of confidence that added to the appeal.
One day she would be confident, too, she told herself. If not in this life, then maybe the next.
She groaned. “Don’t say magnificent, please. Barbara was just being…” “Her usual charming self,” Bruno said, taking Mackenzie’s free hand in his and leaning in to kiss her cheek. He did the same with Four.
“Successful party, as always,” he said.
“It’s all Stephanie,” Mackenzie told him, setting her empty glass on the passing server’s tray.
Bruno held out his hand to Mackenzie. “A dance?”
She smiled and nodded. She wasn’t sure if she gave off a nondancer vibe or if it was her position as Rhys’s wife and Barbara’s daughter-in-law, but almost none of the men at the party wanted to dance with her. But every year, Bruno asked and she happily agreed.
They moved toward the dance floor and joined the other couples there. Rhys was dancing and chatting with the owner of a local fashion boutique. Barbara and Giorgio were wrapped in each other’s arms.
Bruno put his hand on her waist, keeping a respectable distance, and they began to move to the music.
“Perfect weather for the party,” he said.
She glanced toward the setting sun. “It is. We were lucky it wasn’t too hot.” The high eighties were manageable, but a day in the nineties would have made for an uncomfortable event.
“We’re seeing more of you than usual,” she added. “Do you have new business in the area?”
Bruno was a wine distributor—at least that was how he described himself. She knew he also invested in a few wineries and had more money than God, and when he flew into town, he did so on a private jet. But aside from that, he was a mystery. A handsome mystery, but still, an unknown. “I’m thinking of buying a winery,” he admitted.
“You are? I knew you were an investor, but I didn’t think you wanted more than that.”
He gave her a half smile. “I like being in charge.”