C H A P T E R 4 : C A U G H T U P O N T H E W R O N G B E D
K A T H E R I N E B E N N E T
After dinner, Katherine found a newspaper in a rack beneath one of the side tables and took it to a chair on the other side of the room. It was mainly concerned with the stock market, growing business, and other industries. On page nine, there was some news about William's company. This was naturally accompanied by a photograph of him since he was the CEO. In the photo he seated at his desk, his shirt sleeves rolled back over-tanned forearms, and his tie loose. He looked tough, business-like, and, damn him, sexy as hell. The camera was no doubt being operated by a woman. She took a deep breath and tried to stop herself from admiring him. Her mind brought back how horrible of a player he truly was, how he had once almost broken her heart. Then the recent encounter and knowing that he had seduced a married woman simply ceased any admiration she had of him. She folded the newspaper and put it back where she had taken it from. After she had made some excuse about having a headache, she soon left the party to go back to her own room.
In her room, the bed had been turned down and a white lawn nightgown prettily fanned across the coverlet, but the helpful maid had also closed the windows for some abstruse reason, turning the room into a temporary oven. Sighing a little, Katherine opened them again, drew the curtains, and switched on the ceiling fan. She took a quick cooling shower and brushed my teeth.
Since she had brought some of her remaining work with her to finish off, she neatly put them on the desk and sat on the chair before starting to do them. It was a simple enough task, just some contracts that she needed to review and leave comments on, and normally she would have whizzed through it, but this time she found it well nigh impossible to concentrate, and after struggling for almost an hour, she finally gave up.
“If I go on, I will have a genuine headache,” she said to myself, putting the papers back in their folder, then putting them aside before walking towards the bed.
She folded back the coverlet to the bottom of the bed and decided for once to dispense with her nightgown then slid under the cover of the sheet. The air was simply too hot to even wear a nightgown. She switched off the lamp and composed herself for sleep instead.
Katherine laid there for a while, staring into the darkness, listening to the soft swish of the fan above her, while the events of the day played through her mind like a depressing newsreel. And the most disturbing of all had been the number of unwanted images of William Windsor that kept intruding upon her mind.
After a moment, she decided that there was no point in losing sleep over it, so she turned on to her side, closing her eyes with resolution. Completely unaware of how the night would turn into something that would change her life forever.
* * *
W I L L I A M W I N D S O R
“I should not do this,” William Windsor told himself for the fifth time as he glanced at his Rolex wrapped on his wrist. This was too dangerous. Moreover, he had decided that it was time to act like a Duke and not a rascal. He should adhere to his decision and not let himself be lured back even if it was just for old time sake. Yet as he closed his eyes, he could recall the way she had stood oh so close that the shape of her unconstrained breasts under the cling of her dress was visible for everyone's eyes. When she whispered saying that it was his for the taking, how could he refuse such temptation? It was almost a sin to turn her down. His body had responded to her enticement with all its former urgency despite common sense telling him that those memories of their entangled bodies between the sheets were best left forgotten.
Still, he fetched a flashlight and began traversing unfamiliar corridors to reach her while hoping that the other members of the house party would be safely tucked in their respective beds. No one would be likely to see him descending from his balcony especially now that he had cautiously changed his light blue shirt to a black T-shirt and leather jacket. If by any chance someone caught him, he could simply inform them that he had been unable to sleep and wished to get some fresh air.
That reason alone should suffice especially when one held a position as important as an Earl and was in line for a dukedom, he finally concluded as he made up his mind and proceeded with his plan.
K A T H E R I N E B E N N E T
It had been a tiring night having to watch her sworn nemesis, Paris de Bourgh, stealing glances at William. Truth be told, Katherine was not jealous. After all, she had been the one to break up with him. Yet it was still vexing to watch, especially since Paris was already married to her best friend, Jaxon. Did she not have the decency and propriety to act as a married woman?
As she laid on her bed, she could only hope that both Paris and William were sleeping in their own respective bedrooms for she could not imagine how heartbroken Jaxon would be with such blatant betrayal. After a few peaceful minutes, she ultimately drifted to a peaceful slumber.
Although it was not for long. Katherine was not sure what had woken her up. Perhaps it was the chilly wind grazing her exposed skin, almost as if she was not safely tucked under the bedcover. She could swear she had closed the window but why were the pale curtains billowing into the room? Her eyelids were too heavy to remain open so she finally gave in to the tiredness and closed her eyes once more, trying her best to get some sleep.
But then she felt the mattress beside her dip under a new weight and her body instantly froze.
Shit. Shit. Shit. Who is it? Is it a thief?
