To Tempt a Saint

To Tempt a Saint by Kate Moore Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: To Tempt a Saint by Kate Moore Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kate Moore
sort of problem. Taking hold of her was like taking hold of one of those electrifying machines his friend Tom Ruxley set up to entertain dinner guests. But she was March’s niece and as blue-blooded as they came. Bedding her was not part of his plan.
    “The usual sort.” He told himself the lie was justified. The partners of the Metropolitan Works Group wouldn’t wait forever, and Xander wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip away as the last had. His plan would do her no harm after all. She would have as much money as she needed now, and when their marriage ended, he would repay her.
    She started her pacing again. “I suppose you want an heir, someone to carry on your name and fortune.”
    If she had a talent, it was for plain speaking. The last thing Xander wanted was an heir. “The Jones name is in no danger of fading.”
    “We could pretend to be married,” she suggested, turning back his way, with a hopeful expression.
    He smiled. Maybe he didn’t have to worry about his plan after all. Women of her class generally found his person attractive enough, and his background—a definite inducement to sin. But Cleo Spencer’s lack of enthusiasm for warming his bed meant his conscience could rest easy about their bargain. “Defrauding a bank, Miss Spencer, has penalties you probably don’t want to contemplate.”
    “Nevertheless, marriage is notoriously permanent, a life sentence.”
    Not if you expected the marriage to be contested in court. He had already thoroughly investigated a way out. “Six years is a long time to wait for your money.”
    Her face assumed a bleaker aspect, and she looked away. “Do you intend to have a mistress?”
    He could not fault her for vanity. Apparently she had none. “You underestimate the charms of your person.”
    “It’s the charm of my purse that brought you here today. That you can’t deny.”
    “A purse you can open only when you marry. Do we have a bargain?”
    She faced him squarely then, a militant tilt to her chin. “I want a generous allowance and equal access to our money. If you go to the bank, I go with you. Every time. And I want an exact account of every penny you spend. I shall insist on receipts.”
    He regarded her coolly. Did she imagine that a man kept receipts for his mistress’s services? “If you wish, but you will have to bring your receipts to our meeting as well.”
    Her haughty look came and went in a blink. “I must see it in the settlement papers before I wed.”
    “My solicitor will prepare the papers.” He waited, undergoing another close scrutiny before she gave a barely perceptible nod.
    “Where will we live? Or will we even live together?”
    “I need to be in town to pursue my hopes.”
    “Town will suit me if I may have my younger brother with me. You know that I have a younger brother?”
    He nodded. He knew little of the brother, the title-holder, a boy three years younger than Kit. “There’s room.”
    “I wish to outfit him for school and provide tutors. Once he’s settled, I can live anywhere.”
    “Then nothing remains except to set a date. Will Sunday be convenient?”
    “This Sunday?”
    “I have a special license in my pocket, and I am impatient to take a wife.”
    “Do I have to point out how abominably sure of yourself you are?”
    “It may be that I am more sure of your desperation.”
    “Desperation!” The word came out on an indignant huff of breath.
    “Isn’t that what drove you to propose to me?”
    She did not pretend to misunderstand him. Her face assumed an expression he was already coming to know. She was about to be frank with him.
    “Maybe I simply saw Miss Finsbury’s loss as my gain. And if you told me one thing about yourself, I’d have a reason for our bargain other than the obvious economic one.”
    He could not hold back a grin. “I am ten and twenty, weigh thirteen stone, and dislike peppermints.”
    “No one dislikes peppermints.”
    “Knowing me will enlarge your experience of

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