All for love 3 series.., p.31
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       All for Love - 3 Series Starters, p.31

           Kris Pearson
 

  The four of them met in the foyer, and strolled together back to the cars. “Who’s for the spa?” Matthew enquired.

  Diana shook her head. “Early start tomorrow,” she said.

  “Not if you’re opening those damn doors again,” Hamish added.

  “Looks like it’s just you and me then, Katie.”

  “I’ll think about it,” she said tartly.

  The temperature had plummeted. Freezing mist haloed the street-lights. Already tiny spikes of ice stood glistening on every level surface. A soak in the spa would have been heaven, but not after what had happened at the cinema, and certainly not if they’d be alone this time.

  Matthew laughed—his warm breath a steaming wreath in the sub-zero air. He seemed not to mind either way.

  “Love to Sis,” Hamish called. “Tell her we missed her.”

  And there it was again. Kate prickled hot and cold, desperate to know the truth.

  Hamish beeped his car unlocked, and in seconds, he and Diana were seated and reversing out of the warehouse.

  Matthew opened the Alpha Romeo, and watched as Kate arranged her long legs. “Silly car for tall people, but it was a promise I made myself.”

  “It’s yours then, not your... Lottie’s?”

  How could she find out if they were married or not? She didn’t want to ask him outright, and possibly broadcast her interest in him.

  He appeared not to notice her hesitation. “She hardly ever drives. This would be your toy if you stayed...?”

  She drew a sharp breath and shook her head. “Not really my style.”

  “Too flashy for you? I’ll buy you something else then. A nice, sedate little Beamer?”

  “I’m not coming back, Matthew. I can’t.” She reached for her seatbelt and snapped it into place.

  “Why not?”

  Because my body is screaming for yours. Because you turn me on by just looking at me. Because your mouth tastes like honey, and your hair feels like feathers, and your skin is as hot and smooth as polished timber in sunshine. Because, after all, you might actually be available. And that’s too much to contemplate right now.

  She shook her head again, willing her voice not to tremble. “It’s not quite the situation I had in mind, and you haven’t offered it to me anyway, so no harm done.”

  ~♥~

  He stayed silent, watching her with total attention before closing her door and walking around to his own. He’d scanned her CV and sent it to Sy Karlsen while she changed for the movie. Had she decided to make a graceful exit because her attempt at industrial espionage had proved difficult? Or because he and she were so hot together she was running scared?

  Their one kiss had pressed every panic button in his big body. Another embrace like that and he’d have slung her across his shoulder, and marched out of the cinema intent on fucking her until they both expired from lust.

  Chapter Twelve — Moth to a Flame

  The car ceased its throaty growl. Kate released her seatbelt and slid out with all possible speed, hoping to make a dash for her room. Matthew’s door was closer to the hallway though, and he intercepted her with ease. “Will you join me?”

  Hoping he meant in the spa, she shook her head. “No thank you. I’m tired. I’ll sleep easily tonight. You need to go and check on Lottie.”

  And I’m certainly not giving you the chance to start anything again.

  “You’re running away from me?” One dark eyebrow rose in challenge, and a corner of his mouth kicked up in a slow burn of a grin.

  “Of course I’m not,” she insisted. Warmth spread everywhere as her body reacted to the invitation implicit in his expression. She’d known from the moment she met him he’d have a devastating smile, but hadn’t calculated on its effect on her. All of her. Places that had no right to be wet and willing suddenly felt very wet and willing indeed.

  He shook his head slowly. “Lottie can wait. She’s probably asleep by now anyway.”

  Kate pictured her. On the other floor of the house. Well away from here. Unable to walk easily. She’d never discover us...

  Her face flamed at her unsettling thoughts, and something in her expression made Matthew pause and look at her with extra intensity. “Not my night then?”

  “Absolutely not. Whatever made you think it would be?” She held her breath at the outrageous challenge she’d thrown him.

  “The small matter of that kiss,” he said, raising a hand and running a finger along her cheekbone and delicately around the curl of her ear.

  “I should have slapped your face. Or moved to that empty seat.”

  “But you didn’t, Katie. You left me with a little bit of hope. Just like you’re doing now.”

