Love's Duel - Кэрол Мортимер - Love’s Duel Carole Mortimer Читать онлайн любовный роман

В женской библиотеке Мир Женщины кроме возможности читать онлайн также можно скачать любовный роман - Love's Duel - Кэрол Мортимер бесплатно.

Правообладателям | Топ-100 любовных романов

Love's Duel - Кэрол Мортимер - Читать любовный роман онлайн в женской библиотеке LadyLib.Net
Love's Duel - Кэрол Мортимер - Скачать любовный роман в женской библиотеке LadyLib.Net

Мортимер Кэрол

Love's Duel

Читать онлайн

Аннотация к роману
«Love's Duel» - Кэрол Мортимер

Carole Mortimer is one of Mills & Boon’s best loved Modern Romance authors. With nearly 200 books published and a career spanning 35 years, Mills & Boon are thrilled to present her complete works available to download for the very first time! Rediscover old favourites – and find new ones! – in this fabulous collection…From scandal… …to seduction!Leonie is trying to rebuild her life after a scandal that rocked her world and ruined her reputation. Four years ago she was accused of blackmail and brought to trial for the crime she had not committed. But for which, powerful prosecuting attorney, Giles Noble was convinced she was guilty!Now Giles is back in her life and determined to make Leonie pay for the injustice…in his bed! But feisty virgin Leonie won’t be fooled. If Giles wants to bed her, he’ll have to wed her!
Следующая страница

Love’s Duel Carole Mortimer

Table of Contents

Title Page













LEONIE looked up as her friend and associate came excitedly into the room, waving a letter about under her nose. ‘Have you won the pools?’ she teased the older woman.

‘Better than that,’ Emily Dryer said ecstatically. ‘Giles is coming down for the weekend!’

Giles was Emily’s nephew, Leonie knew that. He was senior partner in one of the most exclusive law firms in London, the pride of his doting aunt, and Leonie had heard much of him during her three months of doing the sketches for the short stories for children that Emily wrote. The two of them had met through Emily’s agent; Emily was capable of writing for children but not of illustrating the stories. Despite their forty years’ difference in ages, Leonie being twenty-two and Emily in her sixties, the two women managed to work very well together.

The nephew Giles had been talked about a lot, his virtues outlined for Leonie to enthuse over. He did sound a remarkable man, very young to be the senior partner of a six lawyer firm, their clients some of the most important people in the country. And according to Emily her nephew was much in demand by the ladies, apparently still being a bachelor.

‘He has no use for women,’ Emily had tutted after telling her this.

‘None?’ Leonie teased.

‘I won’t let you embarrass me,’ Emily had fluttered. ‘I’m sure Giles has his—friends, but never anything serious. There’s never been anyone he thought enough of to introduce to me.

From what Leonie could gather aunt and nephew were very close, so it was feasible to assume that nephew Giles had indeed never found a woman to meet his high standards. Leonie thought he sounded like a supercilious snob, but she would never let Emily know that. Dear Emily, who had treated her like the daughter she had never had. Emily seemed to make a habit of taking people’s children under her wing, taking care of her nephew when her sister had disappeared from his life, and now Leonie was receiving the same care.

‘She was a flighty piece,’ Emily spoke of her sister. ‘She should never have married a barrister. John was much too staid for her.’

From what Leonie could gather from that nephew Giles had been deprived of his mother at an early age. Maybe that accounted for his seemingly solitary existence, his way of finding women an unnecessary encumbrance. Whatever his reason, he didn’t sound a very pleasant individual.

Consequently Leonie had taken a dislike to Emily’s nephew before she had even met him. His profession had been enough to cause her initial dislike, and Emily’s frequent assertions of what a talented barrister he was had intensified those first feelings. Leonie hated lawyers of any kind, hated their way of seeming to be on your side, and then suddenly pouncing on you. She particularly disliked one J. G. Noble, his chilling grey eyes cutting into her like a knife as he reduced her to the level of a common thief preying upon other people’s weaknesses.

