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“Signorina Fairchild! Bella, bellissimo Fiona!” Count Orsetti practically shoved his mother aside in his haste to get to Fiona, although the contessa didn’t seem to mind. He strode to Fiona, grabbed her hands and lifted them to his lips, all the while murmuring in a steady stream of Italian how he had missed her and how beautiful her eyes were and how her hai mbt shoes uk r looked like molten sunlight. Fiona was fairly certain Jonathon did not speak Italian, but then again she would have wagered he couldn’t tell an orchid from a daisy either. She shot him a quick glance. Jonathon might not speak the language, but it was clear from the look on his face that he understood full well what the count was saying. Judith smiled in an innocent manner, but there was a wicked gleam in her eye. At once Fiona realized that somehow Judith knew exactly what the count’s reaction would be when he saw Fiona again. And knew as well exactly how Jonathon would respond. “English, if you please, Count.” Fiona f mbt uk avored him with a pleasant but not overly affectionate smile and firmly pulled her hands from his. “As we are in England now.” “As you wish.” He smiled in a tolerant manner as if her refusal to share in the intimacy of a language they alone might speak were not a rejection but a bond between them. It was a reminder of the man’s overwhelming arrogance and as irritating now as the last time she’d seen him. “I am most delighted to find you here. I had not looked forward at all to my stay in London, but when I arrived and my mother informed me she had accompanied you here”—his grin broadened with a confidence that came from truly believing that every woman in the world was waiting to swoon at his feet or fall into his bed—“I felt God Himself was smiling down upon me once again.” “And yet you made no effort to call on her,” Judith murmured. “An oversight.” Orsetti shrugged. “And one that is so easily corrected.” “Indeed.” The contessa nodded in eager encouragement of mbt stockists her son. “Bernardo should make arrangements at once to call on—” “Forgive me, Contessa, but”—Jonathon’s gaze met Fiona’s—“I did promise Miss Fairchild’s aunt that we would be gone only a few minutes.” He held out his arm to her. “Shall we, Miss Fairchild?” “Yes, of course,” Fiona said with relief, and took his arm. She had no desire to be trapped with the count and his mother, both of whom had long ago decided she would make Bernardo an excellent wife. The mother because of Fiona’s societal connections, the son because Fiona would look good on his arm. As much as she now needed a husband, she had no desire for this one. “I would be happy to escort Signorina Fairchild back to her aunt.” Orsetti bowed in a grand manner. “It “Nonetheless, at the moment Miss Fairchild is my responsibility,” Jonathon said pleasantly. “How very odd you English are.” Orsetti studied Jonathon curiously. “I woul mbt shoes uk d never consider a beautiful woman as a responsibility.” Jonathon shrugged casually. “That explains a great deal.” It was all most polite and civilized, but underneath the veneer of proper behavior there was the definite feel of something primal. Not unlike jungle beasts ready to fight over a mate. Fiona had always rather liked having men fight over her and under other circumstances it would have been most amusing, but she would prefer to keep Jonathon far away from Orsetti. He was a man who had never been able to take no for an answer regardless of how many times she had said just that and how often she had made her disinterest in him cle mbt shoes review ar. “Lord Helmsley, please do escort Miss Fairchild back to the ballroom,” Judith said smoothly. “Count Orsetti has obviously forgotten that he wished for me to show him my orchids. I should be quite disappointed if he did not allow me that pleasure.” Judith gazed up at Orsetti in a most provocative manner that had nothing whatsoever to do with orchids. “As would I, Lady Chester.” Orsetti grinned down at Judith, immediately distracted from the pursuit of one woman to the intrigue offered by another. “Yes, yes.” The contessa huffed. “Show us the flowers.” Fiona nudged Jonathon and lowered her voice. “Perhaps we should…” “Excellent idea.” Jonathon nodded and quickly walked her back the way they’d come. They didn’t say a word until they were safely in the corridor with the door to the greenhouse firmly closed behind them. “You have an admirer in the count,” Jonathon said slowly. “He is quite a handsome man.” “Indeed he is, and he well knows it.” She stared at him thoughtfully. “Are you jealous, then?” “Don’t be absurd. I have never been jealous.” Jonathon’s brows drew together in surprise. “Good God, I believe I am jealous.” “How perfectly wonderful of you.” Fiona glanced up and down the corridor and then, before he could protest, leaned close and kissed him quickly. “I can’t recall the last time I’ve been so flattered.” She took his arm and they started back to the ballroom. He chuckled. “Surely men have had cause to be jealous before?” “Perhaps.” She met his gaze. “But it was never of any real significance, as I never particularly cared before.” mbt clearance They reached