LOVE TAKES TIME

LOVE TAKES TIME

By:  Emma Swan  Completed
Language: English
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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...

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32 chapters
CHAPTER 1
“But why didn’t Alyssa tell us last year that she had given birth to Jaime’s child?” Diego Francisco Martinez del Río, Duque de Altamira (Spanish for ‘Duke of Altamira’), demanded of his grandmother, lingering astonishment etched in the hard set of his sculpted cheekbones, his lean, darkly handsome face grim.“We barely got to know Alyssa while your brother was alive.”          Doña Jacintha’s fine-boned features reflected her regret about the way things went.“How could we expect her to turn to us for help after Jaime had abandoned her?”“Abuela (Spanish for ‘Grandmother’), I tried several times to set up a meeting with Alyssa. She always came up with excuses after excuses,” Diego reminded the older woman. “In the end, she insisted that she didn’t need our hel
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CHAPTER 2
                  While trying to change Azura’s t-shirt, Jacqueline couldn’t resist the temptation and blew a raspberry on her niece’s tummy. Convulsing with chuckles, Azura held up her arms to be lifted, her little face below her soft brown curls lit by a sunny smile. “Looking at you two, I really have to say that I don’t know which one of you is the bigger kid!” Sandra Fanning teased them while her stocky, well-built son, Steve, set the old highchair out beside the pine kitchen table.           Tiny in stature and slender as a ribbon, Jacqueline thrust her own curls back off her eyebrow in a rueful gesture and resisted the urge to admit that grief, stress, and a heavy workload were combining to make her feel more like a hundred years old.           Staying financially afloat was a constant strugg
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CHAPTER 3
          Jacqueline hurried over to the door that led back into the reception area where an alarming amount of activity could be noticed. The reticent receptionist who received her so impassively was standing to attention with a megawatt smile of appreciation and a well-dressed older man was greeting Diego with a horrendous amount of bowing and scraping.“Your Excellency,” the man murmured dutifully.          As though some sixth sense warned him of her presence, Diego turned his proud dark head. Eyes as rich as gold ingots in sunlight encountered hers. Her stomach flipped, her mouth ran dry and her heartbeat escalated as though she was trying to run up a hill. It was like being hit by a truck and she reacted with panic.“What the hell are you doing here?” Jacqueline asked belligerently.          Though taken a
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CHAPTER 4
          He was disturbed but not that surprised by those revelations. He felt it would be insensitive to point out that, even before Alyssa had wed his brother, he had made an unsuccessful attempt to warn Jacqueline’s sibling of her future husband’s essential unreliability when it came to money.“If that’s the truth, well, I’m so very sorry for it. Had I been made aware of those facts, I would’ve granted Alyssa all the help that it was within my power to give.”          Jacqueline snatched in a jagged breath.“Is this all you’ve got to say about this matter?”          Diego had a low tolerance threshold for such personal attacks. In his blood ran the hot pure-bred pride of the Spanish and Mexican nobility and a long line of ancestors to whom honor had been a chivalrous, engr
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CHAPTER 5
          On the drive back home, Jacqueline gave Steve a brief update on events and then fell silent. She was too upset to make conversation. Devastated by the contents of her sister’s will, Jacqueline was simply terrified that she was in serious danger of losing little Azura and shell-shocked by meeting up with Diego Martinez again.          How could Alyssa have chosen Diego to be her child’s guardian? After all, her sister had had virtually no contact with her Mexican in-laws after her wedding. She had once admitted to Jacqueline that Jaime had never got on with his relatives and that that was why he preferred to live in San Francisco.          When Diego had contacted Alyssa after Jaime’s death, Alyssa had been almost hysterical in her determination to have nothing further to do with her late husband’s family. Even when Alyss
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CHAPTER 6
“I guess…” Jacqueline muttered, biting her lower lip while all the while studying him from below her lashes and feeling horribly shy.          She had an inborn disbelief of handsome men and the man in front of her was absolutely dazzling. She was also noticing the subtle signs of expensive designer elegance in his clothing and started looking for a way out of the room. After all, she promised her sister she wouldn’t talk to anyone.“Excuse me… I must go… I shouldn’t be in here.”“Why not? Are you not a friend of the bride?”          Alyssa’s warning came to her mind once again, so all she did was nodding in a reluctant agreement.“And your name?” Diego prompted, strolling silently closer.“Jackie… Uh… Jacq
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CHAPTER 7
          Diego stayed behind at the lawyer’s office to clarify certain matters for his own benefit. He already knew that Alyssa used to work as a waitress and was pretty penniless at the time of her death. Yet when she had married Jaime, the beautiful English blonde had a fair amount of money and a nice property she had inherited from her parents.          How was it possible that in such a short period of time, she and Jaime took all their fortune and spend it all in a blink of an eye? After Jaime died, his late sister-in-law had met another man and they moved in together. That was a strong signal that Alyssa was pretty determined not to ask her late husband’s family for help. And he didn’t insist anymore.          It took a lot to shock Diego but he was stunned when, having asked for Jacqueline’s address, he learned where exact
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CHAPTER 8
          As Diego spoke in that patronizing tone, every atom of color slowly drained from Jacqueline’s shattered face.“We don’t live in appalling poverty…”“Well, after giving a look around, I’m afraid that you do. I don’t want to offend you but I must speak the truth.”“Yet, you did offend me. And you can’t take her away from me… You can't take her to Mexico,” Jacqueline breathed shakily, feeling so sick at that threat she could hardly squeeze out a sound.          The very idea of losing Azura hit her as hard as a punch in the stomach, winding her, driving her mind blank with gut-wrenching fear.“Why not, Jacqueline?” Diego quirked an ebony eyebrow. “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t take this baby away and give her a life free of poverty, worries
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CHAPTER 9
          After his departure, Jacqueline stood in her trailer, reflecting in agonizing panic. Diego Francisco Martinez del Río was planning to take her beloved Azura away from her straight to Monterrey, Mexico. He was pretty determined to separate the little girl from the only person she knew and relocate her to a strange house with people speaking a different language.          And to pour salt on the fresh wound, the… Duke dared to tell her how the baby that she loved, should be brought up… Like until now, she only attended his help or his advice to raise her little niece well.            Desperately fixed to keep herself busy so that she didn’t have time to worry at that thought, Jacqueline calmed Azura down, then fed the little girl and put her to sleep in her little cradle.  &nbs
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CHAPTER 10
         Like Cinderella but without the fairy godmother to help, the next day, Jacqueline prepared from dawn to dusk, struggling to make herself pretty for her big date with Diego. But, early that evening, the fate stroke again.          Nina, her mother, and Daniel, her boyfriend, split up after a very ugly fight caused by her mother… again. What happened was that Daniel found Nina with another man drinking and having a good time, and a huge argument took place.          The fight between them went for a while. After listening wretchedly from the balcony to the fight that concluded in their separate departures, Jacqueline crept back indoors. But she already knew the date would never happen.          Ten minutes later, Daniel’s teenaged son, Terry, appeared in her doorway. The boy was des
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