Mr. Irresistible(7)

By: Karina Bliss


He threw back his head and laughed, a deep, melodious sound that turned heads. “About that dance…”

Remembering her promise to Peter, Kate said nicely, “Don’t tell me your dance card’s empty. I won’t believe it.”

“I had a cancellation.”

“Then a little rest will do you good.”

“I’d love to join you, of course…” he paused to enjoy her alarm “…but I have commitments elsewhere.”

Kate lifted her chin. “Let’s talk about the column in business hours, Jordan. I don’t want any civilians caught in the cross fire.” She resisted the urge to check where Peter was.

“I tried that,” he said. “You wouldn’t return my calls. But contrary to what you think, I can behave myself when I have to.”

Because she doubted that, Kate tested him. “You really want to dance with someone who called you Tarzan in a business suit?”

“The reference to the business suit was libelous,” Jordan said. “I don’t own one.” He held out a hand. “One dance, Kate, then I’ll go away.”

Reluctantly, she put her hand in his, felt his grasp like a brand and pulled away.

“Sparks.” Jordan reclaimed her hand and tucked it firmly under his forearm. “Next you’ll be accusing me of betraying my eco convictions by wearing nylon underwear.”

Kate bit her lip. She would not be amused.

“I don’t think you’ll be needing this, do you?” He removed her protective crimson shawl as carelessly as a child unwrapping a birthday present, and dropped it on an empty chair. “It’s so hot in here.”

Kate narrowed her eyes, but his expression was guileless. She turned toward the dance floor and her steps faltered. With the evening drawing to a close, couples were enjoying the intimacy of the low lighting and the slow, sensual beat of the music.

Swinging around to face Jordan, she held her arms out stiffly, determined to keep some distance between them. She caught the amusement in his eyes as he stepped forward, gesturing toward the bar, where Peter sat in animated conversation with a colleague. “Your boyfriend, I believe?”

Kate hesitated. “Yes.”

“Pity.”

She blushed. “Is that some sort of compliment?”

“No, pity. He seems like a nice guy.”

Choking back a laugh, Kate looked up at Jordan, then wished she hadn’t. She could see eternal possibilities in those eyes.

“But I still have to take you away from him,” he said. She stumbled and he drew her closer, his arm dropping to encircle her waist.

“What did you say?”

“I have to take you away from him.” He stared at her. “For the dance.”

Feeling foolish, she shifted her gaze. “He’ll probably be grateful. He hates to dance.”

“But you love it, especially on the moral high ground.”

It would take better bait than that to get a rise out of her.

“Don’t marry Peter. You don’t suit.”

Kate stopped dead. “You’re very opinionated, for someone who barely knows me.”

“Funny, I was going to say the same thing about you. Writing about me in your column.” He moved his hand soothingly on her bare back, and she found herself dancing again, somehow closer than before.

“‘By their deeds ye shall know them,’” she quoted softly. “My column looks at social inconsistencies, including the differences between what people say and what they do.” As a columnist satirizing human foibles and failings, she had grown accustomed to the disgruntled seeking their revenge. And she knew how to handle them.

“You’re leading, Kate.”

She stumbled and bit back an automatic apology. No apologies tonight, not to this man. “It’s the legacy of learning to dance at an all-girls’ school.”

“Yeah, I had you pegged as a convent girl.”

Kate quelled another pang of annoyance. “Let’s get back on topic. A family disintegrated because you played around with a married woman. Isn’t that inconsistent with your support of family charities?”

His eyes darkened and she realized how angry he was. “While linking my scandal to a kids’camp that relies on public goodwill is consistent with your support of family charities.”

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