the ballroom entry and the screen of palms and paused. His gaze caught hers, and what he might see in her eyes scarcely mattered, given what she saw in his. “And do you care now?” been made. A slow smile spread across his face and a sense of absolute happiness blossomed within her. Like a flower never before seen. He pulled his gaze from hers, cautiously looked around the palms, then held out his arms. “Might I have the remainder of this dance, Miss Fairchild?” “I should be delighted, my lord.” She beamed at him and stepped into his arms. “Do remind me to thank Judith for her forethought in the placement of these trees so close to the perimeter of the dance floor. It was exceptionally clever of her.” “And most convenient as well.” “I fully intend to call on you tomorrow, you know.” His gaze bored into hers. “Will I have to compete wit buy mbt shoes h other gentlemen for your attention?” “ discount mbt trainers Perhaps.” She grinned. “It will do you a world of good to have to do so.” “I doubt it. I don’t like this business of jealousy one bit, although I suspect I can bear it. For now.” His hand tightened on hers. “I should prefer not to encounter Orsetti, however. I don’t like the man.” She widened her eyes in an innocent manner. “And is there a reason for that?” “I can think of one very good reason.” She laughed. “But it is the oddest thing, Fiona,” he said, preparing to step back onto the dance floor. “I know I have never met the man, yet I have the distinct feeling I have seen him somewhere before.” “Probably no more than a passing resemblance to someone else,” she said lightly. “Probably.” A moment later they had rejoined the dancers as smoothly as if they had never been away. Once again, in his arms, with the music filling her senses, it was impossible to think of anything but the memory of his lips on hers and the promise of tomorrow to come. Thirteen Later that night, or rather early the next morning, in the hour shortly before dawn when any civ mbt online ilized person of a respectable nature would be long abed and fast asleep, and any pers mbt discount on whose level of civilization, as well as respectability, would not meet the high standards set by those who prefer slumber to something of a more strenuous nature in their beds would just be arriving home. Still others might well be in their beds in an attempt to be of a virtuous nature in anticipation of not being the least bit virtuous at a future date… Damn it all, this room was awkward enough to navigate when fully lit. Now, in the dark of night, it was a death trap. Edwards would no doubt find him here in the morning felled by some curiosity or objet d’art or unidentified oversizedsomething, ornately carved by native artisans living in the upper regions of the Himalayas! He could see Edwards now, staring down at Jonathon’s prone body, twisted and mangled on the floor, and hear the butler murmuring how this could have been avoided had his lordship simply listened to Edwards in the first place. The butler had encouraged him to take the bedchamber vacate mbt footwear d by Sir Nicholas. That particular room, per Nicholas’s wishes, was scarcely furnished at all, at least when compared to every other room in the house. Jonathon, however, liked living in the chaotic jungle that best described his new home. Except—he banged his hip on something sharp—at this particular moment when the appeal of an overstuffed house diminished substantially. He stumbled his way in the general d Cheap mbt shoes irection of a dresser aided by the faint starlight that drifted in between the crack of the window drapes, and suspected he had reached his goal when he smacked into something large and solid with surprisingly painful protruding knobs. “Damnation.” He sucked in a hard breath and groped for the matches and lamp he knew were here somewhere. Something crashed to the floor beside him and he ignored it. His fingers found the matches, he struck one, located the lamp and at last had light. Good. He was covered in bruises just from crossing this one room. He’d probably kill himself if he attempted to make his way down the stairs without light. He shrugged on the robe he hadn’t been able to find a moment ago, grabbed the lamp and headed for the library. It wasn’t that he couldn’t sleep. Indeed, he’d been home for several hours and had had no trouble sleeping and sleeping quite well until now. His rest was no doubt the result of finally having come to grips with his feelings for Fiona and, beyond that, finally doing som mbt sale ething about it. He started down the stairs and ignored the fact that he really hadn’t done anything of substance. Oh, certainly he had apologized, told her he wished to call on her formally and he had definitely indicated his intentions were of a permanent nature, although he had never actually mentioned marriage. Or love. For that matter, he really hadn’t said much of anything, although he had planned on doing so. Hadn’t he? Circumstances had simply interfered, that was all. After he and Fiona had returned to the ballroom, they’d had no further opportunity for private discussion. They had managed only one more dance

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