Mr. Irresistible(4)

By: Karina Bliss

Marking King’s return to his table, Kate shook her head. “I’ve got a column to write.” Women everywhere stopped talking to watch him. All Kate saw was a lowlife.

“Tonight then?”

She dragged her attention back to Lucy. “Pete’s taking me out.”

Lucy wrinkled her nose. “That wet blanket. Trade him in for a real man before he bores you to death.”

Involuntarily, Kate’s gaze returned to Jordan. Diggory walked past with his date, and for a moment the prince and the frog were both in view. She narrowed her eyes and pulled a notebook and pen out of her bag.

“In medieval times you could pay to have your sins forgiven,” she wrote, holding up a finger at Lucy, who rolled her eyes and went back to eating Kate’s tiramisu. “The practice was called indulgences—possibly because you got to keep indulging your bad habits.

“These days the morally bankrupt buy a new image by making a hefty donation of time or money to charity.”

She stopped and chewed on her pen, then scrawled the headline. “Do You Want Absolution with That?”



Kate grimaced at the shock on Peter’s face as he stood at the door. She turned back to the hall mirror. “Too much?”

In deference to the formality of the occasion—a dinner dance given by Peter’s software firm for clients—she’d reluctantly put on a skirt. Long, straight and black, its severity was offset by a halter-necked top of heavy white silk.

Looking at the expanse of bare skin and the generous cleavage the top revealed, she chewed her bottom lip. Lucy had insisted she borrow it. “I’m going to change.”

“You can’t, we’ll be late. But…have you got a coat or something?”

Grabbing a crimson silk shawl from an adjacent chair, she wrapped it firmly around her shoulders. “Remind me never to let Lucy loose on me again.”

“I’m surprised she talked you into wearing something like that,” Peter confessed as he watched her lock the front door. “It’s not your style at all.”

Though she agreed with him, Kate felt inexplicably piqued. “No, I’m far too ordinary for glamour.”

“That’s not what I meant.” He opened the car door for her. “You rely on class, not cleavage. There’s nothing worse than a woman flaunting her charms inappropriately. There’s a time and place for that.”

“On the weekend, in bed and with the lights out?” Kate regretted the joke as soon as the words left her mouth.

“Honey, I’m trying to give you a compliment here.”

“Sorry,” she said meekly, and got into the dark blue Volvo. Peter’s conservatism had proved irresistible when his family had moved next door twelve years earlier, at a time when Kate needed respite from her father’s disreputable private life.

When they were eighteen, she’d been the one who decided it was time to lose their virginity. Confident in his love, Kate had been curious to see what all the fuss was about.

Not much.

No, that was unfair. Sex proved very pleasant, occasionally even satisfying. But it had served to deepen her contempt for her father. To betray her mother for something as insignificant as that…

By the light of the dashboard, she looked affectionately at Peter’s square profile. Close-cropped sandy hair—one shaver setting away from military—and a physique as solid as his character. As always, he was immaculately groomed, tonight in a black tuxedo. He threw her a sideways glance. “Tell me again why we have to wait?”

Kate sighed. “I thought we agreed to drop that subject for a few months.”

“But it’s far more sensible for us to get engaged now, and married as soon as possible.” Peter had been doggedly proposing marriage for at least three years, and Kate’s last excuse had just resettled in Australia. “We’re throwing money away on two rents when we could invest in one mortgage.”

“Oh, you mad, passionate fool, you,” she teased. “And I thought you couldn’t bear to live without me a minute longer.”

“That goes without saying,” he said briskly. They pulled up at the function center.