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Page 26 of Just Desserts (Holland Springs 4)

Excellent news. Pictures?

Of course. Paparazzi would go mad for even a hint that he was seeing someone.

Will have to you in 15. Send to usual contacts.

By morning, the London papers would have him and Daisy linked together. Hell, he wouldn’t be surprised if they weren’t calling for an engagement before the weekend. Perhaps he should consider heading it off, or would it be better to play it close to the vest? Shouting his love and adoration for Daisy would be a dead giveaway of the farce, mostly due to the fact that he did not shout his love and adoration for anything.

Quickly, he made a mental list of all the events Daisy could attend as his fiancée. Taking her home with him was absolutely necessary. Maybe there, on his own turf, he could confess all to her.

Rolling his shoulders, he attempted to relieve the pent-up tension. What he wouldn’t give for a round with his bodyguard, Ivan. The man didn’t care in the least what title Sebastian held and tried to beat the shit out of him every time they sparred.

Tapping his fingers against his thigh, he glanced up and then at his phone, noting the time. He had several hours before he had to be back at the airport. Although, he could have left earlier and slept on his jet. Then again, he wouldn’t have been photographed driving to his brother’s home.

Still, the tension was driving him mad.

He canted his head side to side, rolled his shoulder again, and then gave up. Tension wasn’t the worst of his problems, not by a long shot.

His phone buzzed.

Daisy: Jules, are you around? Can I call you?

Jules: No, I’m in the…

Where the hell could he be that didn’t allow chatting on the phone?

Jules: the library, reading about the history on the house I bought in Cheam.

Daisy: Oh, fun! I love the library. Sure Google is easier, but there’s something about holding the real thing in your hands.

He couldn’t agree more. He’d rather be holding her than this phone in his hands as they talked.

Daisy: Wow. Your library is open late!

Oh hell. He’d forgotten about the time difference between them.

Jules: It’s near a university—students and the like use it.

Daisy: That’s nice. Okay, so you swear to keep a secret and an open mind?

Jules: Yes.

Daisy: I had a guy proposition me today, and I need your advice.

Jules: What?!

Daisy: Not like that!

Jules: What did Isabella and Haven say?

Daisy: I didn’t tell them. Bella’s gone out of town for the next couple of days and needs to concentrate of engagement stuff. Haven would freak out, and that’s not helpful.

This ought to be interesting.

Jules: Go on.

Daisy: Funny thing...So, you know that picture you sent me of your celebrity look-alike?

He did remember, and he remembered her response as well. She thought he was hot. Him. Sebastian Romanov, and not his brother.

Daisy: Well, his twin brother showed up out of nowhere, all weird and stuck up about my hair color and my food, and then proceeded to ask me to be his fake fiancée so he can get his company back. He said he’d pay me for it.

Well, that certainly was one way of looking at their meeting.

Jules: Did you tell him to get the hell out?

Daisy: No.

Jules: Why not?

Daisy: He’ll pay off my mother’s insurance bills and any future bills if I do, but…

Jules: But what?

Daisy: I’d have to lie to everyone about our relationship. I don’t know if I can do it. I’d feel like a prostitute or something.

Jules: Are you exchanging sex for money?

Daisy: Seriously, Jules?

Jules: Sorry, but if all this bloke wants is for you to pretend to be his fiancée and nothing more for money that would make your problems go away…honestly, I fail to see how this is a problem.

Yeah, he was a selfish bastard, but dammit, he wanted to help her. He wanted her. This was his only chance to accomplish both goals.

Daisy: So you think it’s okay? You won’t think less of me for agreeing? I mean, there will most likely be pictures and it might show us all lovey-dovey or something.

Jules: Yes, I do. No, I won’t. And unless you’re madly attracted to the bloke, I’ve nothing to worry about, do I?

Nothing appeared for a while, but the … while she typed, erased, and retyped. He blinked and the fine hair on his neck stood. Was she really that attracted to him?

Daisy: Beyond his looks and body, I don’t think there’s anything inside of Sebastian Romanov that could keep my interest. I’d rather have you, Jules. Any day.

He supposed he should be happy that she was choosing him over him, but he wasn’t. He wanted her to like him as Sebastian, too.

Jules: I was never worried.

Daisy: So what should I do to get the upper hand? He strikes me as the type who likes to be in charge of EVERYTHING.

“Oh, I do, darling,” he laughed.

Jules: Maybe flirt with him a little, tease him, and stroke his ego (and only his ego).

Daisy: But that’s what I do to you, or at least try to do. *blush*

His heart beat wildly in his chest. Did she now?

Jules: Did you do that to him?

Daisy: No, he was too busy ordering me to make a decision because he had more important people to see. *eye roll*

Jules: Try it, see how he responds. If it doesn’t work, then we’ll regroup and try a different tact so you feel comfortable.

Daisy: All right. I’ll try it your way. Night, Jules.

Jules: Good night, darling.

Letting the phone fall to the bed, he scrubbed a hand over his face. He was bloody tired of this charade already and he’d been here less than a day. However, once he got back from New York, nothing would stop him from charming the hell out of Daisy Barnes.

Chapter Ten

Daisy sat outside on a wrought iron and wood bench, eating her lunch. The sun shone cheerfully in the sky and the unseasonably warm weather should have made her happy.

Key words: should have

Only Jules’s advice had her all irritated. She didn’t want to flirt with Sebastian, or tease him, or any of the things she did with Jules. It felt wrong, but her stupid body got all happy about it. Even her brain got in on the action last night, and made her have a dream about the arrogant earl.

He’d kissed her everywhere she’d always wanted to be kissed. He’d turned her over and made her hold on to the frame of the bed while he whispered how beautiful she was, how out of control she made him feel.

If only she’d never kissed him under the mistletoe. If only she didn’t know how nice he could be when he wanted. If only she knew what to believe about him.

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