But she wouldn’t think of that hateful man, suppressing the shiver of revulsion that rose within her just at the thought of him. She had managed to keep him out of her mind for several weeks now, the nights of waking up in a cold sweat as he called her ‘nothing but a leech, a leech that should be removed from all decent society’, almost becoming a thing of the past.

But she couldn’t blame Emily’s nephew for that, and Emily did look so excited about this surprise visit. Leonie would try to be pleasant about him, if only for Emily’s sake.

‘So nice of him to spare the time to visit his old aunt,’ Emily chattered on. ‘He’s such a busy man.’

Too busy, apparently, to even visit the woman who had been a mother to him since he was five years old. ‘Lawyers often are,’ Leonie said noncommittally.

‘Especially successful ones. Oh, Leonora, it’s going to be so nice having him home again!’

Emily was the only one ever to call her Leonora, claiming from their first meeting that it was much too pretty a name to shorten in that way. Leonie didn’t mind, it reminded her of the way her mother had always done the same thing.

‘When will he be arriving?’ She tried to take an interest in Emily’s much-loved nephew.

The other woman skimmed through the contents of the letter again, the writing large and angular, the signature a single G. ‘He says some time Saturday morning.’

Leonie nodded. ‘Then I’ll make sure I’m gone by about nine.’

‘Gone?’ Emily repeated dazedly. ‘Gone where?’

‘To London for the weekend. You won’t want me here when you have your nephew staying.’ Leonie frowned over the sketch she was just doing, the little boy’s dog looking more like a Shetland pony than an Old English Sheepdog. She worked better without interruptions, but dear Emily did like to sit and have a chat. If only her sketches would come as easily as Emily’s talent for storytelling. But it didn’t, her own minor talent needed much work and sheer hard slog before she had attained her now high standard. But not today, this dog just wasn’t right at all.

‘Nonsense,’ Emily quickly disabused her of the need to go away for the weekend. ‘You’re like part of the family. Besides, Giles has expressed a wish to meet you.’

Leonie’s huge pansy-blue eyes widened. ‘To meet me? Whatever for?’

‘I have no idea. He says—ah, here we are—he says “I look forward with extreme interest to making the acquaintance of your good friend Leonora”. There!’ Emily beamed. ‘Now you can’t disappoint Giles,’ she said as if that settled the matter.

Leonie could indeed disappoint him, in fact she had no choice. And she felt sure that nephew Giles’s ‘extreme interest’ was in fact only a polite acknowledgement of that fact that he knew she even existed. Leonie had seen the chatty letters Emily wrote her nephew, and she had noticed the way Emily was always quoting her. If Giles was the bumptious prig she thought he was then he wasn’t in the least interested in the opinions of his aunt’s working colleague. But poor Emily didn’t seem to realise that, insisting that Giles liked to receive her letters. The fact that she only received answers to one in every three never seemed to bother her.

‘I have to, Emily,’ she lessened the disappointment with a smile. ‘Don’t you remember, I told you weeks ago I would be away this weekend?’

Emily looked vague. ‘Did you?’

‘Yes,’ Leonie insisted patiently. ‘My brother is coming home.’ She bit her lip. ‘I said I’d go and see him on Saturday.’

‘So you did. Oh, bother!’ Emily looked annoyed. ‘And I did so want you to meet Giles. I’m sure the two of you will get along famously.’

‘Another time,’ Leonie excused, sure that she and Giles wouldn’t get along ‘famously’ at all. Giles probably put everyone he met through his own private trial, and Leonie had had enough of courtrooms to last her a lifetime. ‘I’m sure there will be other opportunities for us to meet,’ she added politely.

Emily obviously wasn’t pleased, although she remained very excited about her nephew’s visit, throwing the whole house into an uproar as she made ready for his arrival.

By Saturday morning Leonie was pleased to get away, and get her battered Mini out of the garage. As she drove down the long driveway she had to veer sharply to the left; the huge monster of a car coming in the opposite direction was not willing to give an inch as it whooshed past her. She turned to glare at the driver of the Rolls-Royce, receiving only a glimpse of the back of a dark head, as the driver had not given her a second glance.

