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Herbrowperkedupinsurprise.Whatwashetryingtopull?
Asgraciouslyaspossibleshepriedherhandloose.“No.Thankyou.”
Heturnedbacktoher.“Yes?”
Heglancedathiswatch.Shewasearly.Onlythreeandahalfminutes
Heleanedbackinhischairandfoldedhisarms.“Let’shearit.”
Charleshadn’tbeenkiddingwhenhesaidhislifewasinshambles
Itdidn’ttakelongtofindout
Easily.Byhavingsomeoneelsecheckhismessages
Herreactionseemedtoamusehim.“I askedifyou’reworkinglate.”
Shefeltasuddenwaveofalarm.Hissecretarywasgone?Meaningtheywerealone?
Shetriedonemorefirm“Hello!Anyonehere?”andwasmetwithsilence
Heshrugged.“I livehere.”
Sheshothimablandlook.“No.”
Sheshothimanotheroneofthoselooks.“No.”
Thistimeshestayedsilent.That’swhathefigured
Shejerkedawayandshotlasersathimwithhereyes.“Whatareyoudoing?”
Heheldhishandsupinadefensivegesture.“Sorry.Justbeingpolite.”
Heleanedforwardandproppedhiselbowsonthedesk.“I wasn’tnaked.”
Hereyeswentwidewithindignation.“I wasnotoglingyou!”
Herfacetwistedwithoutrage.“A gift?”
Probablymakingahugemistake.“Somethingagainstmybetterjudgment.”
Shehadtrustedhim.Sacrificedsomuchbecauseshethoughtsheowedhim
Andtherewasonlyonethinglefttodo.Onlyonethingshecoulddo
Shehandedhimthefile.“Thankyouforshowingmethis.Forbeinghonestwithme.”
Hisbrowfurrowed.“I don’tunderstand.”
Sheshookherhead.“You’vedonetoomuchalready.”
Helookedsurprised.“That’snotmuch.”
Henarrowedhiseyesather.“Sixweeks.”
Onecornerofhismouthtippedup.“I haveaharem?”
Heshotheraverycontrivedstunnedlook.“YoumeanI’mnot?”
Heshrugged.“Ifyousayso.”
Whatnow?Wasn’titabitearlyforadinnerinvitation?“Why?”
Herheartleaptupintoherthroat.“Thef-family?”
Butwhatwasshegoingtotell him?No?
Hestoppedandlookedbackather.“Youcoming?”
Charlesbrowfurrowedalittle.“Youokay?”
Charlesnodded.“She’sverycapable.”
SophienarrowedhereyesatCharles.“Whatdidyoudo?”
Hannahfrowned.“Butshewasn’tevenraisedhere.”
Charlesshookhishead.“I seriouslydoubtit.”
Helookeddownathiswifeandsmiled.“You’resureyouwanttodothisnow?”
Infacthedid.Eventhoughthe“date”inquestiondidn’tknowityet
Andhedidn’tlikeit
Charlesnodded.“Readytogo?”
Henodded.“Yep.”
Heshrugged.“All right.”
Shefoldedherarmsacrossherchest.“Letmeworryaboutthat.”
Hecouldn’thelpbutwonderwhereshe’dheardthat.“Accordingtowhom?”
Didhe?Diditevenmatter?Whenhadheevercaredwhatpeoplethoughtofhim?
Butcuriositygotthebestofhim.“I’mabigboy.I thinkI canhandleit.”
Nottosaythathewasanunfairemployer.Buthedidn’toweanyoneanexplanation
Thatonestoppedhim.“Whatdoyoumean?”
Sheshookherhead.“That’sreallysad.”
Hedownedthelastofhisdrinkandsignaledthewaiterforthecheck.“Weshouldgo.”
Heshrugged.“I don’treallyhavemuchchoice.”
Justrelax.Thisisnotasbadasitseems.You’recompletelyoverreacting
Hegesturedoutthewindow.“Youhaveanoceanview.”
Henoddedthoughtfully.“Andhowisthatworkingoutforyou?”
Shelookedatherwatch.“It’seight-twenty.”
Heshrugged.“So?”
Hopefullysomethingreallybad.“Hanging?”
Don’tlethimknow
Heshotheracuriouslook.“Seriously?”
Henarrowedhiseyesather.“Youdidn’treally.”
Heknewdamnedwell thatshehadn’tforgottenanything
Wasthatwhatshehadbeenreducedto?Servant’sstatus?
Butnowwasnotthetimeortheplacetorehashherfather’sbetrayal
Shedoubtedthat.Hismotherdidn’tstrikeherasthetypetosocializewiththehiredhelp
Eventhatwouldbetoosoon.Maybeshecouldjustsneakoutunnoticed
Forher?But…
Friendship?SincewhenweresheandCharlesfriends?
Hesmiled.“I takeitmymotherphonedyou.”
Hisbrowedgedintoafrown.“Howdoyoufigure?”
Hisintentionsweren’teventheissue.Thereal problemwasthatshesimplydidn’ttrusthim
Heshrugged.“Nomorethanahundredorso.”
Onehundred?Herheartseizedinherchest.All morewealthyandinfluential thanher
