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The Unwilling Mistress

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«The Unwilling Mistress» - 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…The ruthless tycoon’s proposition…March Calendar is single and determined to stay that way—especially while Will Davenport is around. He may be the most eligible bachelor March has ever met, but he's also the most lethal! And she’ll never let him destroy her family’s business…Will is on a mission to buy the Calendar family's farm for redevelopment. But meeting feisty March is an unexpected—and tempting—distraction! He’s prepared to make her a deal, but to save her farm is March willing to sleep with her enemy?
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The Unwilling Mistress Carole Mortimer

They’ve got a date—at the altar!

International bestselling author Carole Mortimer has written more than 115 books, and now Mills & Boon Presents® is proud to unveil her sensational new CALENDAR BRIDES trilogy.

Meet the Calendar sisters:

January—is she too proud to become a wife?

March—can any man tame this free spirit?

May—will she meet her match?

These women are beautiful, proud and spirited—and now they have three rich, powerful and incredibly sexy tycoons ready to claim them as their brides!

The Unwilling Mistress

Carole Mortimer

Table of Contents

Title Page














‘GOOD morning,’ a voice greeted cheerfully, quickly followed by a more tentative, ‘er—again…?’

March closed the folder containing the figures she had been frowning over, not at all happy with what she saw there, taking several seconds to automatically assume the polite smile reserved for the clients entering the estate agency where she worked.

Although that polite smile turned back to a frown as she looked up and realized the reason for the man’s second tentative query.

It certainly was ‘again’, wasn’t it?

She sat back in her chair, her gaze rueful now as she looked up derisively at the man standing in front of her desk.

Under any other circumstances she would have found this man extremely good-looking.

Very tall, probably aged in his mid-thirties, with a tangible air of self-confidence, he had slightly overlong silver-blond hair, with hard, sculptured features, his eyes the colour of sky on a clear summer’s day—which today certainly wasn’t!

It was snowing outside—and not half an hour ago this man had neatly slipped into the car-parking space directly outside here that March had been about to parallel-park into!

The politeness of her role as Receptionist in this busy estate agency, and indignation that instead of being able to park outside she had had to park half a mile away and walk back through the snow, warred inside her.

The latter easily won!

‘Correct me if I’m wrong,’ she bit out caustically, ‘but the last time we saw each other I believe you ensured that I would not have a good start to my morning!’

The man gave a pained wince. ‘You remember me.’

March eyed him scathingly. She was hardly likely to forget him!

She had been absolutely furious earlier when she’d turned to begin her parallel park and seen this man neatly driving his red sports car into the space instead. If she hadn’t already been late for work, due to the bad weather, she would probably have got out of the car and told him exactly what she thought of him. Instead she had driven around for ten minutes trying to find another parking spot, and then had to trudge all the way back in the falling snow. All the time cursing this man for his inconsideration!

The fact that the powerful red sports car had still been parked outside when she’d got back here had only added insult to injury.

Although the reason he had chosen to park in that particular spot was made obvious by the fact that he had now come into the agency. After wasting time by wandering to the newsagent’s two doors down, if the newspaper under his arm was anything to go by. Well, it was his own fault if he had had to wait for her to open up for business; she wouldn’t have arrived late at all if he hadn’t stolen her parking space!

The man gave her a quizzical smile. ‘We do seem to have got off to rather a bad start,’ he acknowledged ruefully.

Yes, they had, but he was obviously a customer, and she was the only one to have arrived in the office so far this morning.

March forced herself to once again smile politely. ‘How may I help you, Mr…?’

‘Davenport,’ he supplied lightly. ‘Will Davenport. Mind if I sit down—March?’ he prompted after a glance at the name tag on the lapel of her suit jacket.

‘That’s what the chairs are for—Mr Davenport,’ she pointed out dryly.

He lowered his long length into the chair opposite hers.

‘Tell me, March,’ he drawled, ‘is everyone here as friendly as you?’ A derisive smile curved his own lips now as he eyed her mockingly across the width of the desk.