  “Hope for what?” she demanded, pushing at his hand too late. Oh, she was making a real mess of this. She should have flounced off in a temper; shown him she wanted nothing to do with him. Something held her there though. Attracted as a moth to a flame.

  “Hope that you might finally be relaxing and starting to enjoy your time with us.” He caught her hand in his much larger one and turned her so she was obliged to step through into the hallway. “With me.”

  “Of course I’m enjoying it,” she protested. “The house is beautiful. Lottie is a real pleasure to know—even if she caught me unawares by expecting I’d pose for her.”

  “But I don’t get a mention?” His mercurial eyes pinned her in place.

  “Why would you expect a mention? All you’ve done so far is tease me and make fun of me. Draw me while I was practically naked and couldn’t move...” She glared at him. “I’d like those drawings of me returned please. Where have you put them?”

  “We’ll worry about those tomorrow. Right now, I need to check on Lottie, as you’ve so dutifully reminded me. If I really can’t tempt you to the spa?”

  “No, you can’t. I’ve already said that. And don’t think I’ve forgotten about those sketches.” She pulled away, and Matthew let go of her hand with apparent reluctance. “Good night,” she added, somewhat more graciously. “Thank you for the movie.”

  “Sleep well then.”

  Not a chance.

  But eventually, of course, after what felt like a whole night of frustrated wide-awake tossing, she did fall gently asleep. And between the fine cotton sheets, under the lightest goose-down quilt, in the deeply luxurious bed, he was there. Everywhere in her dreams, he was there.

  In the spa-pool again, taking outrageous liberties with her body.

  At the movies, where her panties seemed to have disappeared.

  In the car, which had suddenly grown plenty big enough for him to lower his tall body over hers, entering her, sliding provocatively until her body clenched around his and she shrieked with the jolting, searing sensations that he summoned.

  “Katie?”

  She lurched bolt upright in bed.

  “What were you muttering about? I couldn’t quite hear.”

  Oh God, oh God, oh God. Thank heavens he couldn’t!

  “It’s a great morning. Tea or coffee?” He crossed to the window and drew the thick curtains aside. A shaft of sunlight spilled across the floor.

  Kate had been deep asleep, dreaming vividly, hot with wanting. She turned her flushed and confused face up as he approached the bed again, and jerked the covers to her chin. “Don’t you ever knock?”

  “Twice. You must have been dead to the world.”

  She gazed at him sleepily, narrowing her eyes against the light, and willing her heart to stop its frantic thumping.

  Matthew grinned. “Sorry if I woke you. But it’s a fantastic day, and it’s almost nine o’clock. We need to buy that dress, and then I thought I’d fly you down to Milford for lunch.”

  “Milford Sound?”

  “Where else? There’ll be marvellous views of the mountains today.”

  Kate swallowed. “Coffee, thanks.”

  Oh, this was ridiculous! This was way out of her league. He’d suggested a flight in a private plane as thoug
h it was a bus ride around town. Preceded by a nerve-jangling shopping trip where he’d play sugar daddy again.

  “I’m supposed to be helping Lottie,” she tried.

  “She’s gone out with some painting friends—miles off toward Glen Orchy. There’s no stopping her,” he added when Kate exclaimed with distress. “They’ll look after her,” he threw over his shoulder as he turned to retrieve a laden tray from the hallway. Tea and coffee pots. Sleek white crockery. A warm Danish pastry. Three huge strawberries. He set it on the nearby chest.

  Kate blinked at the selection. “Is this breakfast?”

  He shook his head. “I didn’t know what you’d want. Lottie always likes a couple of biscuits with her first drink of the day.”

  “Crumbs in the bed,” Kate said.

  “Fate worse than death,” he added, and they dissolved into unexpected laughter together.

  He poured the coffee she requested, then filled the second cup for himself, ignoring the comfortable armchair by the window and sitting companionably on the end of the bed. “Di’s suggested a suitably expensive shop for the party dress,” he said. “And some of the hotels have very good boutiques. We can try anywhere you like.”

