Sinjun Sherbrooke is bored with the London season, until she spies Colin Kinross across a crowded dance floor--and offers to be his bride.
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April 12, 2004
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Excerpt from The Heiress Bride by Catherine Coulter
SINJUN SAW HIM the first time on a Wednesday night in the middle of May at a rout given by the Duke and Duchess of Portmaine. He was a good thirty feet from her across the massive ballroom, partially obscured by a lush palm tree, but it didn't matter. She saw him quite clearly enough and she couldn't look away. She craned her neck around two dowagers when he walked gracefully to a knot of ladies, bowed over a young one's hand, and led her in a cotillion. He was tall; she could see that because the lady came only to his shoulder. Unless, of course, the young lady was a dwarf, and Sinjun doubted that. No, he was tall, much taller than was she, the saints be praised.
She continued to stare at him, not knowing why she was doing it and not caring in the least, until she felt a hand on her forearm. She didn't want to look away from him, not now. She shook the hand away and walked off, her eyes still on him. She heard a woman's voice from behind her but didn't turn around. He was smiling down at his partner now, and she felt something deep and strong move within her. She walked closer, circling the dance floor, drawing nearer. He was no more than ten feet away now and she saw that he was magnificent, as tall as her brother Douglas, and as massively built, his hair blacker than Douglas's, ink-black and thick, and his eyes -- good Lord, a man shouldn't have eyes like that. They were a rich dark blue, a blue deeper than the sapphire necklace Douglas had given Alex for her birthday. If only she were close enough to touch him, to set her fingers lightly upon the cleft in his chin, to sift through that shining hair of his. She knew in that moment that she would be perfectly content to look at him for the rest of her life. Surely that was a mad thought, but it was nonetheless true. He was well built; she wasn't ignorant about things like that, not with two outrageous older brothers. Yes, he had an athlete's body, strong and hard and tough, and he was young, probably younger than Ryder, who had just turned twenty-nine. A small, insistent voice told her that she was being a silly twit, to open her eyes, to stop this infatuated nonsense, for after all, he was just a man, a man like any other man, and in all good likelihood he was cursed with a troll's character to go along with his magnificent looks. That, or worse: He was a complete bore, or had no brain worth speaking of, or he had rotted teeth. But no, that wasn't true, for he just threw his head back and laughed deeply, showing beautiful, even, white teeth, and indeed, that laugh bespoke great intelligence to her discerning brain, a rich, deep laugh, just like his eyes, and weren't they intelligent Ah, but he could be a drunkard or a gamester, or a rake or any number of other exceptionable things.