That had to be nephew Giles, she knew Emily wasn’t expecting anyone else this morning. At least Emily would be pleased, he had arrived earlier than she had expected. But as far as Leonie was concerned his manners could use a little working on.

She forgot all about nephew Giles, her thoughts going forward to Phil. She hadn’t seen him for four years. He had refused all her offers to visit him, so she had no idea of his reaction to her going to see him this weekend.

He didn’t seem to understand why she wanted to see him, telling her in the two letters she had received from him in the last four years that it would be better if they didn’t meet again. Phil felt guilty about his treatment of her, she realised that, but he was the only relative she had left in the world.

Four years… God, it was a lifetime! Four years when she had had to live with the knowledge that Phil, her stepbrother, had used the love she felt for Jeremy Lindsay for his own ends. She had gone out with Jeremy in all innocence, a naïve eighteen-year-old to his sophisticated forty, never guessing that he was married, that he had a daughter a year younger than she was.

But Phil had known, and he had tried to capitalise on it. The first Leonie had known of his interference in her life had been when Jeremy had suddenly stopped seeing her, his haughty secretary always putting her off when she called him, telling her he was busy or that he wasn’t in the office. The next thing to happen had been her own and Phil’s arrest—for blackmail! The fact that she had denied all knowledge of Phil’s intention, and that he had backed her claim, had made no difference to the police. She had been charged along with Phil.

And J. G. Noble had crucified her in court. Oh, he had been so charming to start with, smiling at her, pretending her believed her—and then he had pounced. All the charm had gone, the warm grey eyes turned flinty, his magnetic good looks became harsh as he verbally ripped her to shreds—and she hadn’t been able to do a thing about it.

She hated John Noble with a fierceness that hadn’t abated with time, hated the way he had sneered at her morals, the way he had derided her. She had watched the blaze of fury in his eyes as she was set free, the court believing her plea of innocence.

But she would never forget her shame, never forget the humiliation she had suffered in that courtroom as the intimate details of her friendship with Jeremy were revealed to everyone in the room. J. G. Noble had taken great pleasure in telling of every single kiss, every caress she had ever shared with Jeremy, had watched with contempt as she squirmed in her seat, her face bright red.

Jeremy had been in court too, sitting beside a pretty redhaired woman, his wife for the last twenty years. Leonie had believed him when he told her he loved her, had willingly succumbed to his practised seduction. Just how practised she had soon found out. Apparently the Lindsays were one of those couples who had an ‘open’ marriage, each partner indulging in the odd affair while still remaining married to each other. Leonie had just been another affair to Jeremy, whereas she had believed him to be the love of her life.

Her love had died as surely as all trust in the male gender had died, and over the years she had built a wall around her emotions that was as hard as steel. Only Tom had ever been able to penetrate that shell, dear sweet Tom who had asked for nothing except that she be his wife.

Almost in London now, she looked up the address Phil had given her, although it still took some finding. Phil had a room in one of the old houses that were still very much a part of London, the rent seeming exorbitant to Leonie. But as Phil had pointed out in his letter, beggars couldn’t be choosers.

The house was definitely not what she would have called luxurious, although the decor seemed quite good for a house of this age. By the time she reached the third floor she had passed one room with a child screaming at the top of its lungs, and the room just below Phil’s had pop music blaring out so loudly it was impossible to identify song or singer. The place was a madhouse!

There was no answer to her first knock, although she could hear some signs of movement as she knocked again. The door opened slowly and a bleary-eyed Phil stood in the doorway.

He was a vastly changed Phil, his boyish features seeming to have hardened, his face gaunt. There was an air of aggression about him that made it difficult for Leonie to relate him to the boy she had grown up hero-worshipping.

She had adored him all her life, had trailed after him as a child with big worshipping eyes. When he had gone away to university she had been heartbroken, her joy immense when he had suddenly arrived home again a year later. Her mother and father had been furious, and at the time Leonie hadn’t realised the seriousness of his being thrown out. She realised now that he had always had a wild restless streak in him, a craving for danger and excitement. Her parents hadn’t understood his behaviour at all, and when he moved to London they had been secretly relieved.

