The Reluctant Duke

The Reluctant Duke by Carole Mortimer Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: The Reluctant Duke by Carole Mortimer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Carole Mortimer
her throat and an ache in her chest as she remembered the laughter that had filled the bleakness of this house in those days. The same love and laughter there had always been wherever Grandpa Alex and Nanna Sian were together.
    A togetherness that Lucan St Claire and the rest of his unforgiving family had wanted no part of.
    The same Lucan St Claire who, minutes ago, had been on the verge of kissing Lexie—the granddaughter of the woman he and his family so despised.
    Lexie gave another shiver, having absolutely no doubt as to the depth of Lucan’s anger if he were ever to realise exactly who she was.
    ‘It should warm up in here shortly,’ Lucan rasped as he strode back into the entrance hall. He scowled darkly as Lexie gave an involuntary start, her deep blue eyes wary as she turned sharply to look at him. ‘As far as I’m aware we don’t have any family ghosts,’ he said dryly, mocking her reaction.
    She gave him a scathing glance. ‘Very funny!’
    ‘I don’t believe I’ve ever been known for my sense of humour, Lexie.’
    ‘I wonder why! Is there some tea or coffee in the kitchen so that I can at least make us a warm drink?’
    Lucan arched mocking brows. ‘Are you sure that making hot drinks for the two of us comes under the job description of a temporary temporary PA?’
    ‘Probably not,’ Lexie dismissed tersely. ‘But I’m willing to make an exception on this occasion.’
    ‘That’s very generous of you,’ Lucan drawled, and had to hold back yet another laugh.
    ‘I thought so, too.’ She nodded abruptly.
    Lucan couldn’t help admiring her attitude. Despite the fact that the family had spent several days here at New Years, no one had actually lived in the house for years. Consequently it wasn’t very welcoming, and there were no household servants any more—just the caretaker and his wife, who occasionally came in to check that everything was okay. A lot of women—every single one of the glamorous women Lucan had dated these last ten years or so—would have declared the facilities here unsuitable, even primitive, and immediately demanded to be taken to a hotel. Lexie was obviously made of sterner stuff.
    ‘I’m sure there will be tea and coffee, but no milk,’ he told her ruefully.
    ‘Black coffee will be fine,’ Lexie assured him briskly, and turned away to walk across the entrance hall towards the back of the house. Only to come to an abrupt halt as she realised her mistake. ‘Er—I take it the kitchen
is
back here? ‘ She paused uncertainly.
    ‘The door at the end of the hallway.’ Lucan nodded before falling into step behind her.
    Lexie was completely aware of Lucan as he followed her into the kitchen, to lean back against one of the oak kitchen cabinets as she prepared the coffee percolator.
    And she was still completely aware of how close he had been to kissing her minutes ago. Of how, for a few brief seconds, she had wanted him to kiss her.
    Admit it, Lexie, she derided herself, Lucan is like no other man you’ve ever met. Arrogantly confident, darkly handsome, and most of all, so effortlessly powerful. The man was a
duke,
for goodness’ sake. That alone was a potent aphrodisiac without all those other.
    Lexie’s movements stilled self-consciously as she realised she had been so lost in thought that she hadn’t noticed Lucan watching her through narrowed lids as she first filled the percolator with water, before taking ground coffee from the kitchen cabinet and pulling open the appropriate drawer to take out a teaspoon.
    Because that was where the coffee and the cutlery had always been kept.
    ‘This is going to take a couple of minutes to prepare, if you have something else you need to be doing.’ Lexie sincerely hoped the adage ‘offence is the best form of defence’ was correct.
    Lucan scowled darkly as he realised he had been enjoying watching the movement of Lexie’s small and gracefullybeautiful hands as she made the coffee, imagining the intensity of pleasure

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