“I have something to ask you and I am being perfectly serious,” Flora said, then after taking a deep breath plunged on the worlds colliding in her excitement to be rid of them. “I would like you to marry me.”
For Marsden Collingwood the idea is ridiculous – she was a chit of a thing, a girl who barely reached his chest;and that hair, that riot of tipsy curls that had no pretence of style about it. Yet she was the long lost daughter of his nemesis; and was not, he wondered, revenge the dish best eaten cold!
Published by Whiskey Creek Press
Excerpt – Beloved Deceiver
“I have something to ask you and I am being perfectly serious, ” Flora said, then after taking a deep breath, plunged on, the words colliding in her excitement to be rid of them. “I would like you to marry me!”
Marsden Collingwood had guessed at a variety of requests but not this one. This one momentarily knocked the breath from his body. It was a good job that he was sitting or he thought he might have fallen backwards. It was just as if she had struck him in the solar plexus. It was incredible!
He looked up the length of the girl standing before him and practically burst out laughing. The gall of it, the sheer damned cheek. She was a chit of a thing; a girl who barely reached his chest, her russet coloured hair was a riot of tipsy curls and had not a pretence of style about it. She was wearing scruffy jeans and a baggy tee shirt that bore the name of some obscure American University and she asked him to marry her!
“I know what you’re thinking,” she said, brightly, smiling up at him.
“That you are insane?” he murmured, in a more mellow tone than he believed she deserved.
“Well that has been said to me before, but I thought you might have been polite and said that the idea is insane. I am quite sane as you will discover if you listen to me!”
His intense scrutiny caused her to blush but she made herself hold his gaze. Of course he was surprised. Had to be really. He was considered quite a catch. Tall, well built, that thick tobacco coloured hair that curled at his neck and in spite of his attempt to tame it, fell across his brow. His eyes were almost the same colour, gold but with green speckles on the iris. Unusual eyes that at that moment were sparkling with amusement. At least he wasn’t angry.
“I don’t mean a proper marriage,” she went on, “I mean a pretend marriage.”
“I see,” he said mockingly. “I just let people think I have lost my mind and married you!”
“You could do worse, ” she said, not offended. She could understand his feelings, after all she was no catch. She knew that. He went out with really stunning women. She had seen his photo in the society magazines, squiring some goddess or other.
“We’d have to do it properly, have to have it legal, but it would be a marriage on paper and not one that’s in the…in the…”
“In the bedroom? How disappointing and here I was thinking you were after my body,” he said, his voice dripping sarcasm.
“I don’t want your body…I just want to be married….to someone!”
“Flora, I am sure there are plenty of young men who would be delighted to marry you.”
“But I want you, you would not be intimidated by my father, and that is why it is so perfect for you, Mars, you see you would be able to get one over on him, and you’d like that, wouldn’t you?” Her smile was crafty.
“I must confess the idea of, as you put it, getting one over on your father, gives me pleasure, I can’t go as far as to marry you to get even!”
“I look better when I try,” she said.
She sighed loudly, then sank into the folds of the sofa opposite the white armchair where he lounged. Her legs stretched out, her grubby trainers attracted his eye. She had very small feet but the trainers made them seem enormous. She was an urchin, and a father scruffy one at that. Her most redeeming feature was her lapis lazuli coloured eyes, they were large and round and full of a charming innocence. However, any appeal they may have for him was soon obliterated by her snub nose that was smattered with freckles, her slightly protruding teeth and her shapeless body.
“I look better when I try,” she sad, as if reading his mind.
“I’m sure you do,” he said, “but now Flora, if you will excuse me I am rather busy…” he checked his watch meaningfully. It was a ruse of course, because he had nothing to but laze around the villa until evening.
“Aren’t you curious as to why I am asking you?” she persisted.
“Not really, I think perhaps the sun has caused something to happen to your brain. When you get back to England it will sort itself out. You will see how ridiculous you have been.”
“Ouch,” she said, “you don’t have to be cruel was well.
“Ooh don’t do that either!”
“Patronise me. I am not your dear and have no intention of ever being your dear. I am talking business.”
“Ah now that is interesting, business is a much better thing to discuss than marriage.”
She pulled herself up, shoving her small hands into the pockets of her jeans. He wondered why she had chosen him. Was it because of how they had met? Did she imagine him as her knight in shining armour….