To Woo A Wife(4)

By: Carole Mortimer

Abbie was beginning actively to dislike him—and his sweeping statements!

'But I happen to know I like strawberry trifle best,' Stephen told the other man, with an affectionate grin at Alison's red hair.

'Maybe you do like it best,' Jarrett Hunter accepted in a bored voice. 'But a constant diet of it could become—tedious.'

'You have a sweet tooth, Mr Hunter?' Abbie put in swiftly as she saw Alison was about to explode indignantly at the insult he had just delivered to her two-week-old marriage with his double-edged conversation. Not surprisingly, in the circumstances!

Jarrett looked at her with cool golden eyes. 'No more than any second person Abbie,' he returned, by looking at him that he was a virile man, that he had probably had more than his fair share of women attracted to his arrogant attractiveness. But, considering Alison and Stephen were on their honeymoon, his remark was highly inflammatory.

'Really?' Abbie replied consideringly. 'I don't have a sweet tooth at all, so I don't have that particular problem.' She drew his remarks back to her, and away from the much more volatile Alison; her friend's red hair was indicative of her fiery nature, and if Jarrett Hunter wasn't careful he was going to end up floored by Alison's heated remarks. And that would be a pity, when she and Stephen had obviously enjoyed their honeymoon so far.

That golden gaze travelled the length of her shapely legs, over the sensuous curves of her body so lovingly outlined by the fitted black dress, up to the beauty of her face, surrounded by a dark tumble of long hair. 'You surprise me, Abbie,' he murmured dryly.

'Do I?' Violet-blue eyes steadily met gold.

'Well, perhaps not,' he replied with slow deliberation. 'I've always thought that chocolate eclairs look appetising, until you bite into them and find there's no substance.' He gave a grimace, his gaze still holding hers.

Abbie could feel the angry colour rising in her cheeks even as she heard Alison gasp at the force of his remark. He was being deliberately insulting. But then, so was she. In fact, she had probably goaded him into this exchange, still stung by those earlier comments of his that she'd overheard.

'Thank goodness I save myself the disappointment,' she dismissed lightly. 'Dinner, people,' she announced pointedly.

'Jarrett?' Stephen prompted, grinning as he had enjoyed the exchange.

That golden gaze once more ran the length of Abbie's slenderly alluring body, pausing briefly on the curve of her hips and breasts,

before once again pausing on the beauty of her face. 'As long as Abbie doesn't mind,' he murmured challengingly. 'After all, I am being rather forced on her for the evening,' he added smoothly.

This was the very last thing she wanted, an evening spent in Jarrett's abrasive company not something she would deliberately wish on herself. And he knew it too, which was probably the reason why he had made the challenge in the first place.

'You will be Alison and Stephen's guest, not mine,' she returned distantly.

Dark brows rose over those golden eyes. 'In that case—I accept the invitation.'

She had known that he would, known that somehow he couldn't resist the opportunity of finding out more about her. He no more found her a chocolate eclair without substance than he did a 'paper-bag job'!

'You overheard him earlier, didn't you?' Alison spoke softly at Abbie's side as the two women preceded the men into the hotel restaurant, her arm draped loosely trough the crook of Abbie's. 'You came into the bar and heard what he was saying about—'

'Who on earth is he?' Abbie hissed indignantly. 'I've never met such an arrogant, overbearing, pompous, self-opinionated—'

'You did overhear him.' Alison giggled gleefully. 'Isn't he just unbelievable?' She glanced back briefly to where the two men strolled along behind them chatting idly together.

"The man is a dinosaur!' Abbie returned disgustedly, shaking her head, aware of his golden eyes on her now, and the gentle sway of her hips, as she walked. Her years on the catwalk had given her the confidence not even to falter.

'Who doesn't believe in marriage,' her friend acknowledged happily. "The two of you could be kindred spirits!'

'Don't be ridiculous, Alison,' Abbie protested impatiently. 'You heard the man; he likes a little taste of every dessert there is going, whereas I—'

'Don't have a sweet tooth,' Alison finished with another giggle. 'What a marvellous conversation that was,' she added admiringly.

Abbie frowned at her friend. 'You didn't seem to find it so runny when he was being so disparaging about Stephen's preference for strawberry trifle!'

Alison grinned. 'So, I've never met a misogynist before—'

'He isn't a woman-hater, Alison; he devours them!' Abbie corrected her disgustedly. 'And the ones he finds unpalatable he spits out again!'