Sexy and mysterious Mexican aristocrat Diego Francisco Martinez del Río, Duque de Altamira, saw Jacqueline ‘Jackie’ Maxwell as a gypsy, a wanderer, a weirdo. She was raising his orphaned baby niece in… a trailer! He disapproved of this and thought that a marriage arrangement on his terms was the answer to get her out of his system… The fact that she was quite a beauty played in her favor. However, Diego didn't appreciate that though she might not be a lady, this fiery woman had plenty of love to give. Jacqueline Maxwell knew Diego and his kind all too well. He was as beautiful and charming as the devil himself, but twice as ruthless and heartless. He was just a playboy interested in one thing and one thing only. And it had nothing to do with little Azura. Still, accepting his proposal of a marriage of convenience might be the end to all her worries regarding the little girl left in her care by Alyssa, her sister...View More
“You want to talk? Okay… I’ll say it all for you,” Jacqueline told him jerkily.“Why didn’t I think of that? I really should take you into the office with me…”“Stop making jokes about this!” All of a sudden, she was finding it impossible to maintain her act of indifference.“You know we only got married because you believed Azura was your niece.”“No, I don’t know that,” Diego responded infuriatingly. Jacqueline fixed strained eyes on him, her heart-shaped face tight with tension and very pale.“Stop… This is not the time to make fun. You thought you had to be a father to Azura and you felt sorry for me because of what Sandra told you about me…” Die
Waiting for the jet to take off, she kept thinking about this whole situation. Jacqueline felt so ashamed of her sister’s behavior. Alyssa’s will had got them into a disastrous marriage and unfortunately, Azura would suffer the most from the fallout. Jacqueline couldn’t accept that Diego could still genuinely care about Azura now that he knew she wasn’t his real niece. ‘He can’t love a baby that isn’t a part of his illustrious family…’ After a night spent half on a bathroom floor and half in her bed, tossing and turning, Jacqueline decided to sleep a little, just to be mentally prepared for what was coming her way. This was also a way to stop gazing at Diego’s stunning but tired face. She had slept for most of the flight. Diego wa
For hours and hours, she sat on the cold mosaic tiled floor and hugged her knees, and stared into space. Her heart was broken beyond repair. It was all over. Her crazy romantic hopes, her living for today and not worrying about tomorrow, their marriage. All over. Suddenly, Diego was willing to believe that she was a lying cheat, a greedy, money-grabbing gold-digger. She knew he wasn’t and never going to be in love with her, but she had had no idea just how fragile their understanding was. And now their relationship already seemed as imaginary and flimsy as a child’s soap bubble and she felt terrified as if she were waking up in a living nightmare. In the shortest instant possible, Diego had taken her love and her pride and even her faith in him and destroyed the whole lot. As if it meant nothing… As if she w
Nervously, Jacqueline played with the glittering diamond pendant in the shape of a flower at her throat. He had given it to her while they were abroad. Even if she said no, Diego had also bought her a pair of exquisite diamond stud earrings. Knowing Diego, she had no doubt that she would receive something even more expensive and precious to mark her birthday. Diego had bought her and Azura a host of other little gifts as well. He was very generous. Ought she just to have bought him something? No, she decided, when a guy could buy himself anything, a woman had to go that extra mile to make an impression. When the door opened, Jacqueline swallowed hard. “Diego? Close your eyes before you come in! Please…” she asked him.&n
Diego dug his cellphone back into his pocket. He felt slightly nauseous. Was it his Abuela? Doña Jacintha had been pronounced fighting fit at a recent examination. But a couple of weeks earlier, Diego had allowed Alejandro to run a full battery of tests, including DNA, on his little niece. What the hell was happening that his friend couldn’t tell him on the phone? Maybe the tests showed something wrong with Azura? Was she ill? But why had it taken so long for Alejandro to approach him with the result? Jacqueline didn’t even know about half those tests. Having arranged to take Azura to Alejandro for a vaccination that had been overdue, Jacqueline had come down with a twenty-four-hour virus that had confined her to bed and it had been Diego who had taken the baby instead.
Six wonderful weeks later, Jacqueline sat in the bright and colorful nursery watching Diego demonstrate in all seriousness to Azura how to crawl. Amusement was threatening to crack her up, but she managed to keep a straight face. All his life, Diego had been a high achiever, and, having read a book on child development, he had learned all the important milestones and was keen to see his beloved niece sprint ahead of her peers.“Darling, I’m afraid you’re wasting your time,” Jacqueline warned him gently. “Some babies may crawl at this age, but I don’t think our sweet girl is likely to be one of them. She’s too laid-back and contented to rush into making that much effort.”“Perhaps all she needs is encouragement, querida. Have you ever thought of that?’ Diego informed her stubbornly while
She shot him a shocked look.“Of course, not… I’ve been behaving myself too!” Diego breathed again.“I should’ve flown back and sorted this out more than a week ago.”“There’s a right time for everything. Maybe, at that time, you weren’t ready.” He was still not sure that he was ready for the enormous complexity that had disrupted his once smooth and calm existence. He hadn’t chosen the situation, but now at least, he felt in control of it again. With a sly grin on his lips, Diego surveyed Jacqueline with unashamed masculine possessiveness. He couldn’t comprehend how he had ever dismissed her as only very pretty.&nbs
A sense of humiliation stormed through her anger and brought hot tears to her eyes.“That’s what I mean about you, Diego… You’re impossible! You are Mexican and you’re correcting my English!”“Jackie, it was thoughtless,” he acknowledged.“No, Diego, it wasn’t. You think about everything, you always know exactly what you’re doing…”“I didn’t know exactly what I was doing when I married you. I didn’t look for the bigger picture. I must’ve been insane. I was certainly guilty of poor judgment,” Diego countered grimly. “I didn’t even foresee the complications that would come out from the consummation of our marriage. But from that night, our wedding night, preciosa, my desire for freedom disappeared.” A poundi
Diego put a powerful arm to Jacqueline’s spine to urge her in the direction of the exit. She was almost there before it occurred to her that she could hardly leave without telling his cousin, Lilia. Although the two women hadn’t known each other long, they got on so well that Jacqueline already thought of Lilia as a close friend. “I have to tell Lilia that I’m going…” “Absolutely. You can call my cousin from the limo. I’m positive she’ll understand.” “No, that wouldn’t be right. She has been so good to me. Just give me two minutes, Diego. Please,” Jacqueline pleaded. She freed herself from his grip and hurried back to the table where Lilia was seated. “Sorry, but I have to go…” “I thought so. I saw Diego arriving,” the elegant brunette acknowledged wryly. Jacqueline gave her a relieved smile,
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