His Convenient Marriage [NOOK Book]

Overview

Miles Hunter had lived life on the edge. When he proposed marriage to Chessie, she knew it couldn't be because he loved her. They were practically strangers! He simply needed a social hostess and someone to look after his beautiful home. Chessie knew she owed Miles a great deal. When her family had been torn apart by financial scandal, he'd taken her in and given her a job and security. But was he now expecting her to repay him...in his bed?

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His Convenient Marriage

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Overview

Miles Hunter had lived life on the edge. When he proposed marriage to Chessie, she knew it couldn't be because he loved her. They were practically strangers! He simply needed a social hostess and someone to look after his beautiful home. Chessie knew she owed Miles a great deal. When her family had been torn apart by financial scandal, he'd taken her in and given her a job and security. But was he now expecting her to repay him...in his bed?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426870965
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 7/26/2010
  • Series: Wedlocked! Series , #2417
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 178,360
  • File size: 444 KB

Meet the Author

Sara Craven shares her somerset home with a West Highland white terrier called Berlie Wooster, several thousand books, and an amazing video collection.

When she's not writing, she likes to travel in Europe, eat in good restaurants, and go to the theater, but reading will always be her greatest passion.

Since the birth of her twin grandchildren, she is a regular visitor to New York City, where the little tots live.

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Read an Excerpt

His Convenient Marriage


By Sara Craven

Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.

Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-373-12417-1


Chapter One

"CHESSIE - oh, Chess, you'll never guess what they're saying in the post office."

Francesca Lloyd frowned slightly, but her attention didn't waver from her computer screen as her younger sister burst into the room.

"Jen, I've told you a hundred times, you're not supposed to come to this part of the house, and especially not during working hours."

"Oh, nuts." Jenny perched on a corner of the big desk, pushing aside some of the neat piles of paper to make room for herself. "I simply had to see you. Anyway, The Ogre won't be back from London for hours yet," she added airily.

"I checked that his car wasn't there before I came round."

Chessie's lips tightened. "Please don't call him that. It's neither kind nor fair."

"Well, nor is he." Jenny pulled a face. "Besides, you may not need this job for much longer." She took an excited breath. "I heard Mrs Cummings telling the post mistress that she's had instructions to open Wenmore Court again. And that means that Alastair's coming back at last."

Chessie's fingers stilled momentarily on the keyboard. For a moment her heart leapt, painfully - almost brutally.

She kept her voice even. "Well, that's good news for the village. The house has been closed up for far too long. But it won't make much difference to us."

"Oh, Chess, don't be silly." Jenny gave an impatient sigh.

"It makes all the difference in the world. After all, you and Alastair were practically engaged."

"No." Chessie turned on her. "We were not. And you've got to stop saying that."

"Well, you would have been if his beastly father hadn't sent him to business school in the States," Jenny retorted.

"Everyone knows that. You were crazy about each other."

"And much younger, too." Chessie began typing again.

"And a hell of a lot has happened since then. Nothing's the same."

"Do you really think that would make any difference to Alastair?" Jenny demanded scornfully.

"I think it might." It still hurt to remember how the weekly letters had dwindled to one a month, and then petered out altogether before the end of their first year apart.

Since then, her only contact had been a brief note of condolence following her father's death.

And if Alastair had known that Neville Lloyd had died, then he almost certainly knew the circumstances of his death, she thought, wincing.

"God, you can be a real drag sometimes," Jenny accused.

"I thought you'd be thrilled. I ran all the way home to tell you."

"Jen, we shouldn't make assumptions." Chessie tried to speak gently. "After all, it's been three years and a lot of water under the bridge. We're not the same people any more, Alastair and I."

There'd been a time when she'd rejoiced in those three words, she thought sadly. When they'd had meaning - even a future ...

She squared her shoulders. "And now I've got to get on. Please don't let Mr Hunter come back and catch you here again."

"Oh, all right." Jenny slid mutinously off the desk. "But how great it would be if Alastair asked you to marry him. Imagine being able to tell The Ogre what to do with his rotten job."

