Born into scandal, raised by royalty, Geoff Devonshire had always trod the straight and narrow. But the chance to finally claim his birthright had put him in the spotlighthellip;and the path of Amelia Munroe. With a past steeped in gossip, she was absolutely the wrong woman to have on his arm-and the only woman he wanted in his bed. Yet once the paparazzi got a whiff of their hot and heavy romance, Geoff was faced with the ultimate decision. Turn his back on the chance to have all the power he'd ever cravedhellip;or forfeit the real prize.
The event that same evening was long and boring-the kind of charity dinner that he''d rather not attend. But he was a Devonshire and a member of the British royal family and there were times when he simply couldn''t decline. At least the William Kent Room at the Ritz was an exquisite venue.His date for this evening was Mary Werner, the daughter of a billionaire office supplies executive. She was a suitable girl and would make him a proper wife, if that''s what he was after. He knew that her family probably expected a proposal soon.His half sisters-Gemma and Caroline, who were twenty-three and twenty-one respectively-called her his maiden bride. He pretended to growl at them for it but he knew they were right. Mary, as lovely as she was, was a bit too tame for him.There was a spate of camera shutters clicking at the entrance to the ballroom. He glanced over his shoulder to see Amelia Munroe smiling for the photographers. She wore a bright red sheath, which hugged her generous curves, and held a small dog in one arm. The animal yipped whenever a flash went off.There was a lull in every conversation in the room as all heads turned toward her. She said something in her distinctively brash American accent and then threw her head back and laughed. Suddenly he didn''t mind being here quite as much."Oh, it''s Amelia," Mary said quietly."Indeed. She does like to make an entrance.""Yes, she does. Everyone is watching her. I wonder how she does it," Mary mused.Geoff knew exactly how she did it. She drew attention because of the way she was built, the way she smiled, the way she laughed. She moved like a woman with loads of confidence. Her curly black hair was pulled up on her head and tendrils fell around her heart-shaped face. He couldn''t see her eyes from here, but he knew they were a diamond bright blue. Men wanted her-hell, he did. And if Mary''s reaction was any indication, women wanted to beher.The atmosphere in the ballroom had changed. Though the paparazzi were kept at the door, the excitement spilled into the room as Amelia walked in."I guess the International Children''s Fund must be one of her pet charities this year," Mary said."Must be," Geoff said. Hubert Grace, one of his stepfather''s friends excused himself from the table and Geoff shook his head as Hubert made his way across the ballroom to Amelia''s side."What is Hubert doing?" Mary asked."I have no idea. I suggest we go back to our conversation, though," Geoff said.He might be attracted to Amelia but he knew from past experience that the things he wanted most in the world were the ones that were dangerous to him and to his peace of mind. And with this new deal he''d agreed to with Malcolm, he had to be on his best behavior-something that had never failed to make him restless."Good idea. I wonder if she realizes how much of a distraction she is," Mary said."Does she bother you?" he asked.Mary shrugged. "Not really."Mary was a beautiful girl-a proper English rose with fair skin and thick, straight hair. Her eyes were a pretty blue that showed her keen intelligence. But she was tame. She allowed herself to follow the rules...much like he did on occasion. Their position oftentimes meant that they had to do what society dictated, especially in their circles.He glanced back over at Amelia holding court across the room. He wanted to be over there but not one of the crowd. Given his rank and status in society he rarely settled for being one of the many, and this time was no different."Not really?" he asked Mary. "What is it about her that you envy?"Mary took a sip of her wine and then turned to look at Amelia, who was still engaged in conversation with Hubert. "Everyone is watching her and talking about her-even me. I guess...I just wish I could walk into a room and make everyone else want to be me."Geoff studied the American woman. She was gorgeous, from her kissable mouth to her curvy body. But more than that, it was her joie de vivre that drew his eye. She''d grown up rich and often turn
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May 11, 2010
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