The Secret Marriage PactBook # 3 in the Business of Marriage series
by Georgie Lee
An improper proposal!
Jane Rathbone is used to being left behind, and no longer believes she deserves happiness. But when childhood friend Jasper Charton returns from the Americas, more dangerously sexy than ever, she has a proposition. She'll give him the property he needs if he'll give her a new future—by marrying her!
Jasper never imagined taking a wife, but wonders if loyal Jane could be his redemption. And when their marriage brings tantalizing pleasures, convenient vows blossom into a connection that could heal them both…
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Read an Excerpt from The Secret Marriage Pact
‘You’re undressed! Why are you not up already? It’s past noon!’ Jane waved her hand from the top of Jasper’s head to the rippled and exposed stomach, and the dark line of hair leading her gaze even lower. She was already out of breath from running up the Chartons’ massive front stairs, but catching Jasper in his bedroom without his shirt was suffocating. His toned chest tinged with a honey hint of a tan nearly knocked her away from the closed door. She’d known Jasper Charton and his family her entire life. But she never thought she’d see quite this much of him.
‘I wasn’t expecting company.’ Jasper wiped the last of the very musky and, if she was not mistaken by the scent, expensive shaving soap from his face and haphazardly hung the towel on the washstand bar. He made no move to take up the rumpled shirt sagging over the foot of the bed, and perched one fist on his hip as though it was every day an unmarried young lady burst into his bedroom unannounced. ‘What are you doing up here?’
‘We must speak about the building.’ She fiddled with the key in the lock of the door but her shaking hand wouldn’t co-operate and she gave up.
Concentrate! This was no time to be distracted. With her brother and Mr Charton downstairs, and Mrs Charton distracted by one of her grandchildren, Jane had precious little time alone with Jasper. ‘I have a plan for it, but I need your help, as a friend. We’re still friends, aren’t we?’
His eyebrows rose in surprise. ‘Even after what Milton did to you?’
‘You had nothing to do with it, and he isn’t pertinent to the matter I wish to discuss today.’ Actually, proving to everyone, including herself, she could catch a husband was very much a part of this, but he didn’t need to know it.
He cocked one eyebrow. ‘You want to talk business, in my room, alone?’
She picked up one of the pair of diamond cufflinks in the dish on the table beside her, then put it down. It did seem foolish when he pointed it out, but speaking here was better than trying to whisper downstairs and risking someone overhearing their negotiations. For this to work, everyone, including Philip, must believe they were marrying for the right reason. ‘Of course. We have privacy.’
‘Which makes me wonder if business is really all you want?’ With a wicked smile he slipped the top button of his fall through its hole. He was teasing her as he used to do and the easy familiarity of their old friendship slid between them. It was more potent than the pulling of her pigtails and she adjusted the top of her spencer, breathless once more as she stared at his long fingers on the button, waiting to see what he might reveal. Offering him her innocence wasn’t an unpleasant bargaining chip, especially since she was dying to finally experience the deed she’d heard Jasper’s sister whispering about at so many parties. If she got with child it would certainly force the matter.
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