Lovers In The Afternoon

By: Carole Mortimer

CHAPTER ONE


WHAT was this man doing in her bed!

Dear God, it wasn't even her bed but his, she remembered now. She had been introduced to him at his office only that afternoon, and five hours later here she was in his bed!

She looked down at the man sleeping so peacefully at her side, one strong arm flung back across the pillow as he lay on his back, dark hair silvered with grey, all of his body deeply tanned, from a holiday he had taken in Acapulco he had told her over dinner. And she was well aware of the beauty of all that body, had touched every inch of it, from the broad shoulders, muscled chest with its covering of brown-grey hair, taut flat waist, powerfully built thighs, down long supple legs. The black silk sheet was pushed back to his waist now to reveal the strength of his chest and arms, the thick dark hair disappearing in a vee past his navel and down. Her gaze returned quickly to his face. It was a strong, powerful face even in sleep, a wide intelligent forehead, widely defined eyebrows, beneath the long-lashed lids were eyes of a piercing grey, a long straight nose, firm uncompromising mouth, and a jaw that was firm as he slept. He was one of the most attractive men she had ever seen, or was ever likely to see, and she had spent most of the evening here in this bed with him, the first man to make love to her since her separation from her husband eight months ago.

But why did it have to be Adam Faulkner, rich industrialist, sixteen years her senior at thirty-nine, and her most recent client with the interior designing company she worked for!

She had gone to work so innocently this morning, had got out of bed at her usual seven-thirty, fed the fish and cat, warned the cat not to eat the fish while she was out all day, got her usual breakfast of dry toast and black coffee, both of which she consumed on her way to the shower as she usually did, applied the light make-up to her heartshaped face and ever-sparkling green eyes, styled her feathered red-brown hair into its usual mass of uncontrolled lengths to her shoulders before donning the tailored blue suit and lighter blue blouse that made her hair look more red than brown, the white camisole beneath the blouse clearly the only covering to her unconfined breasts. She had gone down to the underground carpark to her delapidated VW, sworn at it for the usual ten minutes before it deigned to start. She had then emerged out into the usual helter-skelter of traffic that was London in the rushhour, dodging the other seasoned drivers as she drove to her office at Stevenson Interiors, cursing the fact that she needed to take the car at all, but the reliable London underground system went nowhere near her flat or the office. Yes, it had been a pretty usual day up to that point in time.

Her breathless entrance on to the sixth floor that housed the employees of Stevenson Interiors, after being stuck in the lift for fifteen minutes was also usual; the lift broke down at least once a week, and Leonie was usually in it when it did. It would have been unusual if she weren't!

'The lift again?' Betty, the young, attractive receptionist, asked ruefully.

'Yes,' her sigh was resigned. 'One of these days I'm going to fool it and take the stairs.'

'All twelve flights?' Betty's eyes widened.

Leonie grimaced, running controlling fingers through her flyaway hair. 'That would be a little drastic, wouldn't it?'

she conceded wryly.

Betty handed her her messages. 'In your state of physical unfitness it could be suicide!'

'Thanks!' She skimmed through the pieces of paper she had been given, dismissing all of them as unimportant before pushing them into her navy blue clutch-bag. 'What's on the agenda for today?' she looked at Betty with her usual open expression.

'The staff meeting at nine o'clock?'

'Nine—-—! Oh Lord,' Leonie groaned, already fifteen minutes late for the meeting David had warned all employees not to be late for. 'Maybe if I just crept into the back of the room ...?' she said hopefully.

'David would notice you if you crept in on your hands and knees and stood hidden for the whole meeting,' Betty told her derisively.

The other woman was right, of course. David had picked her out for his individual attention from the moment he had employed her six months ago, and although she occasionally agreed to have dinner with him she made sure it was only occasionally, not wanting any serious involvement, even if David was one of the nicest men she had ever known. An unsuccessful marriage had a way of souring you to the idea of another permanent relationship. Besides, David had little patience with the way things just seemed to happen to her, believing she should be able to have some control over the accidents that just seemed to occur whenever she was around. She remembered another man, her husband, who had also found these accidents irritating, and she didn't need that criticism in her life a second time. She could handle these 'incidents' left to her own devices, she didn't need some man, no matter how nice he was, constantly criticising her.