A little dazed, Sebastian went outside and climbed into the coach. "Take us back to Corbett House," he instructed Tollins as he closed the door and sat.
Josefina's maid, Conchita, sat in the far corner, but he ignored her as he faced her mistress. "What do you say to an engagement ball within the fortnight, and the wedding a week after that?"
"I say it's not soon enough, but I shall tolerate it." She touched his cheek. "Are you well? My mother didn't slap you, did she?"
She furrowed her fine brow, her beautiful brown eyes concerned. "What do you mean?"
"She gave me a piece of paper." He patted his breast pocket, but didn't remove the thing. It was going somewhere very safe at the first opportunity.
"And?" she prompted.
"Apparently your father did meet Qental, King of the Mosquito Coast. And Qental did grant him a million acres of coastal land there. And the king personally granted Stephen Embry the t.i.tle of rey of said land."
Her face went white. "What?"
"So, my love, you are a princess." He leaned over and tilted her chin up, kissing her softly. G.o.d, he could spend his days doing that. He would spend his days doing that.
"It's verified and witnessed by the Governor of Belize. I've seen his seal, and this letter bears it."
Her mouth opened, then snapped shut again. "Goodness," she breathed, then abruptly sat straighter to kiss him back, sweeping her hands into his hair as though she wanted to climb inside him. "And I thought I would be a plain, ordinary d.u.c.h.ess." She backed off a little to gaze into his eyes. "I want to be a plain, ordinary d.u.c.h.ess. No one else in your family needs to know, do they?"
Sebastian laughed. "No. You shall be a d.u.c.h.ess. My d.u.c.h.ess. As for being plain and ordinary, I don't think even you could manage that."
She grinned back at him. "Then I shan't try."
O ne of my old college professors used to say that reality was no excuse for fiction. What I think he meant was that just because something actually happened, that doesn't mean it necessarily sounds plausible in writing. Sometimes, though, actual events seem to be made for fiction. It's in that category I have to place the true exploits of Sir Gregor MacGregor.
In 1823, a group of English settlers landed along the Mosquito Coast, believing that a rich, wealthy, newly formed country called Poyais lay there, and having already purchased land or accepted government positions from Poyais's "cazique," Sir Gregor MacGregor. A great many of these people perished from dysentery, malaria, and the heat before their rescue, when it was discovered that there was no land of Poyais, and that their maps and extensive guide books were fictional.
It had all been masterminded by MacGregor, who went on to try his schemes throughout Europe, spent time in prison for it, and ultimately upon his death in 1845 was honored by the President of Venezuela, who marched behind his coffin while newspapers in Caracas celebrated him as a war hero.
If you'd like more information on Sir Gregor, I highly recommend the book The Land That Never Was: Sir Gregor MacGregor and the Most Audacious Fraud in History by David Sinclair. Apparently Sir Gregor was also indirectly responsible for the United States's acquisition of Florida, but that's another story.
About the Author.
A native and current resident of Southern California, SUZANNE ENOCH loves movies almost as much as she loves books. She once appeared on an E! special, Star Wars Is Back, as an expert on the romance in the Star Wars movies. Other highlights include winning her third grade spelling bee, receiving an E.T. poster and T-shirt in an alien-inspired poetry contest, and submitting a script for The A-Team (which was not why the series was cancelled).
When she is not busily working on her next novel, Suzanne likes to contemplate interesting phenomena, like how the three guppies in her aquarium became 161 guppies in five months.
Suzanne loves to hear from her readers, and may be reached at: c/o Lowenstein-Yost a.s.sociates 121 W. 27th Street, Suite 601 New York, New York 10001 Or send her an e-mail at
Visit her website at www.suzanneenoch.com.
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By Suzanne Enoch.
SINS OF A DUKE.
BILLIONAIRES PREFER BLONDES.
DON'T LOOK DOWN AN INVITATION TO SIN.
FLIRTING WITH DANGER.
SIN AND SENSIBILITY.
ENGLAND'S PERFECT HERO LONDON'S PERFECT SCOUNDREL THE RAKE.
A MATTER OF SCANDAL.
MEET ME AT MIDNIGHT.
REFORMING A RAKE.
BY LOVE UNDONE.
Coming in August 2007.
The Exciting Contemporary/.
TWICE THE TEMPTATION.
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