Strong arms reached out for her, drawing and pulling her body against bare and aroused male flesh and before he could get away, a warm mouth took her by surprise in the kind of deep and sensual kiss. And for one brief, shocking moment, she felt her body arch against him in response. The next second her sanity came back and she tore her swollen lips from him. Swiftly she put both of her hands up on his torso and pushed him away but he was evidently of male sex thus much stronger than her. Growing more and more desperate, she raked my nails down his skin and only then his grasp loosen slightly, giving her the opening to roll across the bed away from him.
“What the bloody hell, Paris?!”
Her right hand blindly reached for the lamp switch and in a fraction of a second, the light flooded the room. Katherine turned back to see him even though judging from his sentence, she could guess who he was.
Standing tall beside the bed was none other than William Edward Harold Windsor aka her ex-boyfriend from her high school days.
Good lord. Why did he have to look that good when she was supposed to hate him for eternity for possibly being the one to ruin her best friend's marriage?
“Kate?” he said hoarsely, the look of confusion on his face was evident. “Why are you here?”
“Um, maybe because this is my room?” Katherine fought the burning sensation she felt on her cheeks and tried her best to remain cool as she leaned down for the sheet, dragging it up to cover her naked breasts.
Once she looked somewhat decent — as decent as one could under the circumstances, she put both of her hands on her hips and looked at him with one lifted brow. “Also, I should be the one to ask you. What are you doing in my room, William?”
Before he had a chance to answer, there was a sharp knock at the door, followed by Patrycia's voice saying, “Are you alright in there, Katherine? The guard said an intruder has been spotted in the garden.”
William closed his eyes briefly while muttering something violent and barely audible under his breath. Then he grabbed his discarded boxer off the floor and put it on while Katherine kept her gaze elsewhere, trying not to look.
“Quickly put your clothes on,” she hasted him as she reached for her own bathrobe.
Yet before William managed to put his pants or shirt back on, the door was unlocked and soon it was swung open, and Patrycia waltzed in. Following closely behind her was Karina aka biggest gossiper in town and Jaxon, her best friend who must have joined the party out of anxiety.
“Well, well, well,” said Karina with a wicked smile and sparkling blue eyes. “What do we have here? Old flames burn once more?”
* * *
“Perhaps before any of you could bloody say anything which is clearly not your place to do so,” he said coolly. “You can use your energy to do something useful such as leaving the room so Kate and I could have some personal space and get dressed.”
“Well, as long as you both can keep your hands off each other and avoid going for another round,” commented Karina before she turned around and got out of the room. Patrycia followed behind her. Jaxon was the last to leave. He simply stood there, eyes widened and his jaw hung open.
“Jaxon de Bourgh, I know you are her best friend since kindergarten—”
“High school,” Katherine corrected.
William rolled his eyes and sighed. “Fine, since high school but you really have to stop staring and get the bloody hell out right now.”
At last, Jaxon blinked then turned around and left the room.
Katherine swallowed hard. She had never been in the room alone with any man let alone him. Even when they had been dating back in high school, they always had their dates outside. Right now, ten years later, here they were in a room together and barely had their clothes on. How crazy was that?! She could hardly believe that he dragged her into this embarrassing situation.
“Why did you come here?”
“Is it not obvious?” William picked up his boxer and put it on, clearly not caring the fact that she was still here and pretty much had two functional eyes.
“Geez, take your clothes and use them in the bathroom.”
He rolled his eyes and started grabbing his clothes off the floor. Although he looked annoyed, he followed through with her request. “I thought this was someone else’s room.”
“Oh, let me guess. Paris?” she commented with an eye roll.
To her surprise, he turned around and his face looked appalled. He narrowed his eyes and even though she was probably supposed to be scared yet she was not. She folded her arms in front of her chest and tilted her head to one side.
Finally, he broke the silence and asked, “How did you know?”
“For one, I am not blind. And two, if you want us to have a decent conversation then put your clothes on first.”
While he was in the bathroom, Katherine quickly changed her bathrobe for her clothes and by the time he walked out of the bathroom, she was found sitting on the bed and ready to have probably the most embarrassing conversation she would ever have with her ex-boyfriend.
“Okay,” Katherine Bennet started with a sigh. “Obviously this was just an accident. You thought I was Paris so you came here. So the easiest way to fix this would be to tell everyone that you thought I was her.” When he had not said a word, she looked up to meet his eyes. Finally, he opened his mouth and answered her in his thick British accent, “I can not do it.” “Why the hell not?” “Well, for once, she is married.” She stared at him as if he had just informed her that the planet Earth was round. “So? Did you just find that out now?” William stared at her with an incredulous look on his face. “No, I knew that but I mean, I can not admit it in the open. That would mess things up.”