Chessie stifled a sigh. "It is not a rotten job," she returned levelly. "It's good, and well paid. It keeps food in our mouths, and a roof over our heads. And it allows us to go on living in our old home."

"As servants," Jenny said with intense bitterness. "Big deal." And she went out, slamming the door behind her.

Chessie sat very still for a moment, her face troubled. It was disturbing that even after all this time, Jenny had not been able to come to terms with the admittedly devastating change in their circumstances.

She could not seem to cope with the fact that Silvertrees House no longer belonged to them - or that the only part of it they were entitled to occupy was the former house-keeper's flat.

"Yet, why not?" Chessie asked herself, wryly. "After all, that's what I am - the housekeeper."

"I don't want, or need, a lot of staff," Miles Hunter had told her at that first, fraught interview. "I require the house to be run efficiently, and without fuss, plus secretarial support."

"Meaning what, precisely?" Chessie looked impassively back at her potential employer, trying to weigh him up. It wasn't easy. His clothes, casually elegant, were at odds with the harshly etched lines of his face, accentuated by the scar that ran from his cheekbone to the corner of his unsmiling mouth. The cool drawl gave nothing away, either.

"I use a very old portable typewriter, Miss Lloyd. I always have, but my publishers now require my manuscripts on computerised disks. I presume you can handle that?"

She nodded wordlessly.

"Good. On the domestic side it will be up to you what additional assistance you require. I imagine you'll need a daily help at least. But I insist on peace and quiet while I'm writing. I also value my privacy."

He paused. "I'm aware this may be difficult for you. After all, you've lived at Silvertrees all your life, and you're used to having the free run of the place. That, I'm afraid, can't happen any more."

"No," Chessie said. "I - I can see that."

There was another brief silence. "Of course," he said, "you may not wish to take the job on, but your lawyer felt it could solve a number of problems for both of us."

The blue eyes were vivid against the deep tan of his thin face. "So, how about it, Miss Lloyd? Are you prepared to sacrifice your pride, and accept my offer?"

She ignored the note of faint mockery in his voice. "I can't afford pride, Mr Hunter. Not with a young sister to support, and educate. I'd be more than grateful for the job, and the accommodation." She paused. "And we'll try not to impinge on your seclusion."

"Don't just try, Miss Lloyd. Succeed." He drew the file on the desk in front of him towards him, signalling the interview was ending. As she rose he added, "I'll get my lawyers to draw up the necessary lease, and contract of employment."

"Is that really necessary?" There was dismay in her voice.

"It sounds a bit daunting. Couldn't we have some kind of - gentleman's agreement?"

His mouth seemed to twist harshly, or was it just the scar that gave that impression?

"I've never been a gentleman, Miss Lloyd," he remarked.

"And appearances are against you, too. I think it better to put things on a businesslike footing from day one - don't you?"

And that, Chessie thought drearily, had been that. She was allowed to occupy the former housekeeper's flat, with Jenny, for a peppercorn rent, as long as she continued to work for Miles Hunter.

At the time, desperate as she had been, bleak with guilt and grief over her father, it had seemed a lifeline. Too good a proposition to turn down.

Now, with hindsight, she wondered if she should have refused. Taken Jenny and herself far away from old memories - old associations.

But that would have meant finding a new school for Jenny just before an important exam year, and she'd been loth to create any more disruption in her sister's life.

And at first it had seemed worth it. Jenny had done well, and was expected to go on to university in due course. She'd get a student loan, but it would still mean all kinds of extra expenditure.

So Chessie seemed contracted to several more years of transferring Miles Hunter's starkly exciting thrillers onto the computer, and keeping his home running like the clockwork he demanded.

It had not, she reflected, been the easiest of rides. As she'd suspected at that first meeting, he wasn't the easiest person in the world to work for. He expected consistently high standards, and could be icily sarcastic and unpleasant if these were not met, as several of the daily helps who'd come and gone could vouchsafe.

But while Chessie had adhered strictly to her own territory outside working hours, Jenny had not always been so scrupulous.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from His Convenient Marriage by Sara Craven Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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