Trouble was, guys rarely glanced my way. Who could blame them? I had fine light-brown hair, usually pulled back into a low ponytail. I had no skill when it came to applying makeup, so I didn’t bother, and my figure was on the skinny side. There was a definite lack of curves that didn’t appear even with baggy clothes. Plus, if a guy in the office or out on the street did look my way it was always a geek I wouldn’t even take off my raincoat for let alone my knickers.
No, I was waiting for Tobias the passionate millionaire, or sexy Sebastian from Ride into the Sunset, or even bad boy Captain Hawkeye from Swashbuckling on the High Seas. They were real men. Men for whom satisfying the women in their lives was all that mattered, after, of course, they’d ensured their millions were well invested, the bad guys caught, and the pirate ship packed full of loot.
A stern voice on the radio warned delays. I sighed, but no sooner had I resigned myself to walking into dinner late than the slip road for my turning appeared. Luck was on my side. I clicked my indicator and whizzed off the motorway. If I remembered correctly it was only a couple of miles to The Fenchurch from here.
The hotel lobby was warm and welcoming after my scramble across the snow- carpeted parking lot. The low lighting glowed and heat from a roaring fire wrapped like a blanket around my cold shoulders. I pulled in the scent of pine from the enormous fir tree decorated with large gold baubles and glanced at the ceramic angel perched on the very top.
After checking in at the high, mahogany reception desk, I took the elevator to my top-floor room.
Pushing open the door, I gasped and my heart did a flip of excitement. Wow. This was so much better than last year’s room. This was a suite—a huge, luxurious, decadently furnished suite.
I stepped in and let the heavy door swing shut. A long, burgundy sofa dotted with plump cushions sat before a plasma TV and an artificial fire flickered gently from a marble hearth. A shiny, round table held a vase of enormous ruby roses nestled amongst lush green fronds. Within the rose petals, clear crystals sparkled like ice chips. I dropped my holdall and laptop bag on the sofa and bent to inhale their scent—powder and earth, sweetness and fern.
Still in awe, I wandered through a door to my left and widened my eyes farther. An enormous four-poster bed stood before me covered in a red-and-green checked eiderdown. Matching voile curtains draped from each of its posts. It looked like something from my favorite Regency historical, The Insatiable Duke of Harrington.
I kicked off my sneakers and flopped on the bed, spreading my arms and making a snow angel on the covers. “Yippee,” I said, looking up at the sagging tartan canopy.
It crossed my mind there must have been a mistake. This wasn’t my room. Should I go down to reception and check?
Standing, I studied myself in a large mirror and pulled my hair from its band so it hung in a slight wave around my black roll-neck sweater. No. Why should I? This sort of wondrous mistake never happened to me. And it was about time it did. I would stay here and if someone came and told me to move to another room I would. But unless that happened I’d enjoy my one night of sumptuous luxury. In fact, I’d read the bedroom scenes again from The Insatiable Duke of Harrington once I’d got dinner out of the way. I’d pour myself a nightcap and pull up that particular e-book for a good steamy session of literature. Maybe even indulge in a few chapters of His Maid’s Desires too, if I could stay awake long enough.
Squaring my shoulders and happy with my decision, I glanced at the clock. I had twenty minutes to get out of my “dress-down Friday” jeans and into my smart evening outfit.
I dashed into the bathroom, paused briefly to admire the opulent gold taps and the double shower cubicle, then jacked on the faucet. Tearing the complimentary shower-cap from its cardboard box, I rammed my hair into it and jumped into the steaming water. The hotel shower gel was spicy and rich and the white suds moisturized my skin as they slid down my breasts and legs. I didn’t linger, I didn’t have time, so I stepped out, reached for a fluffy towel and began scrubbing my teeth with the conveniently provided toothbrush and paste.