A Rogue of My Own (Reid Family #3)

And what makes you think I'm going to do anything you say?"
"Because for the time being you are legally mine,and that means you will obey me."
She nearly choked she drew in her breath so sharply. "Do not count on that,St. John.I don't care what rights you think this mockery of a marriage gives you,as far as I'm concerned,you don't even exist.Do I need to be more explicit?"
"No,I believe we have come to a mutual agreement to forget about each other, which suits me just fine.As long as you do nothing to gain my notice, which means you stay at your home for the duration."
"Your threats don't scare me."
He lifted a brow at her. "No? Then you really must have some odd notions about marriage,if you think you can do as you please now.Ask your mother if you doubt me."
He walked away,and she didn't bother to look where. They were man and wife and would be until he got their marriage annulled. What a rude awakening that was going to be in three or four months' time.For him.

Anytime,anywhere,ask,and I am yours.

Are you ready to discuss what you're doing here?"
"Certainly-with your daughter." He suddenly swept Rebecca into his arms and carried her out of the room.
"Now just a minute!" Lilly protested behind the,.
Rupert didn't stop,in fact, he as nearly running up the stairs to the second floor. Incredulous,Rebecca pointed out, "She might follow us."
"She won't," he replied with typical male confidencec. "I suppose I'll have to try each of these doors to find out which one is yours,just as you did at my house."
He was doing just that,but she said, "Or you could ask."
He glanced down at her. "And you'd tell me?"
"Why don't you try that one." She nodded toward the door he'd been about to open.

At least you didn't need to change your breeches."
He glanced up again instantly, pinning her eyes with his, his own suddenly gone lambent. "Now why didn't I think of that? Would it inspire you to ravish me?

But you know you're sounding like a jealous wife? Are you jealous, luv? I find that rather amusing, all things considered."
"Don't start laughing too soon, because I'm nothing of the sort."
He was still grinning, prompting her to snap, "Your unexpected presence here smacks of jealousy as well, as in checking up on your wife, but you don't hear me accusing you of it."
"I believe you just did.

But your habits undergo no change in this pretense? Or do you think anyone was fooled yesterday by your so-called 'appointment' last night? That is what you told your mother, correct? That you had an appointment?"
His eyes came back to hers. "Are we showing signs of jealousy again?"
"I'm asking a pertinent question," she said stiffly. "If you think this pretense is going to only be one-sided, then it ends now."
Incredibly,his humor returned abruptly, his grin quite wide. "Before you start turning green, I suppose I must admit that appointment wasn't a good word for it, since it wasn't a scheduled meeting. I merely went to see my solicitor,and,no, he doesn't wear skirts."
She ignored that ridiculous attempt at a joke.

Fancy finding you here," he said jauntily.
Nothing about it was fanciful, and she suspected he might have followed her. Why else would he be there?
"You've taken up knitting, have you?" she countered as she walked to the yarn section of the shop.
"No,I've taken up finding you alone. Nice of you to accommodate me."
His answer pleased her more than she could say, but she warned him, "I'm not alone."
"For the moment you are.

He slammed out of the room, determined to speak with Captian Overly himself. If there was any way to get the Merhammer turned around short of holding a gun to the man,he would do it.

He twirled her around a few more times before he said offhandedly, "Aren't you tired of fighting yet? I'm beginning to find it quite tedious m'self. I've even given you the benefit of the doubt-"
"Don't do me any favor."
He cocked his head to the side because she'd turned away to mumble that. "Are you challenging me to make you sweet and lovable again? I believe you are!"
Her eyes flew back to his, but she could't do anything more than sputter over the absurdity. His pale eyes were twinkling, holding back laughter no doubt. What the devil as he doing! Je couldn't be serious.Yet he rubbed his cheek against hers right there on the dance floor!
She should never have turned in toward that unexpected caress. Was she destined to bump lips with him by accident? She drew back instantly while she had the presence of mine to do so. But he didn't.In fact, he moved closer, his mouth actually persuing hers until there was nothing accidental about it! She stumbled as her sensed whirled. That just encouraged him to hold her closer and kiss her more deeply. She was fast approaching the point of not caring!
Desperately, she tore her mouth away to gasp out, "You're going to cause a scandal!"
"I do believe it would be worth it," he said softly by her ear. "But it's only a minor infraction and quite overlooked, since everyone here knows we're married."
"No,they don't.I didn't have it announced."
He stopped abruptly. Several other couples even bumped into them. "Why not?"
She looked away from his frown, which make her feel distinctly uneasy. How to explain her earlier hesitancy without him seeing it for what it was, a full-blown panic? But he didn't wait for her answer.
Suddenly he was leading her off the dance floor. He began a social circuit around the room, missing no one who wasn't currently dancing. From group to group he stopped to introduce Rebecca as his wife,the Marchioness of Rochwood. He did it curtly,as if here completing a task assigned to him, which gave her the odd feeling he was punishing her.She was mortified. Most of those people thought he was joking! They knew him.They knew his reputation. And he wasn't behaving the least bit normally.

