Belle Abbot jumped like a frightened cat and whirled away from her reflection in the mirror.
She knew who was there.
She stared at the door thinking not for the first time she did not have a good feeling about that night.
She felt both a strange, thrilling expectation and a not so strange fear of disaster.
This combination of feelings was very weird.
The former, she had no idea its cause.
The latter, she knew was Miles.
She should have never agreed to come there.
She knew it, she just knew it. She should have never let him talk her into it.
It was too soon.
They’d only been dating a month which was way too soon for her to meet his mother.
And it was definitely way too soon for her to spend the weekend at the family’s ancestral castle in order to attend his mother’s posh annual birthday bash which would be a veritable crush of the rich and famous.
Belle was not comfortable in a crush of people. She’d definitely not be comfortable in a crush of the rich and famous.
She walked on leaded feet across the huge expanse of her richly appointed bedroom to the door. She was forty-five minutes late to join the party downstairs and she wondered what Miles’s reaction would be to her tardiness.
She was late partially because it took her forever to do her hair.
She was also late because she was purposefully dillydallying in an effort to delay her arrival at the festivities and hysterically considering feigning a headache, or a fast-acting and incapacitating stomach flu.
She pulled open the heavy door.
She was right. There stood Miles Bennett.
He looked, she noticed instantly, very good in his formal attire.
This wasn’t the first time she realised how good he looked. Indeed, it wasn’t something you could miss.
However, she’d thought he’d looked good before she’d ever met him, considering he was famous because he and his family were extortionately wealthy.
She’d seen his pictures in magazines since she was a young, romantically-minded girl and he was a teen. She (and undoubtedly many other girls around the globe) watched him growing up tall, strong, lean and handsome, living a jet-set lifestyle. The kind of lifestyle that always captivated the press and young, romantically-minded girls. Therefore, the press covered his life regularly and with a great deal of devoted attention. The same devotion that young girls who grew to be young women who grew to be just women without the young attached followed it.
He was blond, blue-eyed, broad-shouldered and had a slim but muscled body that he held with an attractive ease.
Though there was something in his eyes that worried Belle. Something she couldn’t quite put her finger on. Something she didn’t think she liked.
Those eyes did a sweep of her and she watched as they grew hungry not in an entirely good way. In what Belle thought was a somewhat greedy way, a way that put her on edge.
Then he muttered, “Jesus.”
Belle wasn’t certain about his odd response.
She looked down at herself anxiously and asked, “Do I look okay?” before her eyes lifted back to his.
His gaze moved from her chest to her face and he grinned. That look that made her uncomfortable left his face. Another look, a look that made her think maybe she was being a bit crazy, a look filled with warmth and affection, replaced it.
His hand came out and he teasingly flicked the ruffle at her neck.