Shelves: desire , billionaire-romance Belinda is about to wed Tod, a stable young man from a well-to-do family when Colin Granville shows up and sabotages her storybook wedding. He is also her husband. At least, that is what he exclaims in the front of the church. Belinda thought her one impulsive night in Vegas was cleared with an annulment when she came to her senses the following morning. Her family would disown her, especially if they found out her new spouse was a Granville. He plans to fight for what he wants, and what he truly wants is Belinda by his side and in his bed.
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Belinda heard it then, too. The footfalls sounded ever closer. Belinda heard the commanding words fall like an anvil on her heart. A sick feeling gripped her. She closed her eyes. She recognized that voice—its tone bland but edged with mockery. There was a rustling and murmuring in the congregation. Beside her, Tod had gone still. Bishop Newbury looked quizzical.
Slowly, Belinda turned. Tod took his cue from her lead. Even though she knew what—no, who—to expect, her eyes widened as they met those of the man who should have been a sworn enemy to a Wentworth like her. Colin Granville, the Marquess of Easterbridge, heir to the family that had been locked in a feud with hers for centuries…and the person who knew her most humiliating secret.
When her eyes connected with his, she felt longing and dread at the same time. Even under cover of her veil, she could tell there was challenge and possessiveness in his gaze. His face was hard and uncompromising, his jaw square. Only even features and an aquiline nose saved him from looking harsh. His hair was the same inky dark brown that she remembered and a shade or two darker than her own chestnut.
Brows winged over eyes as dark as they were fathomless. Belinda raised her chin and met his challenge head-on. How did one crash a wedding? Apparently, the ticket was a navy business suit and canary-yellow tie.
Belinda supposed someone should be standing to defend the honor of the Wentworths, and Uncle Hugh—as the head of the family—was the logical choice. She scanned the settled mass of New York and London high society. Her family seemed aghast, but other guests looked fascinated by the unfolding drama. Her bridesmaids and groomsmen appeared ill at ease, even her friend, Tamara Kincaid, who was always self-assured.
Off to the side of the church, her other close friend and wedding planner, Pia Lumley, had blanched. Bishop Newbury frowned, clearly perplexed, and then cleared his throat. Behind Belinda, the reverend began to cough. Beside her, Tod stiffened. It lurked in the area around his eyes and in the slight lift to the end of his mouth. As a matter of precise accuracy, she was correct. They had been married oh-so-briefly, but no longer were.
Still, Colin looked too sure of himself. Regrettably, I must disagree. Her face felt suddenly hot. No one was supposed to know about her impetuous and hasty elopement. Belinda knew she had to move this scene to a place where she could face down her demons—or, rather, one titled demon in particular—in a less public way. She walked intermittently through beams of sunlight slanting through the air. Outside, Belinda knew, it was a perfect June day.
Inside, it was another story. Her perfect wedding was ruined by the man whom family and tradition dictated she should loathe most in the world. When she drew abreast of the marquess, he turned to follow her across the front of the church and through an open doorway that led into a corridor with several doors.
Behind Colin, Belinda heard Tod, her erstwhile groom, follow. When she stopped in the corridor, she heard a louder rustling and murmuring break out in the church. Now that the principal parties had exited the area of worship, she assumed the congregants felt at greater liberty to voice their whispers. She could only hope that Pia would be able to quiet this affair, though she was realistic enough to believe, too, that the effort would be mostly in vain.
In the meantime, she could hear Bishop Newbury state to the wedding guests that there had been an unexpected delay. She ducked into an unoccupied room nearby. Looking around, she concluded from the sparse furnishings and lack of personal belongings that the room probably served as a staging area for church functions. Turning around, Belinda watched both the groom and her alleged husband follow her into the room. Colin closed the door on the curious faces still looking at them from the main area of the church.
She threw back her veil and rounded on Easterbridge. Until now, Colin was the embodiment of her biggest secret and her greatest transgression.
Outrage was, of course, not only the logical but also the easiest emotion to adopt. You and Easterbridge are married? It was nothing. Seventeen thousand four hundred seventy-two, by my calculation. And now it had come back to haunt her.
She was a person who prided herself on remaining unruffled. But if her brief history with Colin was anything to judge by, the marquess had an unparalleled ability to get under her skin. I distinctly remember doing so. In our case, the annulment papers were not properly filed with the court for judgment—an important last step. Colin looked her in the eye.
Now she regretted the decision not to hire a lawyer. Certainly a departure from the red sequin ensemble that you wore during our ceremony. I was out of my mind. But then she supposed that, as her spouse, Colin felt he took precedence over Tod, an almost husband. Even physically, Colin was more imposing. He was the same height as Tod but more muscular and formidable.
She rued her continuing awareness of Colin as a man. Still, it was a situation she intended to rectify forthwith to the extent she could. Colin shrugged. Still, he gave nothing away. Not even the state of Nevada works that fast. Her wedding day was well and truly ruined. She stared at him in impotent fury.
A Marriage Fit for a Sinner. Jan 25, Jasey rated it really liked it Shelves: Want to Read saving…. Daiga rated it liked it Jul 23, Lists with This Book. That Night with the Rich Rancher. Other books in the series. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.
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