In the Rich Man's World(2)

By: Carol Marinelli


Amelia Jacobs, in Vaughan’s not so humble opinion, had her finger on the pulse, but wasn’t afraid to remove it when needed, to stray from the usual run-of-the-mill questions and delve a little deeper, to somehow get her subjects to finally confirm or deny the rumours that plagued them. Her interviews were a strange mix of cynicism and compassion.

‘Why does she want to interview me?’ Vaughan asked again, then corrected himself. Every journalist this side of the equator seemed to want a piece of him, but the fact he had neither dreadlocks nor body piercings, actually managed to eat and keep down three meals a day, and didn’t have a father who’d abused him, didn’t put Vaughan in the usual category of Amelia Jacobs’s subjects. ‘Or rather, why do you think I’d want to be interviewed by her?’

‘Because you are always in the news for all the wrong reasons,’ Katy responded in a matter-of-fact voice. ‘There was that supermodel, the actress…’

‘Definitely no bishop, though,’ Vaughan clipped back, but even his dry humour didn’t allow him to dodge the uncomfortable issue.

Uncomfortable because suddenly discussing his sex life with Katy seemed like a very bad idea indeed.

‘That was all over ages ago,’ he said finally, staring coolly back as Katy rearranged her crossed legs, smiling sweetly over at him as he protested his rather recent innocence.

‘I know,’ Katy soothed. ‘But you know what the press can be like once they’ve got the bit between their teeth. And you don’t need me to tell you that you haven’t exactly been the blue-eyed boy…’

‘I don’t,’ Vaughan said, with a slightly warning edge to his voice.

Katy cleared her throat again. ‘It was agreed at the last directors’ meeting that if the opportunity came then you should show the media that there’s a softer side to you.’

‘But there isn’t.’ Vaughan shrugged. ‘What you see is what you get.’

‘I don’t agree.’ Dropping her voice, she stared back at him, flicking her hair away from her pretty face with her left hand, and Vaughan felt his heart plummet—the absence of her engagement ring was vividly noticeable for the very first time. ‘Look how nice you were to me when I broke up with Andy.’

‘I didn’t realise you had.’ Vaughan gave a very on-off smile, watching in slightly bored horror as she smiled over at him, from under her lashes now. He felt a subtle shift in the room that most men would miss—but Vaughan read women as easily as a recipe book, and while he’d been away Katy had clearly lined up all her ingredients and was right now stirring the pot and about to offer him a taste!

‘We broke up a couple of weeks ago. It hurt a lot at the time, but I guess I’m starting to move on.’ Boldly she held his gaze. ‘Why don’t you come over for dinner tonight, Vaughan? I’m sure cooking is the last thing you want to do now, and you must have had your fill of restaurants.’

‘Thanks, but no thanks.’ Vaughan deflected her offer easily, quite sure he wasn’t hungry—on either count! ‘I just want to go to bed.’

God, she was bold. A tiny smile twitched on well-made-up lips at the mere mention of the word, and she was still holding his gaze. Vaughan knew exactly what was on the menu—knew that if he took her up on the offer they wouldn’t be starting at the entrée, instead they’d be bypassing the main course and moving directly to dessert!

Watching her face drop as he firmly shook his head and picked up his pen, Vaughan consoled himself that he was doing her a favour really—if he slept with her he’d end up firing her!

‘Send Miss Jacobs in as soon as she arrives—and,’ he added firmly, ‘once she gets here you might as well go home.’

‘I don’t mind waiting,’ Katy persisted, but Vaughan was insistent.

‘Go home, Katy.’ He didn’t soften his rejection with a smile, didn’t even look up from his work. Mixed messages were clearly not what were needed here. ‘I’ll catch up with you in Melbourne next week.’





CHAPTER ONE





SEND.

Amelia’s finger hovered over the computer key, then pulled back.

She made a quick dash into the bathroom, and inhaled the delicious scent of bergamot mixing perfectly with frankincense and just an undertone of lavender. Her Friday afternoon routine was written in stone:



Read her article as objectively as possible.



Clean the flat while all the time reciting paragraphs of article out loud, adding mental commas and meaningful exclamation marks.