But Leonie and Phil had remained close through the years, had become even more important to each other when their parents were killed in a plane crash. She had even travelled up some weekends from the little Berkshire village she had lived in all her life to stay in London with Phil. It had been during one of these visits that she had met Jeremy at a party. He had been so much older than her, so sophisticated and self-assured that she hadn’t stood a chance when he had singled her out for his attention.

‘Leonie…’ Phil greeted her now, leaning heavily on the door, wearing only a towelling robe.

She gave a shaky smile. ‘I—er—I said I’d call on you today. Did you get my letter?’

‘Yes, I got it,’ he acknowledged gruffly, his blond good looks harsh. He was in need of a shave and a shower, although he seemed unconcerned by his appearance.

Leonie bit her lip, her blue eyes deeply shadowed, her bottom lip trembling. She felt strangely vulnerable standing here—and very unwelcome. Phil’s mood was resentful, as it had been the first time they had met. She had been four and he twelve, their parents having just married each other and so made them brother and sister. It had taken years for Phil to accept her as such, and now it looked as if he no longer wanted to continue such an unreal relationship as stepbrother and stepsister.

‘Aren’t you pleased to see me, Phil?’ she asked tremulously.

‘I told you not to come, Leonie,’ he scowled.


‘Phil, are you coming back to bed?’ called a husky female voice.

Colour flooded Leonie’s cheeks. She hadn’t thought of him not being alone or still in bed—after all, it was nearly lunchtime. ‘I’m sorry,’ she said jerkily. ‘I didn’t realise…’ She turned away, tears in her eyes.

A hand came out to grasp her wrist as Phil pulled her round to face him. ‘What did you expect, Leonie?’ he taunted. ‘I’ve been away from women for the last four years.’

‘Yes.’ Her eyes were haunted.

He moved impatiently, his features twisted into bitterness. ‘Stop trying to make me feel guilty. You always could, you know, just with one glance from those baby blue eyes. Even when we were younger I succumbed to those blue eyes and your hair like the gold of an angel.’ He touched it gently. ‘You used to wear it long, Leonie, why did you have it cut?’

She swallowed hard, aware that they were tentatively reaching out towards each other. ‘Tom thought it was prettier this way,’ she faltered.

‘Tom? Oh yes, your husband.’ Phil ran a tired hand across his eyes. ‘Why did you come here, Leonie? I asked you not to. We don’t have anything to say to each other.’

She put her hand on his arm, her fingers long and tapered, the nails kept short for her work. ‘You’re my brother, Phil,’ her eyes implored him. ‘Of course I’d want to see you.’

‘I’m not your brother, I’m not even related to you, your mother just happened to marry my father.’ He shook off her hand.

‘Phil!’ The female voice was petulant now.

He gave a deep sigh. ‘Now isn’t convenient, Leonie,’ he said tersely, glancing pointedly behind him.

‘No,’ she agreed huskily.

‘Look, I’ll meet you in—say, an hour. There’s a café just down the road from here, Pete’s it’s called. Go and have a cup of coffee and I’ll see you there later.’

Leonie turned away, feeling slightly sick. Phil had changed, toughened, his mood very bitter. And that he wasn’t pleased to see her was obvious.

‘Leonie!’ Phil’s voice was sharp as he halted her.

She turned slowly. ‘Yes?’

‘Will you be there?’ Some of his boyish charm broke through, some of the Phil she had grown up with.

‘Do you want me to be?’

‘Yes,’ the admission was forced out of him.

‘All right,’ she gave a shaky smile. ‘An hour.’

She was sitting at a window table when Phil arrived at the café fifty minutes later, having already drunk two cups of coffee, receiving curious looks from the waitress as she continued to sit here. Phil looked a little better now, freshly shaven, his overlong hair combed into some sort of order.

He sat down opposite her, searching her pale features. ‘I’m sorry, Leonie,’ he said huskily. ‘I ought to be shot. After all this time you still cared enough to come here, and I act like the swine I am. I really am sorry, Leonie, for everything.’

‘I know that.’

