When he made a move to rescue his delicious morsels, his father, brother, Lord Norwood and every available footman in the house tackled him to the ground, probably thinking that he meant to kill the little brat over the wine. He could have cared less about the wine, but he very much cared about the fact that she’d stopped in the doorway to shoot him a smug look as she ate one of his apple tarts while he’d been helpless to stop her.

At that moment he didn’t care if he had to work on a desk covered in pink lace. He would use that room just to annoy her. It was a sick pleasure, but a pleasure nonetheless to aggravate her.

Alexander led him to an ordinary white door. Robert opened the door and had to bite back a gasp of surprise. The room was very masculine and very similar to his old office. The desk was actually bigger than his. The books looked well read and there was nothing dainty in this room. Actually, everything looked rather new. Elizabeth decorated this room? Impossible.

Gregory, his man of affairs, was already seated at a small desk in the corner, working. He stood upon seeing Robert enter the room. “I was sorry to hear about your family’s misfortune, sir.”

Robert was still looking around the room. “It’s no matter. My family will rebuild, but I’m afraid that we’ll also stay here for the remainder of the season, Gregory.”

“You’re staying, sir? I thought you were to sail for America in three weeks.”

“Change of plans. Do you think that you’ll be able to manage?” he asked Gregory.

He nodded. “Yes, sir.”

“Good. Let’s get to work.” He moved behind the desk. It was clean and well organized. He pulled back the chair, sat down, and sighed loudly. It was the most comfortable chair he’d ever sat in. He leaned back. It was perfect. He was going to have to find the maker and have one made for himself or steal this one, he decided. He looked up to find Gregory watching him with a bit of a frown.

“Good chair,” he simply said. Gregory nodded knowingly and returned his attention to the ledgers.

Robert stretched his legs out before him. The space was deep and wide. He ducked his head to have a look beneath the desk. It was also covered, probably a good idea for a woman so that no one sitting across from her could see her ankles. He rather liked it.


Robert looked up and grinned at a very irritated Elizabeth. “Very much so. Thank you.”

Gregory immediately jumped to his feet and gave an awkward bow. “My Lady,” he mumbled nervously.

She smiled pleasantly in his direction and scowled in Robert’s. He chuckled freely, earning a haughty glare that she couldn’t quite pull off. She practically marched around the desk until she stood in front of him. He leaned back rather comfortably.

“Yes?” he drawled, amused by her expression.

Elizabeth sighed. “You’re in my chair.”

He looked pointedly around him. “Hmm, I don’t see your name on it.”

She groaned. “You know bloo-darn well that’s my chair. Now, are you going to move?”




“You’re annoying!”

“Yes.” He chuckled. “You’ll just have to get used to it.”

“Why?” she asked cautiously.

His lips tugged up slowly into a huge grin. “Because your father has decided to take us in until our house if fixed.”

“W-what?” she asked, unable to hide her surprise.

“Looks like we’ll be sharing an office,” he said with a wink before he pointedly looked down at his papers. “Now, if you don’t mind, I have work to do,” he said, watching her out of the corner of his eye.

She rolled her eyes and turned to face Gregory, giving him a rather nice view of her backside. He had trouble swallowing. He remembered all too well how that particular part of her body felt in his hands. Did she know what she was doing to him?

“You, sir, have my deepest sympathies,” she said to Gregory.

“F-for what, my lady?” Gregory nervously asked. The man always had problems talking to women, even his own wife. A beautiful woman would damn near kill the man with sputtering. He pitied the man for surely any attention from his minx would send him to an early grave.

“For being saddled with the likes of this man.”

Gregory swallowed loudly, not sure how to respond. He didn’t want to upset Elizabeth, but he definitely did not want to offend his employer. “Mr. Bradford is an excellent employer, my Lady.”

Elizabeth looked over her shoulder at Robert with a hint of mischief in her eyes. What was she about? he wondered as she turned back to Gregory and gave him another view of that beautiful bottom that he desperately want to touch again.

“What is your name, sir?”

“Mr. Gregory Jenkins, my Lady.”

She nodded and smiled as though the name pleased her. “Mr. Jenkins, I find myself in need of a man in your position. What do you say to coming to work for me for let’s say an additional two pounds a month?”

Robert jumped to his feet. Trying to steal away a good employee was considered rude, but to do it in front of the current employer was a slap in the face. “What the hell?” Robert snapped, not caring that he was swearing in a woman’s presence or that Gregory was leaving his service in a matter of weeks anyway.

Gregory looked nervously between the two of them. “M-my Lady, I…”

“Five additional pounds a month. I assure you, sir, this is a real offer.”

“But you know nothing of me, my Lady,” he said, shifting nervously.

“Ten pounds,” Elizabeth said without batting an eye.

Robert stepped in front of her. He knew with an offer like that Gregory would have to be a fool to refuse, especially since he had a child on the way. Gregory looked at him pleadingly. He didn’t know what to do, but Robert saw that he was tempted. Damn it, he was not about to lose the best employee he’d ever had to her .

“I’ll match the offer,” he said, giving Gregory a meaningful look to let him know that he’d make sure that his father, who he was pretty sure would hire Gregory, would match the offer once he left for America. Ah hell, the man was worth it. He’d already planned on giving him a good size raise soon anyway because of the baby.

“I’ll give you that plus one week off a year with pay,” Elizabeth said in a bored tone.

“I’ll match that and add a week,” Robert said almost desperately. He was not going to lose, damn it! Gregory’s face reddened. “But you have to agree right now not to leave my service and especially not to her .”

“I accept, sir. Thank you, sir,” Gregory said, struggling not to smile.

“Good. Then there will be no more of this nonsense.”

“No, sir.”

“Good,” he said rather smugly as he turned around to rub it in Elizabeth’s face, but she was no longer standing behind him.

She was sitting in his seat with a smug smile of her own. “Looks like I just got my chair back,” she said with a grin, shooting Gregory a wink.

The little minx winked!

It hit him then what she'd done. She’d never planned on stealing Gregory from him. In one swift move she took her chair back, humiliated him, and cost him an extra ten pounds a month, at least for the next month or two. He looked over his shoulder to find Gregory smiling in Elizabeth’s direction. The damn man had figured it out as well.