Jung So Min stared at the devilishly handsome prince in disbelief. "I sincerely hope you’re joking," she said, surprised her voice sounded as calm as it did.
Smoothly he took her by the elbow and led her toward an enormous set of French doors that allowed entry to an enclosed garden. As they made their way across the room, they were greeted with congratulatory murmurs that to So Min sounded colored with disbelief.
He didn’t speak until they were alone on a bench amid a profusion of fragrant roses. "There is no joke. You have officially been proclaimed my intended wife, and we’ll marry in three weeks’ time."
"But, that’s crazy," So Min exclaimed. "I can’t marry you. We don’t even know each other." She stared at Hyun Joong, her heart beating wildly.
Prince Kim Hyun Joong was handsome to a fault, but she also knew he had a reputation as a womanizer. His name had been linked in the tabloids with actresses and models. A different woman each week.
"My mother and father didn’t meet until the day of their wedding. We have three weeks to get to know each other." He smiled, a charming smile that shot heat through her. "I am to marry by my 30th birthday or lose my right to succeed my father. In three weeks and one day, I turn 30, so I find a wife necessary."
"That’s nice, but I don’t find a husband necessary," she retorted, and wondered wildly if they still beheaded recalcitrant women in this part of the world. "Besides, I don’t love you."
"Marriage isn’t about love," he replied softly, his gaze not quite meeting hers. "I’m offering you what hundreds of women would sell their soul for a fairy tale life. As my wife you’ll enjoy a beautiful castle, expensive clothing, exquisite jewels and all I ask in return is that you give me an heir."
Jung So Min was appalled by his cool recitation of a loveless marriage. "If there are hundreds of women who want a marriage with you and the lifestyle you’re offering, then I suggest you find one of them." She stood. The man was gorgeous, but he was obviously clueless when it came to matters of the heart.
He stood as well and took her hand in his. Despite the fact she wanted nothing to do with his offer of marriage, she couldn’t halt the heat that raced up her arm at his touch. "But, I don’t want any of those other women as my wife. I want you."
She pulled her hand from his. "We don’t always get everything we want, don’t we?"
He grinned, a challenging smile that danced in the dark depths of his eyes. "I do."
To be continued?
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