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.”“I don’t know much, but I’m learning every day,” Fay laughed.“I’ll leave her with you, Bart,” Abby said.“Do keep her away from J.D., will you? He seems to think she’s stalking him.”“Do tell?” His eyebrows levered up and he grinned.“Why not stalk me instead? I’m a much better catch than J.D., and you won’t need preventive shots if you go out with me, either.”Insinuating that she would with J.D., she thought.Rabies probably, she mused venomously, in case he bit her.She smiled at Bart, feeling happier already.“Consider yourself on the endangered species list, then,” she said.He laughed.“Gladly.” He glanced toward the band.“Would you like to dance?”“Charmed.” She gave him her hand and let him lead her to the dance floor, where a live band was playing a bluesy two-step.She knew exactly where J.D.Langley was, as if she really did have radar, so she was careful not to look in that direction.He noticed.It was impossible not to, when she was dancing with one of his bitterest enemies.He stood quietly against a wall, his silver eyes steady and unblinking as he registered the fluid grace with which she followed her partner’s steps.He didn’t like the way Markham was holding her, or the way she was responding.Not that he wanted her, he assured himself.She was nothing but another troublesome woman.A debutante, at that, and over ten years his junior.He had no use for her at all, and he’d made sure she knew it.Their one evening together had sent him tearing away in the opposite direction.She appealed to him terribly.He couldn’t afford an involvement with a society girl.He knew he was better off alone, so keeping this tempting little morsel away from him became imperative.If he had to savage her to do it, it was still the best thing for both of them.She was much too soft and delicate for a man like himself.He’d break her spirit and her heart, because he had nothing to give.And his father’s reputation in the community made it impossible for him to be seen in public with her in any congenial way.He’d accused her of stalking him, but gossip would have it the other way around.Another money-crazy Langley, critics would scoff, out to snare himself a rich wife.He groaned at just the thought.He didn’t like seeing her with Markham, but there was nothing he could do about it.He shouldn’t have come tonight.He turned away to the refreshment table and poured himself a glass of Scotch.“You aren’t really after Donavan, are you?” Bart asked humorously.“He flatters himself,” she said haughtily.“That’s what I thought.Like father, like son,” he said unpleasantly.“I don’t understand.”He made a graceful turn, carrying her with him as the music’s tempo increased.“After Donavan’s mother died, Rand Langley got into a financial tangle and was about to lose his ranch.My aunt was very young then, plain and shy, but she was filthy rich and single, so Rand set his cap for her.He kept after her until he seduced her, so that she had to marry him or disgrace her family.She was crazy about him.Worshiped the ground he walked on.Then, inevitably, she found out why he really married her and she couldn’t live with it.She killed herself.”Fay grimaced.“I’m sorry.”“So were all of us,” he added coldly, glaring at J.D.Langley’s back.“Rand didn’t even come to the funeral.He was too busy spending her money.He died a few years later, and believe me, none of us grieved for him.”“That wasn’t Donavan’s fault,” she felt bound to point out.“Blood will tell,” came the unbelieving reply.“You’re well-to-do.”“Yes, but he can’t stand me,” she replied.“I don’t believe that.I can’t imagine J.D.passing up a rich woman.”“How many has he dated over the years?” she asked with faint irritation.“I don’t keep up with his love life,” he said tersely, and all his prejudices showed quite clearly.Fay could see that he wouldn’t believe a kind word about J.D.Langley if he had proof.“The two of you don’t get along, I gather.”“We disagree on just about everything.Especially on his ridiculous theories about cattle raising,” he added sarcastically.“No.We don’t get along.”She was quiet after that.Now she understood the situation.It couldn’t have been made clearer.She danced with several eligible bachelors and several married men before the evening ended.It surprised her that J.D.Langley was still present.He remained on the fringes of the dance floor, talking to other men.He asked no one to dance.Fay was sadly certain that he wouldn’t ask her.But in that, she was surprised.The band was playing a soft love song and she watched Bart glance in her direction.But before he could get across the room, Donavan suddenly swung her into his arms and onto the dance floor.Her heart skipped wildly as she felt the firm clasp of his hand on her waist, his fingers steely as they linked her own.“This is not a good idea,” she said firmly.“I’ll think you’re encouraging me.”“Not likely.By now Bart’s filled you in, hasn’t he?” he replied with a mocking smile.She averted her eyes to the white ruffled shirt he wore under his dinner jacket.On another man it might look effeminate.On Donavan, it looked masculine and very sexy, emphasizing his dark good looks.“I got an earful, thanks,” she replied.He shook her gently.“Stiff as a board,” he mused, looking down at her.“Are you afraid to let your guard down? There’s very little I could do to you on a dance floor in front of half of Jacobsville.”“You’ve made your opinion of me crystal clear, Mr.Langley,” she said without looking up.“I haven’t been stalking you, as you put it, but you’re free to think what you like.Do try to remember that I didn’t ask you to dance.”“That was the whole purpose of the exercise,” he said carelessly.“To make sure you didn’t set your cap for me.”“Then why are you dancing with me?”His lean arm whipped her close on a turn, but he didn’t let her go afterward.His dark face was all too close, so that she could smell his tangy aftershave, and his silver eyes bit into hers at point-blank range.“Don’t you know?” he asked at her lips.Her heart tripped as she felt his breath.“Oh, I see,” she said suddenly.“You’re trying to irritate Bart.”He lifted his head and one eyebrow quirked.“Is that it?”“What else?” she asked with a nervous laugh, averting her eyes to a fuming Bart nearby.“Listen, I’m not going to be used for any vendettas, by you or your hissing kin.”His fingers curled into hers and drew them to his broad chest.It rose and fell heavily, and he stared over her dark head without seeing anything.“I don’t have any vendettas,” he said quietly.“But I won’t be accused of following in my father’s footsteps.”She could feel the pain in those terse words, but she didn’t remark on it.Her eyes closed and she drank in the delicious masculine scent of him.“I won’t be rich for another week or two,” she murmured.“Until the legal work goes through, I’m just a temporary secretary.”He laughed in spite of himself.“I see [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]