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76664991 Patricia Wilson the Ortiga Marriage

76664991 Patricia Wilson the Ortiga Marriage

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Published by: parul_saxena19868979 on Aug 28, 2012
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07/10/2013

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Patricia WilsonThe Ortiga Marriage
He was all she'd longed for, all she feared.The same call that delivered the tragic news of her mother’s death delivered Meriel back into the force field that was Ramon Ortiga-the man she had left Venezuela sevenyears ago to escape. Nevertheless, Merry couldn't ignore the pain of her young brother, Manuel, and feltimpelled to return to the hacienda to guide him through his grief.But Merry knew that going back meant being trapped by her own yearnings for theman who had once protected and dominated her—for the aristocratic and unbendingmale that was Ramon Ortiga.CHAPTER ONE'TELEPHONE call for you, Miss Curtis!'The voice came clearly to Meriel as she crossed the foyer of the Mackensie Buildingand she raised a hand in acknowledgement, hurrying on and into the lift.'Hold it, will you? I'll take it as soon as I reach my office.''Right, Miss Curtis. It's an overseas call.'Meriel nodded pleasantly as the lift doors swished closed and the silent speed liftedher to her third-floor office. Overseas. That would be the call from France. She had been almost certain that she had got the Paris contract and they had promised to ringtoday if the news was good. Stewart Mackensie was going to have to eat his hat after all. She grinned to herself, looking forward to the next few minutes, cherishing themoment when she could take the lift back down and walk into his office in a casualmanner with the news.Her floor reached, she walked quickly along to her office, her long legs closing thegap between the lift and her own office door with easy, swinging steps, her slender height perfectly balanced. The cap of thick, blonde hair cut in a loose pageboy styleswung too as she walked and there was nothing but pleasure on her flawlessly beautiful face. The Paris contract! The biggest thing she had pulled off yet!'All right, Sandra. I've arrived.''Yes, Miss Curtis. Your call from Venezuela, Miss Curtis.' The telephonist slid intoher professional voice as the line was connected but Meriel froze into icy stillness.'Meriel?' She didn't answer. She couldn't answer. She had been expecting to hear aFrench voice, her mind attuned to it, and everything inside her chilled at the deepvoice, the softly spoken Spanish sound of her name. For one blinding second, theroom dimmed, fading to almost nothing.
 
'Meriel!' No question now, a command, his natural attitude to life. 'I will assume thatyou are there but if you do not intend to reply, have the courtesy to replace thereceiver. I do not have all the time in the world to listen to empty miles of space!'Meriel sank into her seat, her mouth dry. Seconds before she had been smiling, her world filled with promise, and now she was shaking, stricken, unable to breathe as thevoice of Ramon Ortiga struck out at her from half-way across the world.'I'm here.' She managed it with no stammers, no hesitation, no sign of fear. 'I wasexpecting a call from Paris; the change of direction and language stunned me for asecond. I had to re-orientate my mind from business.''I am well aware of your importance in the world of the Mackensie Press,' he saidcoldly. 'I am phoning you because it is necessary. Your call from Paris will have towait.'Her hand gripped the receiver so hard that she doubted her ability to relax her fingers.Why didn't she simply put the phone down? Why did she sit here with her hearthammering in a panic as she listened to the sound of a voice she had thought never tohear again? The arrogance of his voice came across the miles and she could imaginehis face, cold, aristocratic, handsome and unbending. She could see again the dark,dark eyes that could flash with fire and narrow to glittering points of anger. She couldsee the tall, lean, athletic frame leaning indolently against the huge shining desk in hisstudy and it took every bit of her considerable spirit to get a grip on her feelings, torealise that she was free of the Ortiga domination, had been free of it for years.'Then as you are paying for this expensive and so far pointless call, may I suggest thatyou proceed with it?' she said coolly. 'My call from Paris will no doubt be receivedwhen this line is clear, therefore, to save you expense and me irritation, please come tothe point of your call.'There was a silence and she could imagine his raised eyebrows. He had always donethat when she had answered back, not that she had answered back very often, butwhen her nerve had been up to it and she had defended herself his attitude had always been one of aloof surprise, raised black brows, a wryly amused twist to his lips.Hatred shot through her like a searing flame and she forestalled his reply.'I am waiting! I also do not have all the time in the world to listen to empty miles of space, Senor Ortiga!''Por Dios!' he snapped in an unexpected burst of temper. 'I have been Ramon to youfor many years of your life; has your lengthy stay with your own countrymen robbedyou of any little courtesy we were able to force into you? I am your stepbrother!''You are nothing.' Merial answered flatly, her voice empty of emotion. 'You are a manwho is ringing me from Venezuela, criticising me for my conduct. Your right to dothat ended long ago when you told me to get back to my own kind. I am with my ownkind, with my own countrymen, and you no longer have any right to call me to order.
 
Unless you come to the substance of this call, I shall replace the receiver as you at firstsuggested. I am expecting an important call and I am at work. I do not have time toconduct a transatlantic battle, nor do I have the interest.'She stopped speaking and her eyes caught sight of her reflection in the facing mirror.Her face was white and strained, her eyes haunted and she could hear the sound of her own heart.'Meriel.' He paused and she strained her ears to ascertain if what she had thought wascorrect. His voice had softened, dropped to a low murmur as she remembered it coulddo.'Meriel—you must come home.''I am home! I live here, work here. Everything that I...''Meriel!' The sharp command cut into her heated reply leaving her no further chanceto talk. 'There has been an accident. Your mother and my father were in a plane crash.For the love of God do not say anything more! Do not continue with your fight nowfrom so far away, saying words that you will later regret.' He paused and she was sostunned that she could not think of any words at all. The news would just not sink in.'Come home, Meriel. Now!''My mother! Where is she? How are they? Ramon!'The poignant cry was completely out of the past. The office and her importance, thesecurity of her life in England faded away and she was back in the land where she hadspent her childhood years. She was calling his name with the same despairingurgency.They are dead, both of them. There is no other way to tell you except in this way. Onesharp blow is better than an endless sawing away at the heart.'There was just the tiniest hint of compassion in the deep, proud voice but Meriel barely heard it. She could see the beautiful, cold face of her mother, the proud andindifferent face of her stepfather, and though she had thought at one time that shewould never want to see them again, the realisation that now she never would hit her like a hammer blow.'You are all right?' Ramon's voice pulled her back in time and she took a deepsteadying breath, closing her eyes for a minute but failing to blot out the bitter memories.'Yes, I'm all right. I'll come at once. When is the funeral?''The funeral was this morning.'She gasped aloud at the even statement, colour from shock and disbelief flooding her face.'You—you dare to tell me that you held a funeral for my mother—my mother—and Iwas not informed?'

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