The Seduction of Lady Bea





"Papa talked to you of Jeremy,” she said stiffly, turning away.

Despite his Latin heritage Carlos was a patient man, especially when it was to his benefit.

The anger that flooded his body seemed out of proportion to Bea’s statement. He was no gigolo as this Jeremy seemed to be. Damn her for not seeing the difference. Damn her for her stubbornness and her refusal to realize how much he cared.

He glared at her straight back. His heart felt squeezed and he unconsciously rubbed his chest. This pain was new and not at all comfortable. His glare turned into a scowl.

But he was Carlos Arizon and in affairs of the heart he had always been successful. He would not accept defeat now, not when it was so important. Bea was becoming his everything and she was worth the effort she required from him. She was worth it all.

He grasped her arm and gently turned her to face him. For a long minute he studied her face, the lips pressed tightly together, the suspiciously bright eyes. With a sigh he drew her into his arms and rested his cheek on her hair.

“I should have the insult that you think of me as you do this bastardo. And I do, but I will get over it," he said philsophically. “Carlos, all I know of you is what’s on the internet, what else am I to think?”

“Ah, the internet,” he growled. “Of course it must be true then.”

“I don’t say it’s true, I don’t say it’s not true. What I do say is it’s all I know about you.”

She stepped back and his arms fell to his sides. “You’ve not acted any differently here, have you? You’re pursuing a woman who should be off limits to you, if only because she said so.”

His face darkened. “You believe this of me? This is what your gut tells you of me? This is who you think I am?”

“You’ve told me nothing,” she said helplessly.

“And I will not. It is as I told to your father, it is not my secret alone. If you find the trust of me, my Honeybee, it will be in spite of my oh so bad reputation.”

“And if I don’t?”

He shrugged. “It will not be for lack of my trying. But it is something that will be or will not be. I am who I am and I can only tell you to not believe everything you read.”


* * * *

She thought of testimonials she’d read about Jeremy, rising young politician, pillar of the community, the future of Wansley. The only thing they’d left out was that he was a cold hearted cad. She shivered.

“You are cold. Come, we go back. The Hall is cold too, but at least it’s not windy, and perhaps you will break down and light the fire?”

“You can have a fire whenever you wish,” she said testily.

“Ah Bea, you loosen up enough to scold me, I am making the progress.”

“You sir, are incorrigible.”

“I do not know this word, but it makes no difference, it sounds like it should belong to me.” He put an arm around her shoulders as they walked; she allowed it to remain, relishing his warmth and the care he had of her. She found herself smiling at his inconsequential chatter, tales of Broadway and Spain, and how he’d met Stephen Wilder when he’d backed into his car in downtown Beverly Hills.

“I don’t drive so good,” he admitted.

“It must be the only thing you’re not good at,” she said. “Look how you’re driving over me.”

His arm tightened. She glanced up and met his eyes, warm and tender.

“Incorrigible,” she muttered, but she didn’t move away.


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