He wondered if her spy had stumbled upon his last night. When did he start thinking like his mother?

I'm not beautiful, Becca. Only women are."
"On the contrary." She gave him a most tender look. "Angels are,too."
He groaned and rolled her under him again. "I'm not an angel,either. Angels don't have carnal thoughts like these." He kissed her deeply.

I'm the bride," Rebecca said from the doorway,bringing the room to momentary silence.
Her remark brought every eye in the room to her, inculding Rupert's. "You forgot to say lucky bride, didn't you?" Rupert asked in a low voice as he stood beside her.
That was the usual response of a new bride, she supposed,but it definitely didn't apply to her. "No,I didn't," she whispered back with a false smile. "But I managed to withhold the 'unlucky' that was on the tip of my tongue. You can thank me later.

I never learned to swim."
"Wonderful.That had to be the one skill you don't possess,didn't it?"
How could he be so sarcastic when her panic was soaring again? "When do we reach port?"
"If the weather holds, probably sometime tomorrow."
She glared furiously at him. "You couldn't say that instead of 'next week'? Do you like seeing women faint?" she added scathingly.
He raised a curious brow. "You've figured out how to fake that,too, without hurting yourself?"
"Go to the devil!"
"This room has already become hell, so I'd say I'm close enough."
"For once we agree."
She wasn't going to say another word to the odious man.

I never thought I’d say I’m so very glad you’re a rogue instead of an angel. But I suppose it’s all right as long as you’re my rogue

- Rebecca -

Is there a reason you are here?" he finally demanded.
With complete nonchalance she replied, "Well,I've brought my trunks. I do believe I'm moving in."
"The hell you are!"
"Nice of you to welcome me in your usual boorish manner" was all she said to that.
A muscle ticked in his jaw. It made not a jot of difference that he'd just gone to Norford and back this morning to bring her here himself. That had been his idea.Her coming here on her own was her idea,and it make him suspicious.
"Don't start your manipulations already," he warned her. "Answer my question."
"Why am I still here? Shall we start with the obvious reason? Because I really am pregnant and once my pregnancy starts to show,I do not want to be in a position to have people ask me who my husband is and not believe me when I tell them that it's you."
"And the not-so-obvious answer?"
"Because you make me so furious that I spite myself to spite you!

It didn't even help that I had a man watching the house.I suppose he can be forgiven for not thinking Mary Pearson could be a threat."
"I knew about him," Rebecca replied. "I found him hiding in the garden this morning. I took him some cookies."
Rupert laughed. "Did you? How embarrassing for him, but that was probably my mother's spy.Mine would have been better hidden!

I was already planning to return home because it's getting harder and harder to hide my morning sickness.If there were another option,guess what? I'd take it just to spite you! But marriage to the most unfaithful skirt-chaser in London isn't an option, and you've already had my answer. It's not going to happen."
"It will," he insisted.
"You don't think so? Then I guess you won't mind when your pregnancy is announced in the newspapers."
She sucked in her breath, livid with rage. "Why would you do that?"
"Because you've finally inserted some doubt in my mind,and as long as there's even a speck of it,let me assure you, I will be damned before I allow any child of mine to go to strangers."
"Why don't you just be damned!

I was honest with her."
"You gave her your version-or mine?"
She flushed with angry color. How short that truce was! He expected her to play the role of the happy bride when he couldn't keep his insults to himself?
"I gave her facts,not assumptions. And this isn't going to work if you're going to continue to deliberately provoke me at every turn!"
He raked an exasperated hand through his long hair. "I'm sorry,that was unintentional. I will make every effort to guard my tongue in mixed company."
She narrowed her eyes on him, guessing, "But not when we're alone?"
"The pretense is for others, not ourselves. Neither of us is delusional."
"Of course not,far be it for me to think there's any reality in this. But if you think I can portray genuine smiles and bubbly happiness while around others when I'm so furious that I'm plotting your demise,well, think again!

Lilly Marshall's girl?" Julie cut in.
"Yes,and presently-your daughter-in-law."
The older woman should have been bowled over, but Julie St. John did no more than set down her fork to ask in a somewhat aggrieved tone, "Which one married you?"
"Your eldest. It was a brief ceremony performed at sea just last week."
A big smile formed on her mother-in-law's face, shocking Rebecca. "I must say, girl, you have succeeded where all others have failed.I commend you!

May I speak with his mother?"
"Of course,follow me."
The butler didn't go far,stopping at the door to the dining room to announce loftily, "Lady St. John has arrived, madam."
Rebecca heard a testy tone, from inside the room. "Are you blind, Charles? I'm sitting right here."
"The new Lady St. John.

No one is going to know about this, or should I be more explicit?"
"Yes," she replied sharply. "I am brilliantly cunning and stupidly dense at the same time.Do continue treating me like a child."
"Your sarcasm is uncalled-for."
"I disagree.Actually,I will probably disagree with you henceforth whether I agree with you or not! I can behave like a child if you insist on treating me like one.