  Kate sat up and tucked the sheet firmly around her breasts to shield them from his very interested eyes. “I wouldn’t have a clue,” she said eying him over the rim of her cup as she sipped the strong smoky coffee. He wore blue jeans and a navy sweatshirt with no visible layer beneath. A small expanse of tanned skin teased her where the sweatshirt dipped in front. It was the most casually dressed she’d seen him, but he still looked a force to be reckoned with.

  Some men just had it. Matthew had it—whatever it was. Even in the most basic clothes, slouched on a bed, he looked like he could take on the world and win. Add the private plane, the incredible house, the classy car, and it was still the man who intrigued her the most, though.

  “Why did you kiss me like that at the cinema?” she blurted, horrified to hear her words aloud when she’d meant only to turn the question around in her mind.

  He smiled very slightly. “I haven’t taken a pretty girl to the movies in ages.”

  “That’s not an answer,” she pressed. Okay, she’d already put her foot in it—she might as well totally demolish herself. There was nothing left to lose now.

  “Couldn’t resist you.”

  She held his eyes with hers. “So why did you stop?” she asked less bravely.

  She’d invented a dozen reasons. Because one kiss was all I wanted. Because I’d got you. Because you didn’t fight me off. Because of Lottie. Which would he choose?

  “Because a crowded cinema’s not the right place for what I had in mind.”

  Kate dropped her gaze. What an arrogant son-of-a-bitch he was. So sure of himself—and sure of her too, apparently.

  She exhaled quietly, hoping to hide the tension that had made her hold her breath. “I felt what you had in mind. Much too hopeful of you, I thought.”

  He snarled—laughing, deliberate—like a cartoon tiger. Then stood, placed his cup on the tray and left her alone in her room.

  Far too slowly, her blood pressure subsided toward something near normal. Well, she’d be safe enough in the boutique with him. Annoyed maybe, but safe.

  He could hardly make a play for her while piloting the plane.

  And Milford Sound was such a tourist attraction there’d be hundreds of people there to prevent any dangerous privacy. Even though Lottie would be out of the picture, today shouldn’t be too perilous.

  Kate swung her legs out of bed and stepped barefoot across the deep carpet to take a stinging, steaming shower. If only she could wash him off with soap...

  What should she wear for trying on party gowns and flying over the Southern Alps? The raspberry leather jacket seemed suitable for flying. She teamed it with jeans, her new walking boots, and a cosy cream angora cardigan. Sharon had persuaded her to buy the matching scarf and ski-cap. She decided to take them in case it was cold in the small plane. It was certainly frosty outside, even though the sun now cast long hard shadows and brilliant slides of light over everything.

  The delicious aroma of bacon floated toward her as she drew closer to the kitchen. She’d enjoyed her Danish and the strawberries, but the savoury tang still turned her taste-buds on. She claimed a couple of rashers from the grill tray and joined Matthew at the table, folding them into a slice of whole-wheat bread to make an impromptu sandwich.

  Minutes later, they set off for Queenstown in the SUV—Matthew again driving slowly because of the slippery roads.

  The ‘suitably expensive shop’ had some dazzling dresses, but nothing quite as wine-red and low-backed as Kate had imagined. She declined to try anything on.

  But at the first hotel boutique they struck lucky. Matthew lifted a hanger off the rack with a jubilant laugh. A slim black dress. But with a slippery dark red facing across the fitted bodice that ran down to a waist-deep V at the back. And repeated around the hip-high slash in the skirt. Definitely a dress for a woman with high breasts, long legs and a smooth spine. Kate’s mouth watered.

  He swooped it up over his other arm and presented it to her. She checked the size, inclined her head graciously, and disappeared into the changing room.

  “When do we get to see it?” he called after a while.

  “When I’m ready,” Kate grunted. She’d had to unlace the boots to get her jeans off, and the struggle was taking time.

  A minute or two later she flipped the curtain aside and stepped out. Her striped socks didn’t help the total look, but the dress was perfection. It clung and hung in all the right places, totally decent, but leaving very little to the imagination.

  Matthew rose from his chair and examined her closely.

  She performed a slow turn for him. It was a dream of a dress—she knew she’d never find anything better. He reached out and ran a finger across her back, tweaking one of the slender straps that supported the bodice.

