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Freya came in at that moment, an explosion in pink, and as she glowed in response to her father’s suggestion she give him a twirl, feeling surplus, Kate made a tactful exit, leaving father and daughter together.

She was in her kitchen making a coffee when the door opened.

‘You should lock this. You need your privacy. You’re not on duty twenty-four-seven.’

Kate looked at the man whose six-feet-plus frame made the room suddenly very small and arched a brow. ‘Most people knock,’ she said pointedly. ‘And I have been told several times that my predecessor was a saint who hadn’t taken a holiday in ten years.’

‘Nanny Maeve was pretty much a fixture. People will get used to you. I think they have noticed you already.’

He was looking at her hair and Kate, who was used to people commenting on it, shrugged, thinking that noticing was not the same as accepting.

‘Look, I have read the literature and research you sent me and... I’ve spoken to the professor who has produced the research in the psychology department, and he has arranged an appointment in the education department at the university tomorrow for an assessment for Freya. There is apparently an ongoing research programme and he seemed keen to have Freya take part in it.’

‘And how do you feel about that?’

‘My daughter is not a guinea pig.’

She studied his rigid jaw and nodded without comment at this understandable response. ‘Oh, that’s great, well, I mean good that you are taking some action so quickly.’

‘And you can’t wait to be proved right.’

‘That is unfair!’ she exclaimed.

His lips compressed as he dragged a hand through his dark hair, creating attractive spikes. Damn her, but she was right, it wasn’t. ‘Life is not fair, Miss Armstrong. The professor asked me if there was any history of reading problems in the family.’

‘Is there?’

‘If there was it would have been hidden, to avoid any suggestion of a taint in the royal bloodline,’ he explained with a cynical grimace. ‘And Belle’s family... I have no idea. The lines of communication, as you are aware, are not open.’

‘Couldn’t you make the first move?’

‘Freya’s grandfather lost his right for access when he said that she killed her mother.’

‘I’m sure he regrets it...?’

Marco sketched a hard grin. ‘I do not regret cutting that bastard out of our lives.’

Kate looked at his flinty eyes and nodded, deciding it was not the moment to push the idea of reconciliation. It would seem that the Prince was not big on forgiveness.

‘So tomorrow if you could have Freya ready for ten, under the pretext we will be going...to the beach?’

‘Then you will have to go to the beach. You can’t promise a child the beach and then change your mind.’

She half expected some push-back but to her surprise none came, just an admonition to remember sunscreen because she was fair-skinned.

The brush of his eyes as he left made her aware of every inch of her pale skin.

‘Would you like to take Freya to the playroom while the professor speaks to her father?’ The young woman in jeans threw a smile that was several thousand more volts than was appropriate towards Marco, who was shaking hands with the professor who had arrived after his team had completed their tests.

She turned to Freya. ‘Would you guys like to go to the playroom while we chat with your daddy, Freya?’

‘And then we can go to the beach?’ Freya asked Kate.

‘Then we can go to the beach,’ Kate confirmed.

‘I wish I could go too,’ the assistant said, only she wasn’t looking at Kate and Freya but at Marco, who appeared deep in conversation with the older man.

The young woman might have been showing an unprofessional interest in Marco but her directions were good. They soon found themselves in a sunny playroom.

Source: www.allfreenovel.com
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