Monday, September 2, 2013
~ Prologue ~
Lord Pennington whipped around to face him. With a trembling fist he drew it up. “You will listen to me damn it!" he roared.
Jagger stood where he had entered in the doorway and did not move. His calm demeanor and casual lean on the door frame only fueled his father's fury. “What are you two men to gain from this arrangement?” He glanced over to Mr. Millings.
“You disobedient bastard. How dare you make a fool of me,” his father screamed.
Jagger leaned forward off the frame and walked over towards the others. He held out a hand and waited for her to take it.
Ginger glanced wide eyed between her grandfather and his father. “I would like a word in private with you, Lady Millings.” Jagger said. “Do not mind them. Take my hand.”
Her eyes met his bright brown eyes. She had only just made his acquaintance but yet felt a level of trust she could not explain. Reaching her hand up she placed it in his. The strength enclosing around her hand gave her an assurance it would be alright. Ginger watched him as she rose to her feet. The stren hard expression he held for the two men in the room only moments earlier fell away as he smiled at her.
He led her out the doorway and down the hall. With her hand still in his Jagger held her with a secure grip. “There is no need to tremble, Lady Millings.” His tone was softly low as he rubbed his thumb over the top of her hand.
She glanced up at him. Jagger led her onto the balcony in the rear of the townhouse. “I did not expect the evening to unravel this way. My apologies, Lord Pennington.”
He chuckled quietly. “No apologies necessary tonight. I should have seen this coming from my father. His selfish need to secure a future heir is no shock to me.”
Ginger turned towards the night's sky. “I believe it may have been my grandfather's idea. He has always said he desired for me to marry wealth and preferably to a titled family, which you are.”
Jagger gazed at her dark black hair moving in the breeze. Little wisps of it trailed across her cheek and over her lips. “I want you to know you are not the reason for my refusal. I have just become the age of twenty five and am in no way ready to be a husband to any woman. As beautiful as you are, Lady Millings I will not marry a woman you does not love me.”
Ginger turned to him. “I understand.”
“You couldn't be a day over twenty yourself,” Jagger added.
“Two months ago,” Ginger said and then laughed softly. Turning back to the stars she let out a long sigh. “To be honest, I am relieved you disagreed with the marriage. It will give me a little more time.”
“Time for what?” Jagger asked. His gaze fell back down to her profile. The brilliant light blue of her eyes captured the sparkle of the stars above.
Ginger's eyes fell as she bit up her bottom lip. “Time to find someone who will love me for me I guess. To be forced on a man whom you don't know is.” She paused for a moment. “Degrading and embarrassing.”
“Not to mention I'm sure terrifying,” Jagger added.
“Yes,” Ginger giggled. “I was so nervous at the thought of meeting you and then to know I was to be introduced and married as fast as possible. Sadly if it is not to be you then my grandfather will soon find another suitor for me.”
“No wonder why you were trembling, “Jagger said. He couldn't stop staring at her.
“Well, that has seemed to subsided now.” She gazed up to him. “Thanks to you,” she said softly. His square jaw clenched and she wanted to reach up and stroke him gently. He was beyond handsome.
“How about if we make our own arrangement?” Jagger offered.
“An arrangement?” Ginger repeated.
“Seeing that you will be pushed off onto the next willing man and I will forever be hounded by my father, what if we agree to tell them we are to marry but not for five or so years from now. If before that time you find your true love I will release you from our engagement.”
Ginger smiled at his idea. “And if you happen to find yourself ready and in love I will be happy to do the same for you.” she said.
“To be truthful, I can't imagine any man not finding himself falling in love with you,” Jagger whispered.
Ginger's heart quickened. “Your words are too kind, Lord Pennington.
“Jagger.” He leaned in a little closer. “Please, call me Jagger.”
“Alright, Jagger. Call me Ginger,” she said as she inched slightly forward.
“Ginger,” he said as he moved his hand up to her cheek.
“Yes Jagger,” she said gazing into his eyes.
His mouth was just inches away. Telling himself that what he was doing was wrong and reminding himself to stop were to differnt things. Her breath carried a scent of sweet butterscotch and cascaded over his lips with soft tempting gasps. “I'm going to kiss you now.”
Ginger gazed at his tanned skin in the moonlight. She had never before been so taken by a man. Growing breathless with passion her eyes slowly closed. “Please,” she whispered as their lips met.
~ Chapter 1 ~
He stared at her waiting. At some point she was going to look over and notice him. Slowly he walked the far outer perimeter of her circle. Jagger knew this day would come and thought of it often.
“I would be ever so grateful if you were to accompany me to the art show tomorrow afternoon, Ginger.” Nancy asked with pleading eyes.
Ginger smiled wiry. “I do not think I will be able to schedule that with all the-
“Is there any way I might be able to pursued you, Lady Ginger?”
She turned quickly. Nancy's quiet giggles behind her were hidden from no one in attendance around them. “Marquis Diamond, how do you do this evening?” Ginger said as she curtsied before him.
Jagger paused watching the exchange. This must be him?