Mr. Irresistible(14)By: Karina Bliss
“Social services don’t have a sense of humor. All they see is that an influential columnist from a reputable paper doesn’t like you.”
“If you recall, we did try and tell you that,” said Luke grimly. “You’re also front page news in Beacon Bay.” He thrust out a faxed copy, and Jordan read the headline with a sinking heart: Camp Trustee’s Ethics Called into Question. Luke started pacing the boardroom. “And you know some locals already oppose having so-called delinquents staying nearby.”
Jordan’s hesitation lasted a split second. “Then I’ll resign as trustee,” he said, giving no hint of what the offer cost him. He turned and poured a coffee.
“We thought of that,” Christian admitted from behind him. “But your resignation now would be an admission of guilt, and you’re not guilty.”
“I can live with that,” Jordan insisted.
“Besides…” Christian continued as though he hadn’t spoken “…you’d still be the other trustees’ business partner and friend—”
“And those links can’t be severed,” finished Luke.
Jordan swallowed a lump in his throat. He didn’t give a damn about his reputation, but he cared about theirs. And he cared about the camp. It had begun as Luke’s project; both he and Christian had survived terrible childhoods and wanted to use some of their wealth to help kids in the same predicament.
Though a passionate supporter, Jordan had always felt something of a fraud. He was the oldest of five in a close-knit family, and the only tragedy to touch his life had been his father’s death when Jordan was twenty.
From birth he’d been the golden boy—he’d even won a university scholarship before building his multimillion-dollar business. Maybe that’s why he was so careless of public opinion. Now a series of stupid choices threatened not only a cause that was hugely important to his best friends, but a project that could offer hope to hundreds of needy kids.
Nothing mattered now but the fix. “Okay,” he said gruffly, “here’s my plan B.”
“YOU WANT AN INTERVIEW, I’m here to offer you one.”
Kate relaxed in her chair. She’d been bracing herself for another tirade. Though she’d die before she’d let Jordan know it. He did scare her. But not with his outrageous demands.
No, what frightened her was her body’s traitorous response to him. Even now, verging on loathing him after what his kiss had cost her, she’d found her pulse quickening when he’d sauntered uninvited into her office.
“The office for bad jokes is down the hall,” she muttered, too bruised and battered to be clever right now. Then she saw his expression and her eyes widened. “You’re serious.” Every journalist in the country wanted to talk to this man. “What are you up to?”
Jordan raised his hands, palms up. “There’s no pleasing you, is there?” He pulled up a chair and sat down. “I also wanted to apologize for the other night.” He smiled so beautifully that he only needed little angels playing harps around his head to make him appear more saintly. The smell of rat got stronger. “I’m taking a couple of kids canoeing on the Whanganui River to test it as a possible activity for the camp. Come with us.”
Kate gave him her best basilisk stare; his expression remained guileless. Maybe she was being paranoid. “Well, I guess I could spare a half day,” she said cautiously. Opening her desk drawer, she grabbed her diary.
“Actually, it’s five days,” he replied firmly.
Kate’s professional interest wavered under a stronger instinct for self-preservation. But she didn’t want to lose the interview altogether. “My schedule doesn’t allow for trips…but I can find time for a long lunch.”
“Don’t worry, I’ve already cleared it with your editor.”
The penny finally dropped. Kate picked up her pen and started playing with it. She didn’t want to believe she’d been sold down the river. “And if I conclude you’re still a moral vacuum?”
“You won’t,” Jordan replied confidently. “Besides, strictly speaking, you’re not writing about me. You’re writing about the work I’m doing with Camp Chance.”