By: Rachel Stroble

Chapter 1

Jaime was over looking the gardens at the Randal's ballroom. This was the ball of the season and obviously as expected she wasn't making anywhere near the progress her sister made when she had her come out. Growing up her sister Judith was always the prettiest. She had recently married the most handsome rake in London, James Turner. He had dark brown hair and hazel eyes. Her sister had outstanding features. She had their mothers glorious red-gold hair and their fathers mesmerizing dark blue eyes. Jaime had taken after her father completely with his coal black hair and his blue eyes. She was very pretty, but not as stunning as her sister.

This was absured. She might as well leave with the attention she was getting. None! There were a select few, four, who were interested in her. The rest were just disappointed that they had no chance with her sister. There was one American that stood by the fire that she had been watching for sometime now. He was tall, lean and muscular with broad shoulders, and a Herculean frame. He had hair as black as night and was dressed in a black suit that fit him perfectly. He was so damned handsome. He was much handsomer than Judy's husband, and that was saying something since every girl, innocent and not so innocent, were trying to get into his bed at all costs.

A finger tapped her on the shoulder. She turned around and a nice looking man smiled at her.

" Would you do me the honor of dancing with the loveliest lady here?" he said in a deep vioce. Jaime smiled and nodded. Oh, flattery. She will not have someone trying to sweet talk her into marrying them. She danced with him, much to her surprise, til the end of the song. The American was staring at her. His gaze was so sensual it was sinful. His hair was soft, falling in thick waves to just past his ears. His lips turned up into a tender smile. It was a look James might give Judy at times. He leaned casually against the wall by the fireplace. His arms were crossed, his ankles were crossed too for that matter. He leaned forward slowly and sauntered across the room in her direction. It took her a couple of seconds to realize he was walking over to her! Oh God . . . She stood frozen from head to toe. She was completely terrified.

"You are staring sir." Jaime said as a-matter-of-factly. She groaned mentally. Where had that come from? He probably thought she was so pathetic. Why did she have to act like a child in front of the most handsome man here.

"I know." was his reply.

" It is improper for you to do so. My father would object most strongly. Unless your intentions were honorable of course." His rakish grin only increased her nervousness. She realized that he had dark blue eyes. It reminded her of her father.

"My intentions are strictly honorable I can assure you."

"Ahhh. So you are not the rake I thought you were."

"That is where you are wrong. I am the rake you think I am."

"Then you are off limits to a shame really."

" I agree, that is a terrible loss."

Jaime laughed. This man was so perfect for her. He had a great sence of humor and he was so good looking, and bloody hell, wouldn't you know it, he was off limits.

" You must be a Malory."

" You think so do you?"

" I have my doubts."

Jaime smiled. She knew what she would have to do to get him to marry her but was afraid of it. She was going to risk her virginity for a man she hardly knew, but was going to know him by the end of the week. Her father walked over at that point. He was 52 and was just as handsome as he was in his 30's. He wore a dark scowl on his face, warning off the young American.

"Jaime, your mother would like a word with you."Anthony Malory growled.

As soon as Jaime departed Anthony turned to the American and shot daggers at him with his cobalt-blue eyes.

"I see you've taken an interest in my daughter."

"Not at all, Lord Malory."

"Well, I'm just giong to point out that it would be detrimental to your health, young 'un, if you ever stare at her like that again … Untill the wedding, at least. By the by what is your name?"

"Mason Calhoun."

Well , if you want to keep your sanity, Mason, you'll stay away from her. I know what you are, and I know what you can do to a young girl like her. I was also rake until I married her mother. So, if you've so much as laid a hand on her, I will know it."

Anthony left with a dark scowl on his face. Judy watched as the American shook his head and walked away. Bloody hell, her father had given him "the talk". This couldn't get any worse. Oh, sweet Jesus, I spoke to soon. My mother, who is now worried that I might have feelings for the man, approached him with a beaming smile and a friendly "hello".

"I'm Roslynn Malory, Jaime's mother." Roslynn extended a hand and smiled proudly. Mason looked a bit taken aback, but only for a second before he threw his roguish grin at her.

"It's a pleasure Lady Malory." Mason said as he took her hand gently and brought it to his lips.

Oh, how Roslynn did like this man. He was very upstanding and very handsome. If only her husband would like him. But everyone knew that no one would ever be good enough for Jaime as long as Anthony had a say. Anthony would have to die before he let Jaime marry a rake.

"Tell me, Mason, what brings you to London?" Roslynn inquired hopefully.

"My mother wanted to come here to shop and take a vacation. My father died a couple years ago and my brother was on his honey moon. So I was her only escort." Mason replied with a hesitant look on his face.

"Are you enjoying it here?"

"Yes. The park here is very peaceful and quiet."

Roslynn smiled. " Yes, it is very quiet. That is what most people like about it."

Mason looked behind his shoulder impatiently as though waiting for someone.

" It was very nice meeting you." Mason bowed his head and walked away.

Roslynn smiled fondly after him as her husband came up behind her, smacking her on her bottom. Oh he was so incorrigable!

"Anthony! Not in public!" Roslynn admonished. Anthony let out a deep chuckle.

"I'm sorry, love, I just couldn't resist."

Roslynn rolled her eyes. "Honestly, and you thought the American was bad."

Anthony looked at Roslynn with an angry expression and his face. "He was un- dressing Jaime with his eyes! What I should have done was altered his vision instead of letting him walk away…"

"Anthony! I take that back you aren't as bad as Lord Calhoun…"

"Well of course not."Anthony interrupted.

Roslynn rolled her eyes yet again. "No you're worse!"