‘I don’t see how,’ he grimaced. ‘I’ve done nothing to give you that impression.’

‘You’re my brother—You are, Phil,’ she insisted as he went to protest. ‘Mum and Dad would have wanted us to stick together.’

‘Not after what I did to you. And that bastard Noble!’ he swore savagely. ‘God, he was a vindictive swine! I’ll never forget the way he talked to you, the way he made you appear no better than a——’

‘Yes, Phil,’ she interrupted with a shiver; Phil had voiced the painful memories she had thought of only hours ago. ‘I’ve never forgotten him either.’

‘Handsome devil, wasn’t he?’

Leonie looked startled. She had never thought of the lawyer as being handsome, had only ever had nightmares about the condemnation in his accusing grey eyes, the rest of the man had faded into a haze. But she thought of him now, remembered the black hair, the way even at thirty-five he already had grey wings of colour at his temples. His eyes had been piercing, his nose slightly aquiline, with a thin mouth, the lower lip slightly sensual although kept firmly in check. He was a tall man, who had always worn a pin-striped black suit to court, his linen immaculate, his hands long and tapered, the nails kept short and clean.

He had been a man untainted by crime himself, and had no patience or pity with anyone who was. He believed her to be guilty and so she was, it was as simple as that.

‘Leonie?’ Phil prompted at her continued silence.

She gave a quick, nervous smile. ‘Sorry—bad memories.’

‘I’m not surprised,’ he grimaced. ‘He made mincemeat of you. Still, I’m glad you got off in the end.’

‘We aren’t here to talk about me, Phil,’ she said briskly. ‘I want to know how you are.’

He shrugged. ‘Unemployed.’

She sighed, ‘I didn’t mean that.’

‘I know, love. I’m fine. A little older, a lot wiser.’

‘Really?’ Her look was piercing.

‘Really. Oh, I know it didn’t look that way this morning, but Wanda is a special friend.’

‘You don’t have to explain that to me. It has nothing to do with me.’

‘Yes, it does.’ He fidgeted with the salt-pot in the middle of the table. ‘I was damn rude to you earlier.’

‘It doesn’t matter.’ Nothing mattered now except that she and Phil were actually talking to each other again. After this morning she hadn’t thought it was possible.

‘It matters.’ He put the salt-pot down, looking at her across the table. ‘You’re my little sister, Leonie. I wish you didn’t have to see me like this. And you should hate me—I used you.’

‘I don’t hate you.’ She put her hand over his. ‘I never could. Jeremy wasn’t what I thought he was anyway. Although that doesn’t excuse what you did,’ she added hastily.

‘If it’s any consolation, I paid for it, Leonie. It’s no picnic being in jail.’

‘No, I’m sure.’ He didn’t exactly look as if he had been having a good time.

‘How’s your life been?’ He studied her. ‘You’re looking well.’

Looks can be deceptive. Oh, she was attractive enough, her hair was short and wavy, very blonde, her eyes deeply blue and fringed by long dark lashes, her nose small and pert, her mouth wide and generous, her neck long and slender, her figure petite in the brown silky dress, her legs long and shapely, shown to advantage in high-heeled sandals. And yet she wasn’t happy, the wide and generous mouth hardly ever smiled, and there was an unhappy droop to her slender shoulders.

‘What was your husband like?’ Phil asked at her continued silence.

‘Kind,’ she replied without hesitation.


‘And we were very happy together.’ She looked down at her empty coffee cup.

‘You didn’t answer my first question,’ Phil prompted softly. ‘What was he like?’

‘He was—older than me——’

‘How much older?’ her stepbrother cut in, his eyes narrowed.

‘Quite a bit,’ she evaded. ‘He was a widower, very lonely, and——’

‘You kept each other company,’ Phil derided.

‘He was kind,’ Leonie said firmly.

‘But he died.’

‘Yes. We—we had been married about a year and he—he had a terminal disease. But at least he was happy at the end, I made sure of that.’

She hadn’t wanted to become involved with any man, she had shunned them all, but a year after the trial she had met Tom. He had seemed to need her, and in a way she had needed him. He had taught her to live again, had given her a reason for living, and he had loved her very much, despite knowing the truth about her past.

