“Go upstairs and also remainder, Charlotte.” Lord Granville rose and also crossed the room. “I’ll take treatment of everything.”

No, no, no.

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That was the wrong guy.

And why was he addressing her as Charlotte? As appropriate as he was, he need to understand better. That level of familiarity was booked for family members.

Or couples who were betrothed.

She stared at the carpet. “We are not engaged, my lord.”

“I suppose not. But that won’t take long.”

Colin kissed her on the cheek. “I’ll leave the 2 of you alone.”

“Don’t,” she hissed at him, getting to for his sleeve. “Colin, no. You can’t leave me.”

But her initiatives were in vain. Her brother-in-law escaped her clutches, deserting her.

Left via no various other choice, she turned to look at the marquess. Judging by the weariness roughly his eyes, he hadn’t slept any type of more than she had last night. He had actually, yet, discovered the moment to bathe and also shave, and readjust right into a dark blue morning coat, paired with immaculate buff breeches and also poliburned boots.

Charlotte never before trusted civilization that looked this excellent initially point in the morning.

She tucked an uncooperative strand of hair behind her ear. “You can’t probably mean to propose marriage to me.”

“I can intend, and I execute mean. I have actually given my word to your mommy, Sir Vernon, and currently your brother-in-legislation, as well.”

She shook her head in disbelief. “This situation is intolerable.”

He made no reply.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I didn’t expect that to sound fairly so insensitive. It’s not as though you’re the last man on earth I would certainly pick to marry. I’m not stupid enough to assert anypoint of the sort. I constantly uncover it ridiculous when ladies say such a point. The last male, truly? I expect, the human being has a good many kind of criminals and also dullards in it. And even eliminating those, tright here have to be millions that scarcely bathe.”

“So you’re saying I rank above the median.”

“In the peak quartile, solidly. But that’s precisely why you deserve better than marrying the first impertinent girl that literally flung herself at you.”

His lips quirked in a subtle smile. “What makes you think you were the first?”

Oh, dear. Tright here he went, being likable again. It was a lot too early on in the day for his subtle humor. She hadn’t reapassed away her defenses.

“You’re a marquess and also a diplomat.”

“But not an amnesiac. I do recall that I am.”

“Then you must recall this: You need a wife that is elegant and also achieved. The consummate hostess.”

His gaze settled on her in a the majority of unsettling method. “All I truly require from marriage, Miss Highhardwood, is an heir.”

She swallowed, audibly.

“I have actually no must marry for money or connections,” he ongoing. “You, however, might advantage from mine. On my component, I require a young, healthy and balanced bride—preferably an intelligent and good-natured one—to bear me children and ensure the succession of my line. This case we discover ourselves in, though unsupposed, have the right to occupational to our mutual benefit.”

“So it’s a marriage of convenience you’re proposing,” she shelp. “A basic transaction. Your wide range for my womb.”

“That’s a quite crass summary.”

“Is it an honest one?”

Perhaps he truly didn’t require a worldly, elegant companion. Perhaps he found his requirements of companionship met in various other areas, and all he wanted was a fertile bride without the inconvenience of a courtship.

All the even more factor to acquire out of this.

He led her to a pair of chairs and also motioned for her to sit. Charlotte’s body felt numb.

“Although this is not the complement you might have envisioned,” he shelp, “I suspect you will certainly discover it a satismanufacturing facility one. As Lady Granville, you will have a fine home. Several of them, in truth.”

“Yes,” she sassist weakly. “I seem to recall the number 5.”

“You will additionally have pin money, a legacy, and entrée right into the highest possible echelons of culture. When children come along, you need not be a servant to their upbringing. In brief, you will certainly have actually whatever you could probably desire.”

“With one fairly notable exemption,” she shelp.

“Tell me, and it will be yours.”

How can it not be obvious? “I would prefer to autumn in love.”

He paprovided, considering. “I expect that can be open to negotiation. After you’ve provided me an heir, of course, and just if you can promise to be discreet.”

She was incredulous. “You’ve mistaken me, my lord. I would choose to loss in love via the guy I marry. And what’s even more, I would like to be loved by him in rerevolve. Don’t you desire the same when you wed?”

“Quite honestly, no. I don’t.”

“Don’t tell me you’re one of those bullheaded guys that refoffers to believe in love.”

“Oh, I think love exists. But I have never preferred it for myself.”

“Whyever before not?”

He looked aside, as though he were choosing his words closely. “Love has a method of rearvarying a man’s priorities.”

“I must hope it does,” Charlotte shelp, laughing a tiny. “If it’s done appropriate.”

“That’s exactly why love is the one deluxe I can’t afford. I have duties and duties. A great many human being depfinish on my clear judgment. There’s a reason the poets say ‘falling in love,’ and also not ‘climbing.’ There’s no controlling it, no choosing wright here one lands.”

She expected he was right, in a method. But even if she could carry herself to disapsuggest Delia, endure the gossip, and give up everything she’d assumed she wanted . . . she couldn’t imagine agreeing to marry without love.

You can’t eat love, she heard Mama’s voice insisting. But then, she couldn’t host a conversation with a heap of coins. She couldn’t uncover tenderness or passion in a substantial, empty house. Or also 5 dwellings.

She knew herself too well. A polite marital relationship wouldn’t remain polite for long. She would try to make her husband also love her, and also if that attempt failed, she would certainly thrive resentful. They would finish up despising each various other.

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This was why—no matter what her mom schemed and planned—Charlotte had promised herself she would just follow her heart.