Heheldhishandsupdefensively.“Relax.I wasn’tsuggestingthat.”
Shesoftenedhertone.“I’msorry.I didn’tmeantosnap.”
Andwhoknew?Shemightevenhavefun
Whatinheaven’snamedidhewant?
Sowhywasn’tshedoinganythingtostophim?
Howdidhe…?
Whatwasitshejustfelt?Relieved?Flattered?
Hepastedaninnocentlookonhisface.“DidI forgettotell you?”
He’djustdonemoreharmthangood
Theangryfacadeslippedafraction.“I don’tknowwhatyou’retalkingabout.”
Sheshookherhead.“I’mnotsosure.Youhavenoideahowstubbornhecanbe.”
Wait…what?Howhadtheyjumpedfromdinnertoherbedroom?“I begyourpardon?”
Heactuallyfelt…guilty
Butheknewhereallyshouldn’t
Helookedsopeaceful.So…satisfied.A feelingshedefinitelyshared
Nice.Verynice
Hecouldhaveatleastsaidgoodbyebeforeheleft.Maybegivenheronelastkiss
Sheknows.SheknowswhatCharlesandI did
Shepressedthecall button.“Oneminute.”
Heshudderedandshookhishead.“Definitelynotmytype.”
Shelaughed.“That’snotwhatI meant.”
Hesmiled.“It’sgoingtobealotlongerthanaminuteortwo.”
Hestoppedkissingher.“Mywhat?”
Whatwashetalkingabout?“YesI did.”
Heshookhishead.“No.Yousaidsmother.‘Mysmothercalled.’”
Heshrugged.“What’sthedifference?”
Sheclosedhereyesandherheadjustsortoffell backonitsown.“I can’t.”
Hegrinnedupather.“Afternoonsnack?”
Shewasn’tathome
SpeakingofCharles…
Notthathehadrunyesterdaymorning.He’dgonetowork.Andhe’dleftanote
Sheshrugged.“Youjustseemtohavearoutine.”
Hisbrowperkedwithcuriosity.“I do?”
Shesmiledupathim.“I’dloveone.”
Royal FamilyRevealsIllegitimateHeir
Shejustwasn’treadytotrusthimyet.“Call me.”
Hefoldedhisarmsacrosshischest.“WhydoI getthefeelingthatmeansno?”
Sheshrugged.“Itmeanscall me.”
Charlesturnedtohim.“I likeher.”
Ethan’sbrowperkedwithcuriosity.“She’ll bethere?”
She’dlosthermumandherbrother.Shewasn’treadytolosehimtoo.Shecouldn’tbearit
Hewasall shehadleft.Theywereateam.Theyhadtosticktogether
Hemadeitsoundsosimple.“Howlong?”
Forhim?Whowouldheinvitetoherflat?
Sheshookherheadandeasedthetopbackinplace.“Itwill justhavetobeasurprise.”
HernamewasPip?Victoriabitherliptoholdbackanervousgiggle
A servantfollowedtheminwithVictoria’sluggage
Itwastimeslikethishehatedbeinganonlychild.“You’reonlyfifty-eight.”
Shesmiledandpattedhischeek.“That’smysweetboy.”
Shegavehimaplayful shove.“YouknowwhatI mean.”
Hehadn’tgottenboredwithheryet.Buthewould.Itwasinevitable
Shebitherlip.“Speechlessgoodorspeechlessbad?”
Andpeoplewerenoticing.Especiallythewomenwhowerevolleyingforhisattention
HerwordssentanexcitedshiverthroughVictoria.MaybeCharlesreallydidloveher
Insteadhewentcoldandstiffinherarms.Itwaslikedancingwithastoremannequin
A personwouldthinkshe’dhavelearnedbynow
Shewalkedpasthimtothedoorandhelditopen.“Pleaseleave.”
Whatwashetryingtosay?Whatdidhereallywantfromher?
Shedidn’tevenflinch
Itwouldbecruel andselfishtotrytopersuadehertostay.Sohedidn’t
Onlyifwoundedpridehadbecomecontagious.“I thinkyou’resafe.”
Heshrugged.“Let’sjustsayI’mnotsurprised.”
Charlesglaredathim.“I’mgladI couldbeasourceofamusement.”
XOXO
P.S.Dinnertonight?
Sheturnedtoseeherdadstandinginthebedroomdoorway.“Yeah?”
Shewasseriouslywonderingthesamething.Butitwastoolatetobackoutnow
Thebell rangandherfathergesturedbehindhim.“Youwantmetogetthat?”
ItwasCharles
Heprobablyjustcametosaygoodbye.Towishherthebestofluckinhernewlife
Shelookedupathimandgrinned.“WhendoI start?”
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Royal Seductions 04 - The Duke's Boardroom Affair

Royal Seductions 04 - The Duke's Boardroom Affair

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Published by: Shwetika Gupta on Jun 03, 2013
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01/11/2014

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