The Arranged Marriage

Free The Arranged Marriage by Emma Darcy

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Authors: Emma Darcy
not getting out until we talk this through,” she declared, furious at his action.
    “We’re finished. I have nothing more to say to you, Michelle,” he clipped out, giving her no room to manoeuvre a different situation between them.
    She stared up at him in hard-eyed challenge.
    No way was he about to budge.
    With a doleful sigh she unclipped her seat belt and slithered her way upright beside him, probably trying a reminder of how sexy she could be, given some incentive.
    “You’ll think better of this, Alex,” she purred huskily. “I’m not going to give you your ring back.”
    “Keep it,” he replied carelessly. “Consider it the spoils from the game. But don’t think for one minute the game isn’t over. It is.” He closed the car door to punctuate the point.
    “Pride is a poor bedfellow, Alex.”
    “I can live with it more easily than I can with a string of Peter Owens.” He gestured to the apartment building. “Do you want me to see you to your front door?”
    She gave him a mocking little smile. “No. I think I’ll see you off instead. Who knows? You might change your mind halfway down the road.”
    It was her choice to reject the courtesy. Alex didn’t argue with it. He nodded a cold acknowledgement, said “Goodbye,” and returned to the driver’s seat, closing Michelle Banks out of his life.
    Halfway down the road, he didn’t even glance back. He wasn’t consciously driving towards Gina Terlizzi. She just happened to be in the castle tonight. He was simply going home.

    A cry from Marco snapped Gina awake. She rolled out of bed in automatic response, then still groggy from the sleep she had finally fallen into, found herself completely disoriented in unfamiliar surroundings. It took several moments to get her bearings. A dim night-light came from a half-open door. It triggered the memory of where she was—the nanny’s bedroom in King’s Castle—and Marco was in the adjoining nursery.
    She started to move towards the connecting door, then stopped, realising it was quiet now. Marco must have cried out in his sleep, then resettled. A bad dream? Since she was up, Gina decided she might as well check on him, make sure he was all right.
    A soft murmuring made her hesitate. Was someone else attending to him? Had he been crying for some time before she woke? Rosita’s rooms weren’t far away. Frowning over the thought of the kindly housekeeper’s sleep being disturbed, Gina snatched up the dressing-gown she’d tossed on the end of the bed and thrust her arms into the sleeves. Best for her to sit with Marco for a while, relieving Rosita of any sense of responsibility.
    She grimaced over the sensual slide of silk and lace on her bare skin. The coffee-coloured gown and nightie from her honeymoon trousseau were more luxurious than practical garments. She’d put them away...hadn’t worn them for years. It had been a silly impulse to pack them for tonight, yet when she’d chosen to, a night spent at King’s Castle had seemed special enough to warrant wearing them.
    And Alex King had made her feel...well, she’d wanted to feel like a woman again, not just a mother. He’d certainly made her feel it when he’d kissed her. Now she wished he hadn’t. It was too disturbing. Better not to have needs aroused when they were never going to be answered. She savagely fastened the tie-belt around her waist, calling herself all sorts of a fool for indulging in fantasies that had nothing to do with real life.
    Alex King wasn’t for her.
    She’d known all along he wasn’t for her.
    She was a twenty-six-year-old nobody with a child by another man, and he was engaged to be married to a glamorous dress designer who was experienced in leading a high-class, sophisticated life. Dressing herself up in expensive silk and lace didn’t change anything.
    Having achieved a reasonably modest appearance with her very non-motherly wrap-around, she tried to shove the weight of misery in her mind

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