Let It Be Love

Let It Be Love by Victoria Alexander Read Free Book Online

Book: Let It Be Love by Victoria Alexander Read Free Book Online
Authors: Victoria Alexander
Tags: Historical
that. That innocent widening of her eyes. The slightly unsure expression that would cross her face, the slight hesitation, the touch of discomfort. And Fairchild probably had a familiar ring because he had heard her name in connection with some play or other. He might even have watched her onstage, although surely he would have remembered if he had seen her before tonight. In truth, he couldn’t imagine ever forgetting her. This was a woman who would linger in a man’s mind.
    “So tell me, Miss Fairchild—Fiona—why a woman as lovely, as accomplished and as much of a”—he chuckled—“challengeas you are should have to resort to proposing marriage to a man you have never met.”
    “It’s complicated.”
    “You’ve mentioned that.”
    “It bears repeating.” She sipped her champagne and thought for a moment. “My father wished me to marry—”
    “As fathers tend to do.”
    She nodded. “And as I hadn’t wed before he died, he arranged for me to marry the son of an acquaintance of his.” She glanced at him. “Yet another man I have never met.
    “Go on.”
    “Until I marry, I receive no inheritance or dowry. Nor do my three sisters receive their dowries unless or until I wed.”
    He choked back a laugh. “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.”
    She heaved a dramatic sigh. “I know.”
    “So your future and the futures of your sisters are dependent upon your actions?” It was remarkably difficult to restrain from laughing aloud at the dramatic nature of her story. “You alone can save them from a life of poverty or servitude?”
    “Exactly.” Her green eyes misted with tears at the very thought. It was a nice touch.
    “I see.”
    What a fabrication. What a far-fetched tale. And surely he had heard that plot performed onstage before. He would not be the least bit surprised if an entire cast tripped into the room at any moment. Or at the very least the playwrights, the authors of the farce: Norcroft, Warton and Cavendish.
    Oh, they were fiendish fellows, these friends of his. No doubt they had plotted this scheme after he had left them last week. There were likely significant wagers among themselves as to what he would do. Perfect wife indeed. They probably thought he would run like a frightened rabbit when confronted with such a woman and the imminent prospect of marriage. This Fiona Fairchild certainly filled all his qualifications, but then she would, wouldn’t she?
    She had obviously been rehearsed.
    “Oliver says you have declared that when you find the woman who meets all of your qualifications you shall marry her at once.” She stared at him with an uncertain smile on her face. Well rehearsed.
    Still, no one liked a good joke better than Jonathon himself, and this was no exception.
    “So at this point I am supposed to take you in my arms and agree to marry you?”
    “It sounds rather silly when you say it that way.” She frowned. “That would be most convenient but is probably too much to expect.”
    “What do you expect?”
    “To be perfectly honest, Jonathon”—she glanced at him—“and I do wish to be perfectly honest—”
    “As do we all.”
    “I didn’t know what to expect. Nor do I know precisely what to do. I only know that if I do not marry, my sisters and I shall lose everything. And the longer I wait to wed, the greater the chances are that I shall be forced to marry someone I have no desire to wed.”
    “And you do desire to marry me?”
    A charming blush colored her cheeks. It was most impressive. “I think we would suit nicely. And”—she flashed him a slightly wicked grin—“you do come highly recommended.”
    “By Norcroft?”
    “Certainly but you are one of the most eligible bachelors in England. Why, I should be interested in you even if my situation were not of a desperate nature.”
    “I’m flattered as well as curious.” He considered her for a moment. “You are a beautiful woman and I cannot imagine any man not wishing to marry

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