She really needed her roommate Meg here to talk her through this sexual dilemma. She quickly calculated the time back in the States, in Montana particularly where Meg was working on a dinosaur dig. Noon. Could she answer her phone at work?
First ring. ‘How’s the dig going?’ she politely asked because she didn’t know where Meg was and she had sex questions to ask.
‘It’s winter here. I’m just doing cataloguing. I told you.’
Kate knew as much about dinosaurs as Meg knew about accounting. ‘Sorry, I forgot. Are you alone?’
‘Sorta. Are you? I was hoping you’d be in bed with a handsome billionaire by now.’ Kate had texted the basics about her job before she left. Billionaires in bed had not been mentioned. But Meg had an active sex life and an even more active imagination.
‘Jeez, if you’re not alone, don’t use my name.’
‘Just a new friend of mine. Don’t worry.’ Meg giggled, whispered, ‘Food first.’
‘Are you in bed with someone?’
‘Yeah, but I can talk. Pepperoni OK? And a Coke,’ she said off the phone. ‘There, I’m back on. He’s ordering us lunch.’
‘He? You don’t know his name?’
‘I met him last night in the cutest bar. All Westerny, although everything is out here. I think his name is – I’m not sure. We haven’t exchanged that much information yet. But otherwise, he’s real full disclosure, if you know what I mean. Really just great. He’s a student, I think, and I know he rides horses. So how’s Amsterdam? And I’m just teasing about the billionaire. Have you met anyone interesting otherwise? One of these days you’re going to actually meet a man you want to jump. And not someone like Andrew or Michael who are half-ass friends you just did to be nice.’
‘Can I talk now?’ Kate was busting to reveal her news and she was afraid Meg would go off on a tangent like she often did about Kate’s failure to understand that sex was purely entertainment.
‘Sorry. Just a minute. What’s your name?’ Meg quietly asked, then said in a normal tone, ‘Kate meet Luke. Luke says hi. And he doesn’t care about our conversation because he’s—hey, hey … not yet – I’m on the phone.’
‘Never mind,’ Kate said, because she wasn’t going to discuss her sex problem with some guy listening in. ‘I’ll catch you later. Have—’
‘Oh, ohhh, God …’
The phone went dead and Kate’s question was more or less answered.
Go for it.
She picked up the dress again.
As if she needed further encouragement, the door suddenly opened and a tall, slender, platinum-blond beauty walked in. ‘Let me help you with that,’ she said, matter-of-factly. ‘I’m Greta. The dress is structured,’ she added, taking it from Kate and slipping it off the hanger. ‘You don’t need a bra. Or panties. It’s fully lined.’ Then she stood there waiting for Kate to take off her robe.
After a small pause, during which Greta’s brows lifted faintly, Kate timidly smiled and discarded her robe. The cool blond slipped the dress over her head, zipped up the back, smoothed the silk over Kate’s hips, said nice things about Kate’s breasts, spoke so casually about the evening ahead, those waiting downstairs, her design firm, that Kate stopped being embarrassed.
‘Dominic’s wife helped me start my business,’ she explained. ‘Here, let me clasp those pearls for you. Julia and I became great friends.’ She slid the pearls around Kate’s neck. ‘So Dominic likes seeing my clothes out in the world.’
There was no sane reason to be so pleased at the revelation that Dominic Knight’s wife had been a friend of Greta’s. It didn’t necessarily negate the possibility that he and Greta had become more than friends later. But she couldn’t help it. It made her happy.
When it shouldn’t matter.
When living in la-la land was for fantasy fans.
When she was going home tomorrow.
‘I’ll put your hair up.’
Jerked back to reality, Kate tried to stop her; she didn’t like pins in her hair. But she might as well have saved her breath. Had everyone at Knight Enterprises drunk the same don’t-fuck-with-me Kool-Aid, she wondered as Greta managed to tame her curls into a semblance of sophistication.
Au contraire, she discovered once she joined the gathering downstairs.
