Mr. Irresistible(6)

By: Karina Bliss

That’s why he’d declined Kate’s request for a profile. Plus, he’d promised his partners to stop talking to the press altogether.

They still remembered the time a sense of mischief had prompted him to tell one pompous business reporter that Triton was thinking about diversifying its portfolio into raising grasshoppers for the pet market.

The scoop had gone to print, and the temporary drop in Triton’s share price had convinced Luke and Christian that their partner’s black humor was best shared only with those who knew him well.

The same sense of mischief had made Jordan ask Kate out after refusing her interview. He knew he’d pricked her professional ego by his refusal, knew she hated finding out she had one.

Her response had intrigued him enough to start reading her column.

Jordan lifted his glass. “To an interesting evening.” He laughed when Christian narrowed his eyes.

BY KEEPING A CAREFUL distance, Kate found the evening passed quite pleasantly. After dinner, she even discovered a quiet corner to sit alone with a coffee and jot down a few ideas, grateful for the respite from networking.

A shadow fell over the table and, intent on her work, she put a hand over her cup. “No more coffee, thanks.”

“Actually, I wanted to ask you to dance.” The voice was deep, powerful, definitely not that of her waitress. Kate looked up to see Jordan King regarding her with such a charming smile, she immediately felt like Little Red Riding Hood.

“At least,” he said approvingly, “you’re not going to feign surprise at seeing me.”

She looked pointedly at his long hair, lying loose around his shoulders, and the gold hoop in his left ear. Tonight, the shirt was ironed, but the fineness of the cream silk gave it a transparency that was almost indecent. He wore camel-colored pants and well-worn boots in a room where every other man wore a suit. “I think everyone’s seen you.”

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.”


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.”