The Yuletide Engagement & A Yuletide Seduction

The Yuletide Engagement & A Yuletide Seduction by Carole Mortimer

Book: The Yuletide Engagement & A Yuletide Seduction by Carole Mortimer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Carole Mortimer
cups.
    â€œEllie?”
    She drew in a deep breath, swallowed hard, willing herself to carry on pouring the coffee without spilling it. No, Gareth hadn’t hurt her, he had humiliated her. But it wasn’t an incident she particularly wanted to relateto Patrick. It was the reason she knew she had meant absolutely nothing to Gareth—the reason she knew what sort of man he really was…
    She gave an over-bright smile, her gaze not quite meeting Patrick’s as she handed him his cup of coffee. “It isn’t important, Patrick,” she dismissed lightly. “We’re all agreed that he isn’t a nice person.”
    Patrick reached out, his hand covering hers as it rested on the tabletop. “Tell me what happened,” he encouraged huskily.
    She closed her eyes, wishing she could shut out the memory of that last time she had been with Gareth but at the same time knowing that she couldn’t.
    Â 
    G ARETH called into her office as she was finishing work, suggesting that he drive her home. Things had been rather strained between them the last couple of weeks—forgotten telephone calls, cancelled dates—and she had welcomed this chance to talk to him alone for a while.
    Toby was still at work when they arrived back at the house, and almost before Ellie and Gareth were in the door, it seemed, Gareth began to kiss her. But as the kiss deepened, with Gareth’s hands roaming more freely over her body than ever before, Ellie began to pull away from him.
    â€œDon’t,” she told him frowningly, at the same time pushing ineffectually at his painful hold about her waist.
    He smiled then—a smile like no other Ellie had seen him give, a smile so scornful it made her cringe. “That’s always been the trouble with you, Ellie,” he told her scathingly as he released her so abruptly she staggeredslightly. “Maybe if you hadn’t been so frigid I wouldn’t have needed to find someone else. As it is…”
    Ellie stared at him. She had suspected something; of course she had. Gareth had been far too elusive these last two weeks for her not to have realised that something had gone seriously wrong with their relationship.
    Gareth raised blond brows at her stricken expression. “Of course, it isn’t too late,” he drawled suggestively. “I could still be persuaded into continuing our relationship. If you were to—”
    â€œYou conceited—!” Ellie broke off angrily, glaring up at him disgustedly. “Let me get this right, Gareth,” she said evenly, eyes narrowed now. “If I’ll agree to go to bed with you then you’ll consider breaking off your other—relationship?”
    The fact that he had another relationship had come as a complete shock to her. But she would think about that later. Once Gareth had left. Because he was leaving. Soon!
    He smiled. “Well, I wouldn’t go quite that far,” he mocked.
    Her eyes widened. “You’re suggesting that I become part of some harem?”
    â€œOf course not, Ellie.” He chuckled. “If everything goes according to plan, I should be getting married soon. But that’s no reason for us to break off our relationship. If things were different between us,” he added pointedly.
    If everything went according to plan! What plan?
    She swallowed hard. “If the two of us were lovers, you mean?” she clarified icily.
    Gareth shrugged. “Well, it would hardly be worth the risk otherwise, now, would it?”
    â€œGet out,” Ellie told him shakily, her hand on the tablebeside her for support; her legs felt so shaky she thought she might fall over otherwise.
    â€œNow, Ellie, there’s no reason to be like that,” he cajoled huskily, taking a step towards her.
    She straightened, her chin raised challengingly. “I said, get out, Gareth, and I meant it. And God help the poor woman you’re planning to marry,”

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