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Marriage to Justin Montegry should have been simple. After all, they had an agreement. Ava would bare him an heir and she’d continue to have her freedom. Why then did Ava’s heart betray her, not just with loving her husband, but finding passion with the pirate, Dragon?
Seeing the Duke’s desperation to take his leave, Ava’s impish nature took hold. She smiled. “No, Your Grace, I just arrived and I so wished for you to take me for a spin around the dance floor. Look, my dance card is empty. Could you, please?” She grabbed his arm and rested her powdered head against his upper arm. The solid strength surprised her and she fought the urge to tighten her grip. “I would be ever so grateful.”
Pleased, Mathew nodded his approval.
The Duke forced a smile. A deep dimple in his right cheek drew her gaze. The man was handsome, she’d give him that. “It would be a pleasure, Lady?”
“Aveline.” She giggled and snorted loud. “You may call me Ava. That’s what my friends and family call me.”
He nodded, wrapped his warm fingers around her hand, and led Ava into the next round of dancing, making sure to keep her at a more than respectable distance. “Your brother didn’t mention you were so... um... so unique.”
She grinned. “I can’t help how terribly beautiful I am. My brother was sparing you the shock of it.”
The Duke’s face reddened and he stumbled. “Yes, that’s it.”
She rubbed her finger against his strong tension filled shoulder. “You’re such a handsome man. I wouldn’t mind if you courted me at all.” And he was very handsome, with a strong jaw and impeccable black, curly hair tied at the back of his neck. Pleasant warmth seeped through his jacket and the material of her glove into her flesh. Shaken, she pointed across the room. “Oh, look at Lady Millicent, she’s standing all alone in the corner.” She stared at the Duke. “You should ask her to dance. She’s quite nice and is rather intelligent. Half the time I have no clue what she’s talking about.”
“I still have to see Lord Trenton.” He brought her expertly through the dance steps and ignored her attempt at matchmaking.
Ava stepped on his feet several times on purpose. Why did she have to always act impulsively? The more she felt his touch, the more she looked at him, the more she cursed herself a fool. “I’m sorry for stepping on your foot. Did I hurt you? I can be quite clumsy. I was born with two left feet. Well, not literally but figuratively speaking.”
He was tall, well over six feet. Aveline was a tall woman herself but at five ten she had to look up at the Duke, and suddenly, she found it very disconcerting the way he studied her. She leaned closer. “Is there something amiss? Did my earbob come loose?”
He smiled suddenly. “Yes, I believe you’ll do.”
“What do you mean I’ll do?” She shifted uncomfortably. “If you’re suggesting a tryst, Your Grace, I would never.”
“No, quite the contrary. I’m thinking you’d make the perfect wife.”
Ava’s mouth dropped open. Did the Duke just say what she thought he had? “Pardon?” She leaned closer. “I believe I heard you quite wrong, Your Grace.”
“Come now, the prospect of being a Duchess should be pleasing.”
The music ended and shocked by the turn of events, Ava wanted to swoon and then thought it a good idea. He surely wouldn’t desire someone with such a weak constitution. “Did I mention I swoon quite easily?” She gasped, fanning herself fast, rolled her eyes up into her head and let herself fall.
Amazingly, he caught her before she hit the floor, hefting her into his strong arms like she weighed nothing more than a small child. At that moment she was impressed by his strength. Not many men could carry her so effortlessly.
Her mind raced for ways to escape him as he carried her out of the ballroom, afraid to open her eyes.
Mathew caught him. “What happened to Ava?”
“She’s in shock.” The Duke’s voice crisp and all business. “Come, we have much to discuss.”
The Duke set her gently down on a settee. “Does your sister always swoon so?”
She moaned and fluttered her eyes, and hoped that he would leave soon and forget about his silly notion.
Maria Desrosiers loves romance and adventure. Ever since she picked up her first romance novel, when she was a teenager, she’s read or written romantic fiction. There’s nothing more beautiful than two people finding their way to one another. She hopes this passion is reflected in her stories.
She lives in a small town in New Hampshire where she raises her three children, Marcus, Delphine and Joseph. Andrew, her husband of over ten years, and their children are the loves of her heart. Their pets are an enduring and tolerant, yellow fuzz ball of a cat, Simba, a turtle, Francis, and a kissing fish.
Maria’s hobbies are crochet, tatting, painting, drawing and other arts and crafts that look interesting to learn. Writing has been Maria’s biggest challenge, besides her children, and she’s loved every moment.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 366
Paper Weight (lb): 15.4
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