Phil sat back. ‘I wonder what Noble would have made of your marrying a man so much older than you, especially as Tom died only a year later,’ he shook his head.

It wasn’t hard to imagine John Noble’s reaction to that. A man like him would never understand the genuine affection that had prompted her to marry Tom. ‘I can imagine,’ she grimaced. ‘But I wasn’t left a rich woman, so at least he couldn’t throw that in my face.’

‘That man could make a nun look corrupt!’

‘Only because he has a mind like a sewer,’ Leonie snapped.

‘You really hate him, don’t you?’

‘Hate is too mild a word,’ she said vehemently. ‘What I feel for him can’t be put into mere words. And Jeremy was as bad, sitting there with that smug look on his face, letting that man say all those lies about me. And they were lies, Phil. I never——’

‘I know, love,’ he consoled gently. ‘I know you too well ever to believe such things of you. If only I’d known of Lindsay’s arrangement with his wife! I would never have approached him if I’d known. I’d been gambling heavily, I needed money, and a Harley Street doctor, a married one at that, seemed like a godsend to me.’

‘And instead you found he was quite proud of his sexual encounters,’ Leonie remembered bitterly. ‘It certainly hasn’t done his practice much harm. I’ve heard that he’s had to turn new patients away because his book are full—and all of these patients were female,’ she added dryly.

‘Some women!’ Phil scorned. ‘The only one who seems to have really suffered out of this is you, and you were completely innocent of the whole thing.’

‘I wouldn’t call your time in prison getting off lightly.’

‘I deserved it. But it’s taught me something.’

‘What’s that?’ she asked eagerly.

‘Never to get caught again.’ He laughed at her expression. ‘That was a joke, Leonie.’

She gave a wan smile. ‘It’s never seemed particularly funny to me.’

‘Or me,’ he was serious now. ‘I really have learnt my lesson. I’d been playing on the edge of crime for some time before Lindsay stopped me. Going to prison was a very unpleasant experience, and I don’t intend ever going back again.’

‘What will you do about work?’ she asked worriedly. ‘You said you were unemployed.’

‘I’m starting a job on Monday. They got it for me through the prison, so my employers know my background.’ He shrugged. ‘If they’re willing to give me a try then I think I owe it to them to do my best. I’ll be a success, Leonie, you’ll see.’

‘If you need money——’

‘No! No, I have enough.’ He smiled. ‘Just because you’re rich now it doesn’t mean I’m willing to let you help me out. I have to stand on my own two feet, even if I fall over a couple of times.’

‘I’m not rich, Phil,’ she smiled at the description. ‘But if you need help——’

‘I don’t,’ he told her firmly. ‘I’m starting the way I mean to go on, with a clear conscience.’ He grinned suddenly. ‘But I’ll let you buy me lunch if you like.’

‘I like,’ she smiled back.

They relaxed with each other much more over the meal, laughing together as they used to, and Phil made Leonie feel young again, taking her back to the happy childhood they had shared together.

‘When did you start drawing?’ Phil asked as they finished their meal. ‘I remember you were always good at art, but you never mentioned taking it up as a profession.’

‘That was Tom’s idea. He was an art teacher at one of the colleges, and he encouraged me to develop what talent I have.’

‘It seems to have paid off.’

‘Yes.’ Much more successfully than she had ever imagined.

‘What’s Emily Dryer like? God, do you know I can remember reading her books way back in my childhood,’ he said ruefully. ‘I used to like the way the kids in her stories could always get filthy dirty and get away with it. Mum and Dad used to give me a good hiding if I came home like that.’

‘Only because you used to do it all the time,’ Leonie smiled. ‘And Emily is the kindest woman I ever knew. Next to Mum she’s the woman I love the best.’

‘Then she must be nice.’

