Engaged to Jarrod Stone(2)

By: Carole Mortimer

But if she had been instantly attracted to him he hadn't reacted at all; those grey eyes looked right through her. She knew she wasn't beautiful or anything, but she wasn't that plain either. Dark brown hair with deep red tints swung easily about her shoulders in gleaming waves, her deep blue eyes surrounded by long thick lashes, her small uptilted nose, curving mouth that was never far from a smile, and slight slender figure all added up to an attractive young girl. And yet to Jarrod Stone she might not even have been feminine.

But she knew he wasn't always that reticent about noticing a woman's charms; he was reputed to have had many beautiful women in his life at one time or another. And his completely self-assured arrogance pointed to them not all being platonic relationships. No, here was a man who had shared his bed with many women—and he had known how to satisfy every one of them.

In a way it had been his confirmation of these conquests that had sparked off her desire to hit out at him. Leaving the model in the outer office, she had passed through to the reception room. In here she could hear the faint murmur of masculine voices, and had realized Jarrod Stone wasn't alone.

She soon knew the reason she could hear their voices too; the office door was slightly ajar. She was just about to knock on the door when she was arrested in the action by the words being murmured in her boss's deep throaty voice, his amusement obvious.

'I'm afraid I only find women good for one thing,' he scoffed lightly. 'And I don't mean housework,' he added with a laugh.

Brooke had stepped back with a gasp. What a cheek! What a nerve! The meaning behind his words had been obvious and she had waited open-mouthed for his companion's answer. She knew she should really knock on the door, make them aware of her presence before they said anything else, but she was held mesmerized by the arrogance of the words she had just overheard.

'Come on now, Jarrod,' the other man replied, this voice sounding younger. He had called the first speaker Jarrod, confirming her belief that Jarrod Stone had made that insulting remark about the female sex. 'You like women as much as I do,' he continued.

'I enjoy them,' Jarrod Stone had corrected. 'I don't know that I've ever actually liked them. But I've desired them, yes. But I find them preferable as bed-companions than as anything else.'

'If one of them could hear the way you're talking ...'

But one can, Brooke wanted to shout. She had never felt so disgusted and degraded. How a man as successful and good-looking as Jarrod Stone could judge all women by the type he had obviously been associating with for years was beyond her. To her he appeared the handsomest man she had ever seen, and to think he had that low opinion of women just didn't seem fair. His looks and charm had obviously done him no good whatsoever, making him cynical about women.

'Why should they care?' he replied carelessly. 'They're usually well compensated for their—charms, for want of a better word,' he added with a sneer, 'with jewellery and clothing. No woman will ever trap me into marriage while there are women like that about, but they can never accuse me of being mean.'

'I'm sure,' laughed the other man.

Brooke had decided she had just about heard enough of this distasteful conversation, knocking firmly on the door and entering when bade to do so.

'Yes?' Jarrod Stone raised one dark eyebrow, his eyes broodingly grey in his deeply tanned face.

Brooke stopped in her tracks, the anger that had been the momentum behind her being able to walk into the room slowly fading. Her breath caught in her throat at the lazy smile he directed at her, leaving speechless. When she finally did man-it was in a voice that sounded strange, own ears.

'I—er—I—I've brought up the the advertising photographs. She's waiting for you.' He smiled at her again, his eyes crinkling in the corners. 'Would you like to show her in? My secretary's at lunch, I'm afraid.' ‘Certainly.' she answered breathlessly. He looked every inch the arrogant businessman lining behind his imposing desk, and Brooke turned in confusion to leave the room. She hesitated outside the door as she heard him give a throaty chuckle. "You see what I mean,' he said with amusement. ‘What?" The other man was obviously puzzled, the man that Brooke had recognized as being Baylis, a business associate of the owner of Scone Computers.

‘A smile and a few softly spoken words and any woman will do exactly what you ask them to, even that little mouse. She knows very well it isn't her job to bring people up to the offices, and yet she did it’


‘That's a perfect example of what we were just discussing. No, Philip, while there are still girls like her about no woman will ever catch me in the matrimonial trap. I don't see that it's necessary when what you want can be obtained without feeling as if you are in a cage.'