  “You’ll have to take your bra off an hour or so before you put it on,” he said. “Nice back, Katie—but not with elastic marks across it.”

  Was that the best he could manage? Was it even a compliment? She whirled around to face him, claws at the ready, searching for the perfect pithy reply. He grinned broadly, knowing he’d won that point.

  Kate stilled. She took a deep breath, watching his silvery eyes as they settled on her breasts. She slid her long creamy thigh provocatively through the satin-edged slit of the skirt. His gaze followed. Kate laughed inwardly, twitched the skirt back into place and waltzed in triumph back to the fitting room. Gotcha.

  “Bring your boots out here,” he called a little later. The curtain stopped a little shy of the floor—no doubt he’d seen her jeans were now on and the boots still off.

  She pushed the fabric aside and lifted her hair up to free it from inside the jacket collar. “Why bring the boots out?”

  “So I can do them up properly for you.” His eyes still roved over her hair.

  Kate handed the dress to the sales assistant. “We’ll take it,” she said, flinching only slightly at the outrageous price.

  Matthew rose from the chair and indicated she should sit. He knelt in front of her, legs parted. And set one of her feet firmly and precisely where his thighs joined. Kate caught her breath and tried to wriggle away.

  “Mmmm,” he hummed. “Nice action, Katie.”

  She stopped her wriggling. One striped sock and a layer of blue denim separated her from his warm and willing body—and it was becoming more willing by the moment. Horrified, she felt him slowly lengthening and hardening beneath her toes. And he held her foot right there as he leisurely loosened off her bootlaces with the fingers of his other hand.

  He looked up at her and quirked an eyebrow as he finally slid her boot on and repositioned her foot again. At least the tough ridged sole was now between them. She resolutely locked her eyes on his until he looked down with a small chuckle and started to rethread th
e laces. Two could play at this, she decided.

  The immaculately groomed sales assistant stood only feet away, folding the dress, making a great crackle with sheets of tissue paper on the countertop. It gave a whole new meaning to menage a trois, Kate thought, suppressing a giggle.

  He finished his job and set her booted foot aside.

  Kate gracefully lifted the other and positioned it as he had, adding a wriggle of her toes and a little nudge from her heel as though she was settling herself comfortably.

  “Goodness, Matthew,” she said. “What a nuisance that must be for you.”

  He compressed his lips, refusing to comment, but a snort of laughter soon rewarded her.

  She had the measure of his game now. And the measure of more besides. Okay, he wanted to play. She wasn’t about to let him win again without a decent fight. She pressed a little harder, flexing her toes against him. He unlaced her other boot and then ran a finger caressingly under her arch as he inserted her foot. Kate jerked and caught her breath.

  “I must see how to do this,” she said, once the sensation had lessened off a little. She leaned over, ostensibly to watch his fingers rethreading the laces. Her hair swung forward in a soft concealing cloud, brushing over his face, surrounding him in shadowed fragrance.

  “Katie...” he growled.

  “Am I making things difficult for you?” she asked with mock-innocence.

  He turned his head, grabbed a mouthful, and tugged.

  She gasped at the small sharp pain. “You’re a hurter, are you?” she whispered.

  “Never.” He unclamped his teeth and released her. “But you’re deliberately winding me up.”

  Kate leaned back in the chair and smiled as he finished lacing the second boot. “You think?” she teased. “No more than you deserve.”

  Chapter Thirteen — Yes

  Kate’s spirits soared as high as the little plane. Matthew had helped her in, belted her up, made sure her headphones were comfortable, and then ignored her. He ran through his park-up checks with meticulous attention, called the controller, and received permission to start his engine and taxi to his holding point on the runway.

  “Ready for departure.”

  “Cleared for runway.”

  Suddenly he clapped a big hand on her thigh, flashed a broad grin, and the engine note increased. They picked up speed, racing along through the clear morning air. Then he pulled back on the control column and they rushed up into the dark blue sky. Queenstown receded to the size of a town-planner’s model. Lake Wakatipu sparkled; the cableway looked tiny; the mountains became magnificent.

 
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