Marrying Mr. English:The English Brothers #7(9)

By: Katy Regnery


Enrolling herself in college courses had taken courage, but Eleanora had read enough books to know that the best way out of poverty was an education, and though she knew she’d likely be in her late thirties before her dreams took shape, at least she had dreams, and at least she was trying to make them come true.

And then Tom English had walked into her life, and suddenly she had the chance to fast-track her dreams.

She peeked over the seat again, and he looked up just in time to catch her eyes, locking his with hers. His mustache twitched a little as his lips quirked into a grin, and Eleanora’s heart took off at a gallop, her own smile answering his. He lifted his Champagne glass and toasted her, his gaze never leaving hers as he tilted his head back and let the Champagne bubbles slide down his throat. Suppressing a whimper, Eleanora hunched down, turning to Evie, who was still rhapsodizing and scolding her older cousin in an unbridled stream of scattered, enthusiastic thought.

***

Tom chuckled softly, watching her blonde head disappear back behind the seat.

She reminded him a little of a gopher, looking over at him with those wide, liquid eyes before ducking back down.

“You think your gramps is going to buy this?” asked Van, checking out the stewardess’s ass as she headed back to the galley.

“I don’t know,” answered Tom honestly. “Can’t hurt to try, though. What’s the worst he can do?”

“Disown you,” said Van.

“Like I said, can’t hurt to try.”

Van’s eyes were uncharacteristically serious when he asked, “What if she tries to get her hooks in you?”

“Who? Eleanora?”

“Yeah.”

Not that Tom would necessarily mind having her hooks in him right this minute, but he appreciated that Van’s question was sensible. “We’ll have to sign something in Vegas. Something about her getting a million and me getting a divorce.”

“I’ll draw it up,” said Van, who rarely used his law degree, though it certainly came in handy at times. “She’s cute. I’ll give you that. Maybe you can sample the goodies before you say sayonara.”

Van turned to the window and closed his eyes while Tom straightened up to get another look at Eleanora. Cute? Nah. She was stunning. She was the hottest girl he’d ever seen. He stared at her blonde head unobserved, and a thought took over his brain: temporary nuptials or not, she deserved a nice decent wedding. Not some five-dollar cheesefest at an Elvis chapel, but something decent, something she could remember fondly after they’d gotten their money and said their goodbyes.

Taking a notebook out of the briefcase he’d stowed under the seat in front of him, he started a list that he didn’t complete until they began their descent into Las Vegas.

***

“I’m sure you’ll have everything you need,” said Tom, grinning at Eleanora as he walked the cousins to their room at the Imperial Palace, the newest and best hotel on the Strip. “But if you don’t, just call downstairs. They’ll charge anything you need to me.”

Not knowing what she could possibly need, she nodded at him, chancing a glance behind her to find Evie and Van making out in the hallway a ways back. She paused at her hotel room door, holding the key in her hand and turning around to look at Tom.

“Why are you doing this?”

He shrugged. “I was fairly certain that my inheritance was a lost cause. You made me wonder if I shouldn’t give it one last chance.”

Guilt embraced her. As much as Tom English’s million dollars would help her start a whole new life, she felt mercenary taking his money for something as simple as saying “I do” once or twice at a sham wedding. Perhaps he had plans for the fifteen million. “Do you need it? The money?”

“Not really, I guess. I have a good education. I work with my father at my grandfather’s financial firm, English & Son, but I could find another job at a different bank if I needed to.” He flattened his hand against the wall by her door, caging her on two sides, and she fought the impulse to step into him. “But life will be easier with the money. More doors will stay open to me if I stay on at my family’s firm. And . . .”

His eyes flickered as they stared into hers.

“And . . .?”

Did his cheeks flush a little, or was that her imagination?

He shrugged again. “I like it that you’ll be able to chase your dream sooner than later. Buy your bookstores. Build a library. Go to Princeton. I could help you with that, you know.” His grin brightened his whole face. “Funny thing, my great-great grandfather built the library there. Just say the word, and I’ll make a few calls.”

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