The Flighty Fiancee(7)

By: Emma Shortt

“But I thought you were happy to wait until the end of this season, wasn’t that our agreement?” India asked, and Bartholomew’s heart sank even whilst his anger stirred. She wasn’t ready.

I should have married her as soon as she accepted, he thought. Honor be damned. She’d be with child by now, settled on one of their estates and he’d be bedding her nightly. Enjoying her delectable curves and perfect breasts. He shuddered at the thought. It didn’t matter now of course, those months were lost. All that counted now was that they would marry, that was not in question. Her response to his words was enough to quell any lingering honor or doubts. She needed taking in hand. So Bartholomew took a deep breath and steeled himself to say the word he knew she didn’t want to hear, but were past time for saying.

“Lady India, you’re now twenty and two years old, you’ve had nigh on a year in the capital and several jaunts around the county. Not to mention all the years you spent traversing the globe with your father. Likely you’ve seen and done more than any other debutante in this room. How much more do you expect?”

She shook her head. “I don’t know…I thought....”

“I’ll be approaching my thirtieth year very soon,” he added, ignoring her words. “I have duties and responsibilities to my estates. Not least the requirement to provide an heir for both our fortunes. It is high time matters were settled between us.” No need to add that his desire was becoming unmanageable. That he needed to bury himself in her wet folds before he ran mad.

Her eyes flashed. “Do I have no say in this?”

He gritted his teeth. “This decision was made and agreed on, India. You accepted my proposal and the world expects a marriage from us.”

“I don’t understand the hurry. We’re hardly in our dotage.”

“No, but we’re both of an age to be married. Why wait any longer?”

She looked out at the ballroom and the tension in her lithe, delicious little body was obvious. What’s going through that mind of hers? What is she plotting? Because Bartholomew knew her well enough to know that she was planning something.

Unconventional was the only word he’d ever been able to find to describe India properly. Lord Grayson’s fault. The only time as far as Bartholomew could see that the older man had insisted on something normal for India was their marriage, but then he was getting older and he wanted to see his daughter settled. Bartholomew understood that.

“India?” he prompted, unable to stay silent.

She shook her head, pulled her gaze from his and spoke, “You should never have offered for me.”

Shock stabbed through his gut and Bartholomew’s chest heaved in the strangest of manners. Where the hell had this come from?

“You accepted readily enough, Lady India,” he said.

She shook her head again, her curls dancing around her face. “I didn’t realize then.”

“Realize what?”

She turned and glared her cat’s eyes back at him. “What it was you really wanted.”

“What the hell does that mean?” he asked.

“A marriage of convenience.”

Bartholomew was baffled by her words. Yes, theirs was to be a marriage with benefits on both sides, but surely India knew how much he desired her? How much he longed for her? He’d trailed after her for months, his dick seeming to point the way. He accompanied her to balls, parties, routs—events he would normally had given a wide berth he’d put up with for her. How much more did she want, damn it!

“You know I wish you to be my wife, India,” he said in an attempt to reassure her.

“Yes, I know that,” she replied, but her tone did nothing to dispel Bartholomew’s unease.

“Then I don’t understand your reluctance.”

“You understand nothing about me, Bartholomew, that is the point.”

Bartholomew shook his head, his anger rising, He had no patience for any more of Lady India’s games. His blood was at boiling point, his frustration sending him over the edge. She’d had ample time and more to get used to matters and he would wait no longer. He’d chip away at whatever had hardened her and leave her trembling in his arms. Or better yet with her legs shaking around his head as he buried himself in her sweet quim.

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