Most dukes settle for Earl Grey and crumpets.
Playboy parties are more my cup of tea.
Now, I"ve got 30 days to marry or lose my billion-pound inheritance.
Isabella is my saving grace, but we hated each other as teens.
The eyes, the body, the confidence. Quite the goddess she"s become since high school.
Between arguing and fucking, we must somehow pretend to be married.
Wanting her to be more than a "fake" fianc" was never an option.
Needing her wasn"t part of the plan.
But when opposing forces come between us, neither God, queen, nor country will stop me from
having her.Books by Author:Emily Bishop Books
I"m going to get so fucking hammered tonight.
I crank up the music and let it pound through the apartment until it looks like the ashtrays are going to jump off the tables. The giant windows overlooking Seattle might just smash from the impact of the bass, shards flying everywhere. Blaow!
I light a cigarette and wink at my cousin, Eddie, who"s sprawled out on one of the ergonomic couches, throwing champagne down his throat.
Rowan, one of my old mates from school, hurries out of the bedroom, tucking his pastel blue shirt into his chinos. "Hey!" He makes an aggressive twist on the knob and the music dims. "You"re a madman, Gray. The neighbors have already reported us once. You"ll get me kicked out after this kind of stunt."
I grin at Eddie. "Rowan"s losing his nerve."
Eddie pushes his floppy copper curls out of his face and smiles back devilishly. My partner-in-crime. When people hear of English aristocrats, they expect tea and scones and manners. We laugh and raise hell in their faces.
"We"re not in your big English country mansion, Grayson Fairfax the Second," Rowan says. He puts an exaggerated version of my accent on.
One thought of that place sends imaginary chains creeping around my body. Ready to squeeze tight. Trap me.
"Get a life, Rowan," I spit, then crank up the volume again. Too bad for them if they don"t like it. And too bad for the fuddy-duddy neighbors.
Rowan shoots me a warning look. I pick up a bottle, and soon rum wends a warm stream through me. I look back at him, my eyes flinging more fire than his ever could.
Rowan shrugs and shakes his head, laughs. "You haven"t changed a bit since school, have you"" He pads back past me in his socks, then swings back. "What d"ya think, Gray" Should I wear Ferragamos or my Armanis""
Bastard. He knows Eddie"s funding this jaunt back to America " a good time for old time"s sake. Eddie had to open his big mouth and tell everyone I"m broke, waiting on my father"s inheritance. Now Rowan"s trying to put me in my place with it.
I stride over to the window, nonchalant. "Doesn"t matter. Hot girls don"t care about shoes. They zone in on the alpha of the pack." Everyone knows that"s me.
"Ooh, speaking of hot girls""
I turn to see Tim, another old mate, walking in. He pulls his shirt on over his skinny frame. Stockbrokers might be rich, but they certainly don"t have that real rugged manliness about them. It"s me the girls will be swarming around at the club tonight. Guaranteed.
Tim grins. "Have you seen what Isabella Price looks like now" She popped up on my suggested Facebook friends."
"Why the hell would I care"" I flop down on the couch and crush my cigarette in the ashtray. The thought of her makes me light up another one. She sends stress jolting through my body.
"Nah, seriously, look." Tim fishes his iPhone from his pocket and taps away, then strides over to the bookshelf and pulls out a thick hardback. "Compare." He places the school yearbook on the glass coffee table and puts his phone next to it.
Everyone crowds around behind me. Even Eddie bothers pulling himself up from his tipsy sprawl to check it out.
I look at the Facebook picture first. Long dark hair, poker straight, like a shining black curtain. She"s in a loose-flowing summer dress and has a pretty smile. Looks like she"s in a park, from all the trees behind her. "As boring as always. Taking a summer stroll in a park, probably with a whole load of books and far too many opinions."
"Don"t you think she"s hot, though"" Tim says.
Rowan laughs. "He"s still holding a grudge, that"s all. She was the only chick who wasn"t all over him in school."
"Her loss," I say, then look at her yearbook picture. That"s how I remember her. A wild shock of dark curly hair falling past her shoulders. Her chin up high like she thinks she"s of a higher standard. Blue eyes piercing through the page like ice-lasers. I could never melt her. The other girls were like pools of warm water. She was an iceberg. Yet she"d laugh and joke and play around with others. Just not me.
I sink back into the couch and laugh. "Wonder what she"s doing with her sad little life right now. Probably a librarian."
"No way," Rowan says. "She was the smartest girl in school."
"No," I stress. "There"s a difference between hard work and intelligence. Even the dumbest can get good grades if they spend every minute of their lives studying. But what kind of life is that" Intelligence doesn"t equal grades. Even Einstein did badly""
Rowan laughs and pours himself a large gin. "You"d better hope that"s true, for your sake. What did you get again" Three Fs and a D""