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Married By Midnight(58)

By:Julianne MacLean

“I assure you,” she replied as she watched him shrug into his robe, “I have no desire to go anywhere.”

He crossed the room, opened the door a crack, and peered out. Anne heard him say, “This better be important. We’re rather busy at the moment.”

There was some whispering, and Garrett glanced over his shoulder at her.

Anne sat up in the bed.

Garrett slipped out into the corridor.

Hastily, she reached for her dressing gown and padded to the open door.

Garrett was standing in the hall with Devon and Blake. They appeared to be looking over a document.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

They all turned to look at her. No one moved. Garrett looked stricken with shock.

“This is quite unbelievable,” he said. “I am not sure what to make of it.”

Anne strode a little closer to look at the document. He held it up to the light from the window at the end of the corridor.

“Is this our wedding certificate?” she asked.

“Yes. It’s dated yesterday.”

Startled by the implications that flashed through her mind, she squinted to look at it more closely.

Devon inclined his head at her. “To be clear, we do not believe the vicar was trying to commit fraud. He must have prepared all the papers yesterday and forgot to change the dates.”

Anne laid her hand on Garrett’s shoulder. “What does this mean? Will you submit these papers to the solicitors?”

The brothers regarded each other warily.

“That would be dishonest,” Blake said.

“It would be pure madness,” Garrett added. “But no more mad than the curse that will somehow, ridiculously, hold up in court if we scratch out those dates and tell the truth.”

Anne frowned with concern. “What about the duke? He watched us get married today. What if he tells someone?”

“I don’t think he even knows what day it is,” Devon replied. “Today he was happier than I’ve ever seen him. The curse was the last thing on his mind. I’m not sure if he even remembers that he bequeathed his fortune to the Horticultural Society.”

Anne and Garrett locked gazes. “It is not my decision,” she said to him. “This is your fortune, you and your brothers.”

His shoulders rose and fell with a deep breath. “God knows, if I had it, I would put it to good use.”

He was referring to the fund he wished to bestow upon Georgina’s parents. And his mother’s charities. And Kings College.

“I wish Vincent were here,” Devon said.

Blake looked over the marriage certificate very carefully. “He doesn’t need to be here. We all know what he would say.” He tapped a finger on the seal. “No one can deny this is a legal document. So is the license.”

“So we should simply submit it to the solicitors, say nothing, and let them deal with it?” Garrett surmised.

They all looked to one another for clarification.

“That seems the proper thing,” Devon said.

Another moment of silence ensued.

Blake patted Garrett on the back. “Good heavens. We have disturbed your wedding celebrations. Incidentally it’s almost time to dress for dinner. Devon and I must go.”

Anne watched her brothers-in-law make haste toward the east wing. She then discreetly tiptoed back into the cozy bedchamber where the fire was blazing, and waited for Garrett to close the door behind him.

With his eyes closed, he leaned against it and tipped his head back. “Another Christmas miracle.” He lifted his head and regarded her with an intense look of lust in his eye. “This is because of you, isn’t it? You truly are an angel sent from heaven.”

Anne’s eyebrows lifted, then she burst out laughing. Garrett ripped off his robe, ran naked toward her and scooped her into his arms. She screeched with a boisterous trill as he carried her back to the bed for a few more enjoyable miracles before the sun went down and it was time for Christmas dinner—which promised to be a most delectable meal.

“I can’t believe how much I love you,” he said, as he smiled down at her and showered her with hot, deliciously wicked kisses.

She held him tight in her arms, thanked God for the incredible gift of this man in her life, and wondered recklessly how long they could go without eating.