Thursday, September 13, 2018

Fall Into These Great Reads Bookathon, THE ACCIDENTAL WEDDING by Debra Elizabeth

You can see all the books involved in the Great Reads Bookathon at N.N. Light's Book Heaven.


The food was as excellent as Cade predicted, and Keira did not want this evening to end. Perhaps if she convinced Cade to explain more about his estate, she could prolong their inevitable parting of ways. “So, do you think you’ll be able to work with your brother if he takes over the estate?” A look of sadness passed over Cade’s face, and Keira regretted bringing up the painful subject again. “I’m sorry if that’s too personal a question. Please forget I mentioned it.”
Cade reached over and gave her hand a squeeze. “No, it’s fine. It’s not something I can run away from, so I might as well face the facts. Unfortunately, I don’t think Edward and I are well suited to run the estate together. Edward has never been interested in the details. He cares only about his personal income, and in a few days, he’ll have full access to all of the estate’s income. I can only imagine what his plans are for the future, if indeed the estate will even have a future. I especially worry about all the village jobs that could be lost if Edward does not continue with the course of actions I’ve established. We employ quite a few villagers, who depend on the stability of the estate to make their living.”
“That’s not good. Are you sure you can’t reason with Edward?”
“I can try, but I don’t know how much influence I’ll have. Edward and I have drifted apart as we’ve gotten older. I don’t exactly know when it happened. It could have been when my father started grooming me to take over from him. Instead of including Edward in his instruction, he ignored his younger son. That could be why Edward has no love for the intricacies of the estate. One thing I do know for sure is that our ideas about the future are vastly different.”
Keira couldn’t stop staring at him—his blue beautiful eyes, strong jawline, and those full sensual lips. She could fall into his gaze and never leave. What would it be like to kiss him? To have his hands explore her body? A flush stole over her skin and her lips parted. Before she could change her mind, she blurted out, “I’ll marry you.”
His fork stopped halfway to his mouth. “What?”
Under his intense stare, Keira swallowed hard. “Well, I was just thinking. You need a wife to keep your home, and at the moment, I’m homeless and unemployed. I could be your wife. Maybe Elizabeth’s idea is not so far-fetched after all.”
Cade put down his fork and focused his full attention on her. “Keira, this is not something to take on lightly. You would have to move to England, and we must stay married until my thirtieth birthday plus a day. Do you understand that?”
She nodded. “I understand. Let’s think about it as a business arrangement. You need a wife at your side, and I have always wanted to see England. It sounds like a perfect arrangement. What could go wrong?”
Cade shook his head. “I don’t know what to say. It’s a big responsibility. Are you sure about this?”
“Yes. I’m positive.”
“You would do this for a total stranger?”
“Well, you’re not a total stranger now, are you? We’ve already saved me from a fall, and we’ve had our first date, so to speak. Your company is delightful, and I would very much like to spend more time with you.”
Cade sat back against the cushions, studying her. It was long minutes before he spoke again. “I see. Well, in that case, we have a few details to work out. First, before we marry, I’ll have my solicitor draw up the business agreement. At the end of the year, two million dollars will be deposited into your bank account. I hope you’ll consider that fair compensation for helping me out.”
Keira nearly choked on her drink and set the flute down on the table. “Two million dollars?”
“Do you want more?” Cade asked. “I can be quite generous if that’s what you require.”
“Oh, no, no. That’s more money than I’ve ever dreamed of, that’s all. I never thought about money in our arrangement.”
“It is a small price to pay compared to what you’re offering to do for me.”
“You know I didn’t offer this to get money, don’t you?”
“Yes, but I would like to do this.”
Keira found it hard to finish her dinner. Two million dollars. What she could do with that kind of money was mind-boggling. She could help out her sister, set up college funds for the children, and buy a home of her own. She’d definitely need to consult a financial advisor when she returned from her year abroad about the best way to invest the money.
Her thoughts were interrupted by Cade asking, “Is your meal not to your liking?”
She glanced at the delectable man sitting beside her. She’d get to spend a year in his company. “It’s delicious. I guess I wasn’t as hungry as I thought.”  
“If you’re finished, shall we go back to my suite and iron out the details of our arrangement?”
Keira took a sip of her champagne. It was now or never. If she wanted to back out, she should tell him now. The lure of the money was secondary to her decision to help him, although two million dollars was more money than she’d probably make in her lifetime. She’d had no idea there would be money involved when she offered to marry Cade. He was so handsome and had looked so vulnerable when he explained his dilemma, and she had just blurted out her offer to marry him.
She suddenly felt sick to her stomach. It was such a huge decision. Her impetuous nature had certainly reared its head tonight, but how could she go back on her word now? Cade was a delightful man, as far as she could tell, and from the sound of it, Edward would ruin the estate if he got his hands on it. Her innate goodness wouldn’t allow her to let Cade down when he needed her most.
“Yes. I’m ready.”
Maybe I should have just kissed him instead.


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