March felt the colour warm her cheeks at this deliberate rebuke. Probably deserved, she allowed grudgingly. Although that didn’t excuse his own high-handedness earlier.

‘Only when they’ve had their parking space usurped!’ she returned sharply.

He grinned unabashedly. ‘I live in London.’ He shrugged broad shoulders beneath the navy-blue sweater and thick overjacket he wore. ‘Parking spaces there are up for grabs to the first taker!’

March felt slightly disarmed by that grin. He really was very good-looking, that overlong silver-blond hair falling endearingly over his forehead, laughter lurking in those deep blue eyes, the hardness of his features softened by the grin too.

But the fact that this man was breathtakingly handsome really wasn’t the point, was it?

‘I was the first taker!’ she reminded impatiently.

He gave an irritated frown now. ‘Perhaps we could move on?’

Yes, perhaps they had better. Clive, when he finally did put in an appearance, wouldn’t be too happy with her for alienating a customer—perhaps their only customer on a day like today!

March drew in a deeply controlling breath, straightening some folders on her desk before forcing herself to resume that polite smile. ‘Are you interested in buying a property in the area, Mr Davenport?’


Her eyes widened, grey-green eyes surrounded by thick dark lashes, the same colour as her below-shoulder-length hair. If he wasn’t interested in buying a property, then why—?

‘I’m looking to rent a place for a couple of weeks,’ he added mockingly.

Her brow cleared at this explanation. ‘For the summer?’ She stood up, moving to the filing cabinet behind her. ‘We have some rather lovely cottages—’

‘No, not for the summer. For now,’ Will Davenport corrected even as she pulled open a drawer.

March turned back to him with raised brows before glancing frowningly at the snow still falling outside. It was January, for goodness’ sake, none of the people they had on their books rented the cottages out in winter—mainly because very few of the properties actually had any heating in them, apart from an open fire.

‘I’m in the area on business for a few weeks.’ Will Davenport obviously took pity on her confusion. ‘I’m booked into a hotel at the moment, but I hate their impersonality,’ he added with a grimace.

March really wouldn’t know whether hotels were impersonal or otherwise, never having stayed in one. Living on a farm, the middle one of three sisters, brought up alone by their father since March was four, there had been very little money to spare for things like holidays. And since their father died last year, that situation had only worsened.

She suddenly became aware of the completely male assessment of Will Davenport’s gaze as he studied her, from the top of her ebony head to the soles of her heeled shoes.

At twenty-six, she was tall and slender, with long shapely legs, smartly dressed in a navy-blue suit matched with a lighter blue jumper, pale magnolia skin, her make-up light, her lip-gloss peach, only the pointed determination of her chin indicative of the stubbornness of her nature.

Although Will Davenport obviously liked what he saw, his smile warmly appreciative now as he gave a mocking acknowledgement of his head at her questioning look.

Well, really!

He had literally pushed—parked!—his way into her life—and now he was looking at her as if she were the tastiest thing on the menu!

March moved abruptly to resume her seat behind the desk, glaring across at him as she wondered how much longer Clive and Michelle were going to be; quite frankly, she had had enough of trying to deal with Will Davenport for one day.

Clive Carter and Michelle Jones were not only partners in the estate agency of Carter and Jones, but they also lived together on the outskirts of town. The fact that neither of them had arrived yet had to mean that the snow was delaying both of them. More was the pity!

As the receptionist, March usually only answered the telephone and passed clients on to either Clive or Michelle. Something she really wished she could do with this particular client!

‘I’m afraid Mr Carter and Miss Jones aren’t in the office at the moment,’ she began crisply.

‘I think I can see that for myself, March,’ Will Davenport drawled mockingly.

March flushed irritably at his obvious sarcasm. ‘What I’m trying to say is that I think it would be better if you called back later and spoke to one of them,’ she snapped, grey-green eyes flashing a warning of her rising temper.

His mouth twisted. ‘You aren’t qualified to show me details of any properties for rent in the area?’

If he was meaning to be insulting—and he probably was!—then he was succeeding.

March frowned. ‘Of course I can show you the properties, Mr Davenport—’

‘Then perhaps you had better do so,’ he suggested dryly.

