A Bride for the Maverick Millionaire. Marion Lennox

A Bride for the Maverick Millionaire - Marion Lennox

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      ‘I’m fine,’ Maud said, stepping nimbly back on board. ‘This morning was an aberration. Will you have lunch with us, Mr Kinnard?’

      ‘Thank you, but no.’

      ‘Why not?’ She fixed him with a gimlet eye and he was eerily reminded of two great-aunts who’d bossed him mercilessly as a child. In Maud’s presence, he felt about six again.

      ‘I prefer my own company,’ he said apologetically. A man did have to be sensible. ‘I have books I need to read.’

      ‘So does Rachel,’ Maud snapped. ‘And what good do books do her? Why do you prefer your own company? Are you married?’

      It was an impudent question. Maud met his gaze with a look that said she knew very well she had no business asking, but what use was old age if she couldn’t take a few liberties?

      He could have snubbed her—but he’d kind of liked those old aunts.

      ‘No,’ he conceded.

      ‘Are you gay?’

      Rachel choked but he managed to keep a straight face.

      ‘No again.’

      ‘This isn’t one of those “This-is-my-honeymoon-I’ve-been-dumped-but-I’m-coming-anyway” set-ups, is it?’ she demanded and Rachel gasped.

      ‘Maud! That’s enough!’

      ‘I’m just asking,’ Maud said, innocent as butter. ‘He’s gorgeous. There has to be a reason why he’s on his own.’

      He sighed. He didn’t want to tell her to mind her own business, but this was one fiery, intelligent lady and if he didn’t tell her something she’d go on probing. Maybe she’d even guess the truth.

      ‘You don’t need to tell us anything,’ Rachel said firmly. ‘Maud, leave the man alone.’

      ‘It’s no secret,’ he said, and managed a rueful grin. ‘I might not be married but I’m not exactly a loner. I have three blissful weeks without two kids, and I’m making the most of them.’ He glanced at Rachel and he saw the vulnerability in her eyes—and then he glanced at Maud and thought uh oh, maybe admitting to having kids was just going to lead to more questions.

      So close the door on them, here and now.

      ‘What I’m about to tell you is a bit like telling you I’m an alcoholic,’ he said, softly but deadly serious, ‘then saying please don’t give me a drink. What I’m saying is that Connie and Richard are both the result of shipboard affairs. I like travelling but I don’t always like the consequences. Rachel says you like to matchmake, Dame Maud. Well, if I were you, I’d keep your Rachel far away from me. Grant me my peace, Dame Maud, and leave me alone with my books.’

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