‘She is,’ she confirmed huskily. ‘A little on the forgetful side now, but absolutely full of energy. She leaves me standing when we go for a walk together, and at the end of the day when I’m ready to collapse she’s still going strong. The woman she used to work with died, and for a while Emily stopped working. But she has too much talent to stop for ever, and so six months ago she took up her pen again. She had two other girls helping her before me, and neither of them worked out, but when we met everything seemed to click into place.’ Leonie shrugged. ‘I’m happy there.’

‘And you’ve put the past behind you?’

She repressed a shiver, the past had never seemed so painful as it had been today. First there had been the fact that Emily’s nephew was a lawyer, and then seeing Phil again after all this time, both had reminded her very strongly of the past, of the nightmares that were never far away. The past could never be forgotten, it could only be accepted, and she was nowhere near accepting it yet.

‘I’m happy,’ she evaded a direct answer. ‘And especially so now I have you back,’ she smiled at him. ‘Can we spend the evening together, or are you going out?’

‘With Wanda, you mean?’ he grimaced. ‘She thought you were another girl-friend this morning. It took some time to convince her you were my sister.’ His face darkened. ‘I could have killed Noble for implying any other sort of relationship between us!’

Leonie had forgotten that, forgotten John Noble’s implication that her relationship with Phil was more than just that of stepbrother and stepsister, the way he had hinted at them being lovers and preying on the affections of a besotted man. God, she thought, that man’s mind was worse than a sewer, it was totally warped.

‘So we can spend the evening together.’ She pushed all thoughts of John Noble to the back of her mind, wishing she could forget about him altogether.

‘And tomorrow too, if you like,’ Phil took his cue from her.

In the end they spent all of the weekend together, and Leonie was glad to discover that Phil’s veneer of toughness was only skin-deep, that underneath he was still her much-loved brother. By the time she drove back to Kent she was a lot more relaxed, and Phil seemed more inclined to seeing her again.

She was surprised to see the plum-coloured Rolls-Royce still in the driveway when she arrived back at Rose Cottage late on Sunday evening. She smiled to herself as she remembered the way she had looked for Emily’s cottage when she had come down for the first meeting, only to discover that the ‘cottage’ was a huge house, albeit surrounded by a veritable orchard of roses. Emily was an eccentric, and if she wanted to call her home Rose Cottage then that was exactly what she could call it.

Leonie let herself into the house with her own key, hearing the murmur of voices in the lounge. She would have to go in and say hello to Emily’s nephew, although after that long drive she wasn’t really in the mood to be sociable.

Emily came out of the lounge, closing the door behind her. She smiled as she saw Leonie. ‘There you are, my dear. I was getting quite worried about you. Did you have a nice time with your brother?’

‘Lovely, thank you, Emily.’ She slipped off her jacket, the navy blue trousers and blouse she had worn for the drive still looking bandbox fresh. ‘Have you had a nice weekend?’

‘Oh yes,’ Emily glowed. ‘I’m just going to make some coffee, would you like some?’

‘Let me do it,’ Leonie instantly offered.

‘Certainly not,’ Emily replied indignantly. ‘I’m perfectly capable of making a pot of coffee. You’re as bad as Giles! I’m not incapable, you know. He says I should slow down, that I work too hard.’

‘Well, you do,’ she agreed gruffly, knowing Emily wasn’t going to like her saying it.

‘I have to work, it’s what I like doing best.’ She sighed. ‘Now I’m not going to let you upset me. Go along into the lounge and introduce yourself to Giles.’ She marched off into the kitchen.

With a shrug Leonie turned to open the lounge door. Emily’s last words had bordered on an order, and it sounded as if her nephew might have upset her once today already. Emily was a dear, but she didn’t like criticism of any kind, especially about the hours she worked. Obviously nephew Giles had touched upon this sensitive subject.

A man rose from the chair beside the fire as Leonie entered the room, a man who left her gasping, a man who was shockingly familiar, a man with the cruellest eyes she had ever seen, and that man was John Noble!


Получить полную версию книги можно по ссылке - Здесь

Следующая страница

Ваши комментарии
к роману Love's Duel - Кэрол Мортимер

Комментарии к роману "Love's Duel - Кэрол Мортимер" отсутствуют

Ваше имя


Введите сумму чисел с картинки