March drew in a deeply controlling breath as she desperately tried to resist the urge she had to wipe that confidently mocking smile right off that sculptured mouth!

The man was infuriating! Not only that, he was arrogant, mocking, and he had the cheek to—

Wait a minute… He was looking for somewhere to rent. She might just have the perfect place for him, at that!

Will wasn’t sure he altogether liked the cat-who-had-swallowed-the-cream smile now curving March’s lips. As if she knew something he didn’t…

Not that he could altogether blame her for being initially annoyed with him—he had taken her parking space earlier, something that had obviously infuriated her.

He had felt more than a little guilty about that when he’d entered the estate agent’s a short time ago and recognized her as she sat behind the desk, but that guilt had since turned to admiration. March was absolutely beautiful when angry. Those unusual grey-green eyes sparkled with the emotion, her pale skin having a blushing hue, as for her mouth—!

But he wasn’t quite so comfortable with that quietly satisfied look on her face now…

‘Tell me, Mr Davenport…’ she leant across the desk confidingly ‘…are you particularly looking for somewhere here in town, or would somewhere further out be of any interest to you?’

Will eyed her warily.

‘That depends in which direction out it was,’ he answered guardedly.

As far as he was concerned, the job he did was completely harmless, moreover he was completely professional, but he had learnt from experience that not everyone looked on it in the same way. The fewer people who knew the reason for his presence in the area, the better it would be. For the moment.

‘Over towards the village of Paxton,’ March told him lightly. ‘If you don’t know where that is—’

‘I do,’ he cut in lightly. ‘Towards Paxton would be perfect.’

March looked startled. ‘It would…?’

‘Perfect,’ he repeated mockingly.

She could have no idea how perfect. In fact, it was exactly where he wanted to be. Staying in the area would mean he wouldn’t have to keep driving out there, could blend into the scenery more easily, and so not make himself quite so conspicuous to the locals. Certain locals in particular!

March looked a little less certain now. ‘The property I have in mind is on a farm in the area, not a cottage but a studio-conversion over a garage.’

‘Sounds good.’ He nodded. ‘When can I see it? I would really like to check out of the hotel and get moved in as quickly as possible,’ he added briskly at her surprised look.

She blinked at his decisiveness. ‘I’m not completely sure that the owners would be interested in a winter let, so I would have to call them first and check—’

‘Go ahead,’ he invited smoothly.

March looked totally nonplussed now. Obviously she wasn’t used to things moving quite this quickly. Well, she would have to get used to it, because Will didn’t have any time to waste, wanted to get the job done, and then get the hell out of Dodge City. Before anyone started baying for his blood!

‘Time is money, March,’ he prompted dryly.

She blinked, her expression suddenly becoming wistful. ‘My father used to say that,’ she explained huskily at his questioning look.

‘Used to?’ Will repeated softly.

March sat up straighter in her chair, that flush returning to her cheeks, as if she had said too much. ‘He died,’ she bit out abruptly, at the same time picking up the telephone. ‘I’ll call the farm now,’ she told him curtly.

Will watched March rather than listened to her conversation. She really was beautiful. Perhaps his time in Yorkshire wasn’t going to be quite as lonely as he had initially thought. If he could get past the prejudice she felt towards him because he had ‘usurped her parking spot’, that was!

‘Will one-thirty suit you for viewing, Mr Davenport?’ March looked enquiringly across the desk at him, her hand over the mouthpiece as she spoke. ‘Even farmers stop for lunch,’ she informed him dryly as he raised blond brows.

‘Fine,’ he snapped, knowing she was deliberately mocking him.

Was it so obvious that he had been born and lived in cities all his life? Probably. But he liked what he had seen of Yorkshire so far, and this part of the county was particularly beautiful.

Although he still had that niggling feeling that there was something not quite right about the property March was sending him to see. Perhaps the farmer had a particularly fierce bull he liked to set on strangers? Or perhaps a pack of hounds? Or perhaps she just found the idea amusing of placing Will, a man obviously used to the amenities of the city, on a farm?

