The Millionaire's Proposition(6)

By: Avril Tremayne

And in the meantime she would find some other man to twist into a sexual pretzel. Someone like Phillip, a barrister who was happily divorced, suave, cultured and—at forty years old—mature. In the right age ballpark.

Then she would let the girls know she was taken, word would find its way to Scott, and that would be that.

Yes, Phillip would do very nicely. She would give him a call on Monday and arrange to catch up with him at the bar near her office for a Slow Comfortable Screw. A Strawberry Stripper. A Sex Machine. Or…or something.

Monday morning for Kate began with an eight o’clock client meeting.

Kate always felt like cuddling this particular client. Fragile, timid Rosie, who crept into her office as though she’d like a corner to hide in. Rosie was so intimidated by her husband she couldn’t even bring herself to tell him he was making her unhappy—so how she was going to raise the subject of divorce was anyone’s guess.

It was not a position a Cleary woman would ever find herself in!

Her frustrating meeting with Rosie reminded Kate how happy she was not to be married. And that, in turn, prompted her to get to the task of calling the equally gamophobic Phillip to arrange that bar meeting. A highly satisfactory phone call that took four businesslike minutes.

Two meetings later she made herself a cup of coffee and opened her diary to recheck her schedule…and blinked.

Blinked, blinked, blinked.

She called her no-nonsense, indeterminately aged, absolutely superb assistant. ‘What’s this appointment at twelve-thirty today, Deb?’

‘Hang on…’ Keyboard clicks. ‘Oh, Scott Knight. He called while you were with your eight o’clock. Said he’d mentioned a lunch appointment when he saw you on Saturday night.’

Kate slumped back in her chair, awed—and depressingly delighted—at the presumption of it.

‘Oh, did he?’ she asked, trying to sound ominous.

‘So he didn’t?’ Chuckle. ‘Well, I did wonder why you hadn’t mentioned it to me, but he sounded… Well, let’s keep it clean and say nice, so I made an executive decision and slotted him in.’

‘Yes, he does sound “nice”,’ Kate said dryly, and smiled at Deb’s sudden crack of laughter.

‘Want me to cancel him, hon? Leave you to your takeaway chicken and mung-bloody-bean salad?’

Kate opened her mouth to say an automatic yes—but into her head popped an image of Rosie that morning. Diffident. Nervous. Panicky. Dodging her husband rather than telling him their marriage was over.

And hot on the heels of that came the memory of her own behaviour on Saturday night, dodging Scott at Willa’s party. So unnerved by the force of her attraction to him she’d mapped out an actual plan for seeing only Willa, Amy and Jessica. Crazy. She should be able to see her friends whenever and wherever she wanted, without giving a second thought to whoever else might just happen to be in the vicinity.

As if she couldn’t handle a twenty-seven-year-old!

And on her own turf…in her own office? Easy.

This would not be like the divorce party, where the kick of lust had taken her by surprise. She would be prepared for it today. And she could tell him directly, herself, that she was no longer in the market—so thanks, but no thanks.

‘Kate?’ Deb prompted. ‘Shall I cancel him?’

Kate straightened her shoulders. ‘No, that’s fine,’ she said. ‘It will take approximately five minutes to conclude my business with Mr Knight. Plenty of time to eat chicken and mung-bloody-bean salad afterwards.’ She nodded, satisfied. ‘Now, can you grab me the McMahon file? There’s something I need to check before the parties arrive to have another crack at a settlement conference.’

‘Mmm-hmm. Settlement conference… That’s what they’re calling World War III these days, is it?’

Scott, no stranger to wooing women, brought flowers to Kate’s office. Nothing over the top. Just simple, colourful gerberas that said I’m charming so I don’t have to bring roses.

Not that he saw any softening in Deb’s face as he handed over the bunch.

‘Seems a shame to spend money on flowers when you’re only going to be in there for five minutes,’ she said.

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