Shall we go have a nice dinner in London? And,well, you can't, but I feel like getting a little foxed while we're at it.

She'd barely sat down when he reminded her of that kiss: "Couldn't find any mud?" He said it so casually, she couldn't tell if he was teasing.
"Behave," she hissed at him.
"Never." He grinned at her.
That brought on a slight blush, which in turn brought back her earlier frustration. "If trying to punish me by making me want you,I won't fall for that again," she warned him.
"Do you want me?"
What a ridiculous question. How could she not want him? But she wasn't telling him that. For him to even ask proved his intent was wicked in some form.
"Be at ease,Becca." Then he completely ruined that by adding, "I'm not going to ravish you here at the table, though I confess,I'll probably be thinking about nothing else."
She could have melted off the chair right to the floor, and not just from the scalding blush that flew up her cheeks. She was seeing him in her mind making love to her on the table! She couldn't look down at the table without seeing it now! Oh,God...
She had no iea how she got through that meal. She barely heard a word around her.

Stop looking so bloody fetching," he said.
He might as well have knocked her over, she was that surprised. He felt he'd been enticed into kissing her because of the way she looked?! What sort of nonsense was that?
Hurt,and more than a little frustrated to have such a pleasant kiss end that way, she snapped back, "Excuse me while I go smear mud on my face," she pushed him out of her way to stomp down the corridor.
"You'll find some in the backyard!" he called after her in what now sounded suspiciously like amusement.
"Thank you!" she shouted back, not the least bit amused herself.

They had a nice,if not private, reunion before Rupert joined them. He didn't exactly ruin it, but if he insisted on enacting their pretense tonight, even for her mother,it surely would. Unfortunately, he entered the room wearing a horribly bright lime-green dinner jacket that had his mother immediately scowling at him. So even after that kiss upstairs, he'd decided on an evening of humorously baiting his mother again. Bad timing, with her own mother there, or maybe not.At least it kept Rebecca's own mood light for the moment, since she knew why he did it.
Nor did Julie hold her tongue, remarking in disgust, "I see your taste is still beyond flamboyant. You're a bloody peacock, Rue."
He actually looked behind him as he replied, "I thought I had my feathers tucked away nicely.

What do you mean,who? You just saw me talking to her!"
"If anyone was with you when I arrived, I'm afraid I didn't notice. My eyes were only on you.

When will you be returning?"
"Not as soon as I'd like to. I'm going to have to waste a couple days finding an....acceptable...wife."
Her eyes widened. "You're going to France to get married?"
He didn't answer immediately; he was in fact giving her such a thoughtful look that it began to make her distinctly uncomfortable.
But he finally answered, "Not a'tall. While that might delight my mother, I think even she would prefer an English daughter-in-law. Fortunately, I'm in no hurry to delight her. It's not a real wife I need, just a woman to play the role for a few days."
"A fake wife?"
He smiled enigmatically.
"Whatever for?"
"If you're offering to play the part, we can discuss it further. Otherwise, it's none of your business."
She snorted and had to wrestle with her curiosity a bit before she could tell him, "Real or fake, I find marriage to you so detestable that my answer isn't just no,it's a resounding no.

Who is he?"
"Rupert St. John."
"Isn't he-oh,my,that handsome boy of Julie's? Well, that explains a bit, I suppose. He always did dazzle you whenever you saw him,didn't he?"
"Yes,until I got to know him," Rebecca replied, then wished she'd kept that grumble to herself.
Up went Lilly's brow. "Something else is wrong aside from the fact that you had to get married?"
"I suppose that the bride and groom hate each other could be considered a little something else," Flora said.
This time Lilly sat down.She started to say something, but changed her mind. She opened her mouth to start again, but again snapped it shut. Finally she burst out, "This sort of thing was never supposed to happen to you!" Then after giving herself a brief shake, she said, "Very well, as briefly as you can, please,so I can get beyond this sudden urge to go find a pistol.

You have to tell this ship to turn around!"
He had a feeling she was serious, so he managed not to laugh. Well,he tried-and failed. "I'm sure the 'ship' won't listen to reason. No,really,I'm positive it won't."
"You know what I mean!" she shrieked at him.

You've already slept the entire day. Why not take over for Matthew now?"
"You really think I could sleep with your eyes devouring me all day?"
Her face turned red with rage and mortification. That faker! She had been staring at him at various times throughout the day. She probably had his face so memorized that she could sketch it without his being present. But he couldn't keep his knowledge of that to himself? He had to make sure she was embarrassed right down to her toes?
But he didn't rub it in further. At least,she thought he was done with the subject when he lay down on his seat and turned his back to her. "Get some sleep yourself," he ordered. "You'll need to be at your best tomorrow, too."
She was just lying down when he added, "And keep your eyes off my arse."
Waves of heat crept up to her cheeks. That pretty much guarenteed that she wasn't going to get any sleep until he was out of the coach.