Sweet Liar (Montgomery/Taggert 18) - Page 17

“Ah…Then what you really want is to go to bed with me and that’s all.” She leaned forward. “Let me tell you something, Mr. Taggert. Just as you’re an old-fashioned man, I’m an old-fashioned woman. I’m not a modern woman who debates whether or not to go to bed with a man on the first date. I’m the kind of woman who debates whether or not to kiss a man on the third date. I do not want to go to bed with you and, heaven help me, I do not, under any circumstances, want to get married again. One major mistake per life is my motto, and I’ve made mine and I’ve learned from it. Do I make myself clear?”

Leaning back in the booth, Mike stared at her, trying his best to understand where all her hostility was coming from. Nothing Dave had told him had prepared him for this animosity.

“I thought so. Now, do we have things clear between us? I want to fulfill the requirements of my father’s will and get out of this city, and I’ll do what’s necessary but no more. Understand me?”

“A little better than I did,” he said softly.

“Good. Now maybe we can proceed. You may write Barrett and tell him I’ll come with my fiancé. After the meeting I’ll move out of your house and you will give me a document saying that I have fulfilled the requirements. Agreed?”

“Almost. I have a stipulation. Between the time we send the letter and when we receive a reply, probably a few days at most, I don’t want you out of my sight.”


“I don’t want you staying alone in your father’s apartment. Until your father’s will is carried out I am responsible for you.”

“Of all the—Oh, I see, you said before that you thought I was near suicide. I can assure you, Mr. Taggert, that I—”

“And I can assure you, Miss Elliot, that I have made up my mind about this. We can do whatever you like, go shopping, visit the Statue of Liberty, whatever, but we do it together.”

“I will not—”

He started to leave the table. “This conversation is over. Let’s go back to the house and I’ll help you pack.”


“So you can leave.”

“But…” She knew what he meant. Either she did what he wanted in the way he wanted it done, or she left his house. He held all the cards. If she wanted the money her father had left her, she had to do what he said. “All right,” she said in disgust as she stood up. “But keep your hands off of me.”

He was looking at her oddly. “That husband of yours must have been one big bastard.”

“Not particularly so. Show me a woman who’s been married to the same man for more than two years and I’ll show you a woman with a very high pain tolerance.”

“I guess your pain level wasn’t too high or you’d still be married to him.”

She looked away. “That’s where you’re wrong,” she said softly. “My capacity for pain seems to be limitless.”


The mirror on the wall shuddered when Samantha slammed the apartment door behind her. Just who did he think he was? she thought. What right did he have to give her ultimatums? The instant she thought the words, she knew the answer. Her father had given him the right to decide whether she met the requirements of the will or not, but her father hadn’t given him the right to control every minute of her day, she thought defiantly.

She opened her closet doors. Statue of Liberty, she thought with disgust, knowing how much she genuinely hated anything that could remotely be called a tourist attraction. In the four years she had lived in Santa Fe she had never visited anything that was frequented by busloads of people who were ruled by timetables prepared by someone else.

As she looked at the contents of her wardrobe, she smiled. Perhaps he could force her to do what he wanted her to do, but he couldn’t make her enjoy it. Perhaps if she were disagreeable enough, he’d leave her alone. Rummaging inside two packing boxes, she found what she was looking for.

Mike wrote the letter to Barrett, called an express mail service, and sent it off, letting out his pent-up breath when the letter was gone. Now it was up to Barrett as to what he did, but Mike hoped he’d allow Samantha and him to visit. It was Mike’s guess that the old man would very much want to see his granddaughter—at least Mike hoped that was the ca

se. But who could tell what a ninety-one-year-old man was going to do?

As Mike watched the express mail truck drive away, his thoughts turned to Samantha and he smiled. For all her bristles, all her hostility, he was looking forward to spending the day with her. It wasn’t just that she was the sexiest female he’d ever seen or that he wanted to take her to bed, there was something about her that intrigued him. He wondered what she was like when she wasn’t angry. Now and then he caught a glimpse of her, a glimpse of what he had come to think of as the real Samantha. He’d seen the real Samantha the first day he’d met her, and last night when she’d drunk the glass of wine and had made jokes, he’d had a look inside her. These rare sights made him sure there was another Samantha under the one she presented to the world, or he thought with a smile, maybe she presented the bristle-coated side only to him.

Now, he wondered, what did one do with a young lady who looked as though she wore a hat and gloves to church on Sundays? He couldn’t very well take her to his favorite New York haunts, some of which consisted of bars, nor did he think she’d appreciate visiting Daphne and her friends.

Picking up the telephone, he called his sister Jeanne, for she would know what to do to entertain someone like Samantha, he thought as he dialed his parents’ telephone number in Colorado. His mother answered the phone.

“Mom, is Jeanne there?”

“No, Michael, dear, she isn’t.” Patricia Taggert knew the sound of each of her children’s voices, and she knew when they needed something. “Can I help you?”

Tags: Jude Deveraux Montgomery/Taggert Historical
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