Mr. Irresistible(2)

By: Karina Bliss

Jordan King. His size, looks and silky blond hair, which fell extravagantly past his very broad shoulders, would have distinguished him in any crowd. But in this conservative stronghold he looked like a peacock among pigeons. Sprawling on a chair that seemed too small to hold him, in his well-worn suede jacket and faded denim shirt, conspicuously in need of an iron.

His powerful fingers toyed with the delicate filigree ironwork of an adjacent chair, the softness of his hair at odds with his profile—all strong lines and clean angles. Despite the fair hair, his skin was tanned the translucent brown of wild honey.

By rights Jordan King should be gay.

The tabloids made it very plain he was not. He was also the only person in the history of Kate’s influential column to turn down a personal profile. She could have accepted it if the tourism entrepreneur’s refusal hadn’t been so blunt. When she’d pressed, he’d said; “I wouldn’t be comfortable doing the touchy-feely stuff.”

Then he’d added insult to injury by asking her for a date.

“I wouldn’t be comfortable doing the touchy-feely stuff,” she’d retorted.

He’d laughed. “This is exactly why I don’t give interviews…my comments are always taken out of context.”

Six months later a bouquet of roses had arrived with Jordan’s number and a note: “If you change your mind.” As if.

Still, there was a slight smile on her lips when Jordan turned his head and recognized her. He smiled, too, eyes the blue of arctic ice sweeping over her, insolent in their frank appraisal. Kate frowned and crossed her arms, before realizing that only accentuated her cleavage under the open-necked green shirt.

His gaze lifted to meet hers and his message was direct, sexy and very explicit.

Hot color flooded her cheeks. He thought she’d been trying to pick him up, and his answer was definitely yes. She straightened and shot back a glacial look.

He shrugged, utterly arrogant, and turned back to his companion. The woman shook her head, said something.

Jordan responded with a wolfish grin, then glanced again at Kate, mouthing, “Coward.” Adjusting his chair, he turned away and casually resumed his conversation.

Her mouth fell open. Picking up a linen napkin, she crumpled it tightly. No one should be so…so raw. There was no other word for it. He was blatant in his looks, in his invitation and in his dismissal.

“Get a haircut,” she growled, and felt much better.

Tray in hand, her waiter approached, swerving sharply to avoid a collision with the slim brunette in a scarlet dress who was also intent on reaching the table.

Lucy sank into the chair opposite Kate. “Sorry I’m late.” She peeled tendrils of long dark hair back from her overheated face. “She ordered for me, didn’t she?” At the waiter’s nod, she turned to Kate. “I was stuck in another postproduction meeting.” A researcher for television news, Lucy often fed Kate leads the state broadcaster turned down as too hot.

“Don’t worry, I filled in the time people watching.” The waiter started unloading the tray and Kate reached for a sun-dried tomato. “Jordan King caught me staring and thought I was trying to pick him up.”

“He’s here? You’re kidding me.” Lucy swung around in her chair, then turned back, incredulous. “If I’d done what he’s done, I’d go bush for a few weeks—or wherever he hides out when he’s not empire building.”

Obviously intrigued, the waiter busied himself with removing the extra cutlery.

“What did I miss?” Kate offered Lucy the focaccia, then took a slice herself. Jordan King built Triton Holdings from a small river-rafting company started with two university friends into a huge tourism conglomerate. Kate’s boyfriend, Peter Walker, was contracted to develop accountancy software for Triton, but rarely mentioned King.

Lucy’s silver bracelets jingled as she leaned forward, and Kate looked pointedly at the waiter, who had dropped any pretense of table clearing. He left reluctantly.

“He was caught in bed with a married woman…by her husband,” Lucy said in a hushed voice. “Six months later, the couple is in the middle of a divorce and hubby has gone to the media, giving all the salacious details. He’s bent on revenge, I’m guessing because he lost out on full custody.”