Never Gamble with a CaffarelliBy: Melanie Milburne
Her expression was so rigid with anger he could see a muscle moving in and out in her cheek. ‘I planned to live at Tarrantloch after my retirement.’
He whistled through his teeth. ‘That’s some seriously long-term planning. You’re what, twenty-five?’
Her teeth made a grinding noise. ‘Twenty-four. I’ll be twenty-five next year in May.’
‘So, what age do swimsuit models retire?’ He couldn’t stop his gaze sweeping over her body. To say she had a knockout figure was a bit of an understatement.
More than a bit, actually.
He could not think of a body he found more delightful to look at. Distracting. He had been distracted by it for the last few years, and so too had just about everyone throughout Europe. He still remembered the first time he had driven past a billboard with the then-nineteen-year-old Angelique on it. She had been draped along the edge of an infinity pool in some exotic tropical location, wearing a couple of miniscule triangles of fabric that left just enough to the imagination to cause serious discomfort in his nether regions.
To say she had a traffic-stopping figure was putting it rather mildly.
‘I want to branch out into other areas of the business,’ she said.
She glowered at him. ‘I’m not going to discuss my career plans with you. You’ll just rubbish them. You’ll tell me I’m wasting my time or to go and get a real job or something.’
Remy felt that little niggle of guilt again. He hadn’t been exactly encouraging of her plans to pursue a modelling career. When he’d first heard she was going to quit school to sign up with a modelling agency, he’d put aside his grandfather’s ban on contact with her and had called and told her to reconsider.
But listening to advice was not something Angelique was particularly good at doing.
‘Monsieur Caffarelli?’ The official spoke from the open doorway. ‘The room is now ready for your fiancée.’ He turned to Angelique. ‘If you will come this way, mademoiselle? We have two chaperones to accompany you.’
Angelique glared at Remy as she stalked past him. He caught a whiff of her signature fragrance as she went by. It hovered about his nostrils, enticing him to breathe in deep. He had always associated the smell of sweetpeas with her—strong, heady and colourful.
His brain snapped back to attention like an elastic band being flicked by a finger.
Within hours they would be man and wife.
Usually whenever the ‘M’ word was mentioned to him he had a standard, stock phrase: over my dead body.
But somehow—right here and now—it didn’t have quite the same ring to it.
ANGELIQUE COULD NOT even close her eyes, let alone get to sleep. She spent most of the night pacing the floor, cursing Remy, hating him. How could he have done this to her? He couldn’t have thought of a worse punishment.
To him of all people!
It didn’t matter if it was legal or not. She had sworn she would never marry. She would never allow someone else to have that sort of control over her, to have that sort of commitment from her.
She had seen first-hand her mother’s commitment. Kate Tarrant had taken her marriage vows way too seriously. She had been browbeaten and submissive from day one. She had toed the line. She had obeyed. She had given up her freedom and her sense of self.
Angelique would never do that.
Marriage and all it represented nauseated her. Unlike most girls her age, she couldn’t even bear the thought of wedding finery. Who wanted to dress up like a meringue, be smothered in a veil and be given away like a parcel to some man who would spend the next fifty years treating her like a household slave?
There was a knock on the door and when she opened it she found a maid holding a tray with fresh fruit, rolls and steaming hot, rather unusually fragrant coffee. ‘Your breakfast, mademoiselle.’
Was this the time to announce that—despite her half-French bloodline—she actually loathed coffee and could only ever face tea first thing in the morning?
Not long after that maid left, another one much older one arrived, carrying a massive armful of wedding finery which she informed Angelique she would help her get into in preparation for the ceremony at ten.