One Night With A Prince(7)

By: Sabrina Jeffries



“Right.” Which was why, when pressed to the wall, she had tried to outmaneuver him. Little did she know that it would take an army of general’s daughters to outmaneuverhim .

“Very well,” he said smoothly. “I agree to keep this a masquerade only.” The relief in her eyes at not having to share his bed pricked his pride. “For the moment.”

“Are you sure?” she snapped. “Because I could still—”

“Watch it, my sweet,” he said in that soft, deadly tone that men knew to beware. “Best to stop while you’re holding the winning hand.” He dropped his gaze to her trembling mouth. “You won’t get another.”

He walked to the door and opened it. “Now run along like a good little girl and let the men talk. My agreement with you is conditional upon whether His Highness will agree to certain terms of mine. And they don’t concern you.”

Though she bristled at his insulting dismissal, she nodded and headed toward the open door. “Thank you for your help, Mr. Byrne.”

“No need to be formal. If we’re pretending to be lovers, call me Byrne as everyone else does.” He arched one eyebrow. “Or feel free to call me ‘darling.’”

An inelegant snort escaped her. “Feel free to call me Christabel.”

“For God’s sake, how did a general’s daughter get such a fanciful name?”

“I had a mother, too, you know.” With that she stalked out, her lovely hips swinging. As heat rose in the wrong places, he marveled at the perverse intensity of his attraction to her. She had a mother, did she? Then it must be some Amazon or fairy queen or succubus from hell. No mere Englishwoman could possibly have spawned that whirling dervish of a female. A whirling dervish who thought to put him off by implying that his lovemaking would be a chore, or worse yet, a business transaction. But that wouldn’t last long. He would have the Widow Haversham begging for him to take her if it was the last thing he did. He’d built a fortune on his ability to mix business with pleasure, so he would play her game for now, but in the end he’d have it all—her mysterious property, his revenge upon Prinny, and a willing Christabel in his bed.

“Well?”

Iversley’s voice snapped him out of his reverie. He looked up to find his brothers approaching. After they entered the room, he shut the door. “I’ll do it.”

“Excellent,” Draker said.

“But I have an additional condition. I want a private audience with Prinny when it’s done.”

“Why?” Draker asked.

“I have my reasons.”

Draker eyed him intently, then sighed. “I’ll see if he’ll agree to that.”

“He’d better if he wants me to help Christabel.”

“Christabel?” Iversley said.

Might as well tell them the plan. They’d hear of it soon enough. “Stokely will only invite the good widow if she’s my mistress. So she will be.”

Draker drew himself up. “I hope you did not coerce that poor woman—”

“Did I mention that she’ll be mypretend mistress? We’re perpetrating a deception like the one you and Regina perpetrated with your pretend courtship.”

“It may have started out as a pretend courtship,” Draker retorted, “but it didn’t stay one for long.”

A smile curved Gavin’s lips. “Exactly.”

“I thought you didn’t like Lady Haversham,” Draker snapped. Gavin thought of Christabel’s soft, curvy body pressed to his, of the quickening of her breath when he’d touched her—of the stubborn will that he would greatly enjoy bending to his own. “She grows on a man.”

The overly moral Draker frowned, but Iversley burst into laughter.

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