“Marry me, Kate.” When she did not say anything, he reiterated, “Marry me and it will solve our current predicament.” William looked at his ex-girlfriend and tried his best to maintain the serious look on his face. He fully realized how crazy his suggestion was however he also recalled what his grandfather had said to him a few weeks ago. One more misbehavior, one more bad news about him that would affect the Windsor name, the dukedom of Ashbourne, and he would be forced to hand over his title and would not be a part of the family. In all honesty, William could care less about the money or the title but the last thing he ever wanted was to be disowned by his family. He watched her opening her mouth and then closing it as if she was at loss for words for a few seconds before she finally regained her ability to speak. “Are you crazy? Why would I want to marry you?!" Giving her a mere shrug, he answered, ”Because
The next morning, as if she was suddenly awoken from a deep slumber, Katherine finally realized what had been said and done. She was going to marry her rakish ex-boyfriend. How cruel life could be! She had been blessed and happy being the one that had gotten away and now she ended up pretty much in the same place — only that instead of being his girlfriend, it seemed that she had found herself being promoted to his fiancé. For a long moment, dizzy with uncertainty, she stared down at the ceiling. She knew she should wake up and get ready but she simply could not. She dreaded facing reality. She should not have come to this house party and now it was all too late. Forcing herself, she dragged her sleepy legs to the bathroom. A few minutes later, she walked out of the bathroom and heard a knock on her door. She did not have to check the peephole to know that it was William
Her cell phone rang inside her coat pocket, and without looking at who was calling, Katherine already knew that it was her mother calling again. She had already sent her call to voicemail a few times today, but since it was after five o’clock now, she could no longer use the excuse that she could not pick up the call because she was working. In all honesty, she had no grudge whatsoever against her mother and she actually loved her mother which was why she could not bring herself to tell another lie, knowing fully well that her mother would like to discuss her engagement, or worse, her wedding. She could not tell her mother how much she loved William (which could only explain the rushed engagement) when truly, she had no feelings whatsoever for him. All her feelings were for Jaxon. She could not let her best friend's heart be broken when she could save him from getting hurt. “Hello, Mom,” she greeted and refrained from sighing. “Katherine Elizabeth Bennet,
Katherine could hardly remember the faces that greeted her by the time she had made it to the lobby of the mansion. Yet she could vividly recall Paris, sitting beside Jaxon. Her lips stretched in a smile, but her eyes were burning with anger as William made the announcement with grave pleasure. And when William took Katherine’s hand, glowing with the blue fire of his sapphire, and raised it formally to his lips before putting his arm possessively around her waist, bent her over, and gave her yet another breathtaking kiss, Katherine was quite sure her nemesis wanted to drag her by her hair and push her down the hill. It was indeed an act of sweet revenge, Katherine had to admit. However, lying to Jaxon, her best friend, had been difficult. When he caught her as she walked out of the restroom and asked her what on Earth was going on, she could only smile and tell him, “I am getting married.” “Yes, but to William Edward Harold Windsor?!” He shook his head in disbelief a
Despite her reluctance, William insisted on driving Katherine home and had his driver drive Katherine's car, following closely behind them. “You know I’m perfectly able to drive my own car,” she commented as he was turning on the junction near where she lived. “You don’t need to drive me home.” “I know you’re and I know I don’t need to," he replied as he glanced briefly at her before focusing his eyes back on the road. “Okay, then why did you do it anyway?” The car slowed down until it came to a full stop right in front of her building. “Because I want to.” He undid his seat belt and turned his body so he could fully face her. “You’re my fiancé now, Kate —” “Katherine,” she corrected. “Only my mom calls me Kate.” “Well, I like Kate better than Katherine plus I called you Kate all the time when we were dating back in high school.” He gave a light shrug then continued with his earlier sentence, “Anyway, I was going to say tha
"Wow, wow, Woah!" Cas leaned forward, a couple of frown lines occupying his forehead. "Are you serious?" "Yes," answered William grimly. "It’s that bad, huh." Cas leaned back against the leathered chair and put his right hand on the armrest. "What did they use this time?" William could pretend that he did not understand what Cas was referring to but at this moment, he didn’t see the point of lying or sugarcoating the ugly truth. "My mother." "Oh, okay, that’s simply cruel." Cas shook his head. He knew very well how much William loved her mother, the only person in his family who did not judge him or to put it bluntly, the only person in his family who actually loved him. William would do anything for his mother and now, he supposed, William's grandfather and father knew that and turned it to their advantage. "I
William knew that he was not being a good company. Hell, he was well aware that he was not being a good friend. Still, he had not prompted Cas when Cas had said that he wanted to leave. Still, he hadn’t gone after his best friend and apologized. He hadn’t done all of that because he was tired. There were a lot of things in his mind right now and even though that wasn’t a good reason to be a jerk to his best friend, he did it anyway. He swung his legs onto the couch and rested his head on the armrest. With a small sigh, he let his mind bring him back to all those years ago when he had first laid his eyes on Katherine Elizabeth Bennet. He’d met her at a party, a boring as hell party to be exact, although at first, he’d initially thought