It might be at that; as far as he was aware, he had never set foot on a farm in his life. But there was a first time for everything, and from the sound of it, the location was perfect…

‘That’s settled then, Mr Davenport,’ March told him briskly as she ended the call, writing an address down on a piece of paper before handing it to him. ‘I’m sure that either Mr Carter or Miss Jones would be only too pleased to accompany you—’

‘No, thanks,’ he cut in briskly. ‘I would rather find my own way around.’

She nodded. ‘But please feel free to call back and speak to either Mr Carter or Miss Jones if you find this particular rental unsuitable for your needs.’

Giving Will the clear impression that she already knew it wasn’t going to be!

Which only incited him into wanting to take that satisfied little smile off her beautiful face! ‘March, would you have dinner with me this evening?’

He almost laughed at the sudden stunned look on her face. Almost. Because even as he made the invitation he knew that he really did want her to have dinner with him…!

She was prickly and outspoken, absolutely nothing like a receptionist greeting the general public should be, but at the same time he liked her outspokenness, that sparkle in her eyes, and her beauty was indisputable.

She seemed to gather her scattered wits together with effort, straightening in her chair even as she began to shake her head. ‘I don’t think so, thank you, Mr Davenport,’ she refused tautly, those dark lashed grey-green eyes sparkling with indignation now.

He quirked blond brows. ‘No taking pity on a stranger in the area?’

Her mouth twisted derisively. ‘Being a stranger here, you may not have heard, Mr Davenport, but we had a stalker in the area until he was caught quite recently.’

As it happened, Will had heard—although he wasn’t quite sure he liked her implication!

‘As I recall, the man was a local,’ he reminded dryly.

‘Yes, he was,’ she confirmed abruptly, her cheeks pale now. ‘But that’s all the more reason to be doubly wary of strangers.’

He gave an acknowledging inclination of his head. ‘Maybe I’ll come back tomorrow and ask again—I won’t be a stranger then!’

March gave the ghost of a smile. ‘You can try,’ she challenged.

But he would be wasting his time, her words clearly implied. Pity. He would have liked to get to know her better.

‘Thanks, anyway, March.’ He stood up to leave. ‘I’m expected at one-thirty, you said?’

‘Lunchtime,’ she confirmed dryly.

Good, that would give him time to complete the other business he had in town. Although, so far, that was proving more difficult than he had imagined.

He turned back to March. ‘I don’t suppose—no,’ he answered his own question, shaking his head ruefully. ‘Sorry.’ He grimaced at her enquiring look. ‘I’m making enquiries about a friend of mine who was staying at the hotel until a few days ago, but as he was another stranger, I don’t suppose you would know anything about him, either!’

March eyed him mockingly. ‘I don’t suppose I would.’

Will grinned. ‘Never at a loss for words, are you?’ he said admiringly.

‘Only when invited out to dinner by a complete stranger,’ she mocked her own momentary lack of composure a few minutes ago when he’d made the invitation.

He chuckled softly. ‘It isn’t too late to change your mind about that…?’

‘I’ll pass, thanks,’ she returned smilingly, her attention distracted behind him at that moment as the bell rang over the door to announce a new arrival.

‘Thanks for this, March.’ Will held up the piece of paper with the address on it. ‘You can have my parking space now, if you want it,’ he added goadingly.

March gave him a look from beneath deliberately frowning brows. ‘I believe that was my parking space, Mr Davenport—and I won’t bother now, if you don’t mind.’ She laughed in spite of herself.

Will nodded politely to the man and woman who had just entered, deciding from their business suits, and general air of ownership, that they were probably the Mr Carter and Miss Jones that March kept referring to.

He glanced back inside before driving away, raising a hand in parting to March as he saw she was looking out of the window at him, too. Still with that self-satisfied smile curving her lips, the little minx.

Pity she had turned down his dinner invitation. Although, perhaps with the controversial circumstances of his being in the area, it was probably better not to involve her.

From what he had already been told, he was going to have enough trouble with certain members of the community, without becoming personally involved with another one of them.

As Max appeared to have done…


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