As she was greeted by a round of applause, handed a glass of champagne and congratulated by each of the staff in turn, she couldn’t help but notice the degree of deference Dominic Knight commanded. The Sun King had nothing on Knight Enterprises’ CEO when it came to basking in the adulatory glow of his subjects.
Not that he couldn’t be charming. Dominic Knight could have bottled his charm and sold it for millions. As she chatted with everyone, she covertly watched him work the room; a smile here, a handclasp there, a compliment that elicited a pleased reaction, a brief conversation before he politely moved on. The man was smooth.
She waited for him to reach her. While not terribly experienced, she wasn’t a naive virgin; she recognized his leisurely, indirect advance. As Knight Enterprises’ CEO approached, the colleague to whom she was speaking melted away, like some courtier making way for the king.
‘The dress suits you,’ he said as he stopped before her. ‘Thank you for wearing it.’ His cool gaze slowly surveyed her from head to foot, then travelled back again to her smile. ‘I like those shoes too.’
‘They do make a statement.’
How does he do it? A single coolly uttered word like that and she felt like throwing herself at him and promising him anything. Luckily she was sober. ‘I tried to resist the clothes, but as you see.’ She gave a little flick of her wrist up her body.
‘I’m glad you didn’t. I thought you’d do Greta’s designs justice.’ He smiled. ‘You certainly do. I’m sure she’s pleased.’
That cool voice again, different now – distant. He was impossible to read. Bemused at times, amused other times, and now this sudden remoteness. ‘You must give her a lot of business.’
A puzzled look. ‘Why would I?’
‘So you don’t usually—’
‘I see where you’re going. No, I don’t.’ He started to say something, changed his mind, smiled instead. ‘At the risk of pissing you off, I just thought you’d look better in that than your army drab slacks.’
Embarrassment flushed her cheeks. ‘So I’m a special welfare case.’
‘Let’s just say you’re special all around.’
With that, a different kind of heat flooded her senses. She looked up what seemed a great distance, even in her heels, and met what was definitely not a family values smile. ‘Are you hitting on me?’
‘I’m giving you a compliment.’
But his voice was soft, his gaze on the wicked side of sexy and she felt a sudden quiver where she was most susceptible after months of no sex.
A carillon sound of church bells suddenly flowed through the room. Dominic’s jaw clenched, a rare flash-back gripped his senses. He and Julia had gone to services at the church around the corner from time to time, especially in the evening like this. She had had an intrinsic spirituality that he lacked – along with any number of other good qualities that had eluded him.
Kate saw the muscles flicker across his jaw, watched him visibly gather himself, hoped it wasn’t something she’d said or done. She didn’t know where to look, what to say, a dozen inane comments raced through her mind – all unusable unless she wanted to sound like some ditsy airhead. She was busy checking out the fake diamonds on the toes of her shoes when he took her hand.
‘Come on.’ He was scowling faintly. ‘I’ll have dinner served.’
She should have said something tactful and gracious, or smiled the right way to erase his scowl. Instead, she botched everything by turning too fast and stumbling on her high spiky heels.
She muffled a squeal and for a fraction of a second worried about where to grab Dominic Knight, CEO, to keep from falling. Then her boobs hit the unyielding wall of muscled chest, she clumsily snatched two handfuls of jacket, while he smoothly caught her upper arms and steadied her against the long, hard length of his body. A POW!!! word balloon exploded in Kate’s head on impact, every sexually specific nerve from head to toe ramped up for business and she inadvertently moaned.
He inhaled sharply, his libido responding to the provocative sound, to the full-body press, to her nipples stiffening against his chest, her thigh jammed against his dick, the scent of her punching his pheromones. For a brief moment he seriously thought about dragging her upstairs and banging her until neither one of them could move. The moment quickly passed. He rarely acted on impulse.
Carefully easing her away from his body, he smiled faintly as a collective exhalation wafted round the room and the rapt moment of breathless expectation gave way to the hum of conversation. His voice was mild when he spoke, his smile touched with levity. ‘I hope we didn’t bruise anything.’