Page 17 of Wife in Public

‘What do you want me to do?’ Heather asked.

‘Put the order through. It’s business as usual. I’ll speak to my mother about it.’


‘Okay.’

But it wasn’t okay. The same order came through on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday, constantly reminding Ivy of the man.

‘Maybe you should go and talk to him,’ Heather said as she was leaving on Friday.

‘No!’ Ivy answered firmly.

But her weekend was totally wrecked, thinking about him waiting for her, wondering if he had something to say she would actually want to hear. Which was ridiculous, given his track record with women.

He didn’t give up.

The order was repeated on Monday and every day of the next week. Her mother complained she was drowning in roses and putting on weight with all the double chocolate fudge.

‘You don’t have to eat it,’ Ivy cried in sheer frustration with Jordan’s determined campaign. ‘Give it away. Give the roses away.’

‘I don’t see why you can’t go and talk to him,’ her mother argued. ‘It’s not as if he’s asking you to come into his parlour, Ivy. It’s a public place. You can walk away any time you like.’

‘I don’t want to see him. Full stop.’

However, her refusal to meet Jordan did not stop him.

Her mother was inundated with roses and fudge for the third week running. Even Heather, with all her Rose Valentino knowledge, started doubting Ivy’s decision.

‘You must have made a big impact on him, Ivy. To be this persistent…and waiting two hours at a coffee shop for you to turn up…’ She frowned and shook her head. ‘I don’t think a dilettante would do that.’ Her eyes gathered a look of fantastic possibilities as she added, ‘What if it’s a serious attraction? Maybe you should give it a chance. You did say he was a great lover.’

‘How could it work between us? I’m here. He’s there,’ Ivy pointed out with considerable vehemence, needing to hang on to common sense.

‘Distance wouldn’t be a problem for a billionaire. He probably owns a helicopter.’

‘I bet it’s no more than an ego thing and I’m not giving in to it,’ Ivy declared with fierce determination.

Heather said no more, keeping her thoughts to herself, but Ivy could see the glint of pro-Jordan speculation in her eyes as the orders continued through the fourth week. Which was downright persecution!

Heather no longer supported her stance.

Her mother was ranting and raving.

On the fourth Saturday morning after Ivy had walked out of Jordan Powell’s life, she decided she had to meet him and give him a piece of her mind—an angry, outraged, totally damning piece which would rock him back on his billionaire-playboy socks and make him leave her alone!

She braided her hair back into one thick plait, mini-mising its impact. Blue jeans, a royal-blue T-shirt and navy sandals helped give her a fairly nondescript appearance. Without any make-up she was satisfied that Jordan would not find her particularly attractive today. It had to be impressed upon him that he was wasting his time with her.

She drove to Sydney and used the parking station under the Queen Victoria Building, which was expensive but handy for a quick getaway. The big clock inside the shopping mall was showing ten minutes past midday as she kept herself inconspicuous amongst the crowd of shoppers passing by the tables belonging to the Bacio Coffee Shop. They were set out in open view, most of them occupied by people wanting a lunch break.

Her heart kicked into a gallop when she spotted Jordan at one of them, a pen in hand, apparently working on a crossword in the newspaper spread out on his table. He wasn’t looking out for her, but he was there all right, all set up to wait patiently for her arrival. The relentless pressure for this meeting sent a bolt of panic through Ivy, quickening her pace as she walked straight past where he was sitting, too agitated by the sight of him to be in control of this encounter. Her righteous anger had just been swallowed up by a scary sense of vulnerability.

She stopped at a safe distance and turned to watch him surreptitiously. The back view of him was not so nerve-joltingly handsome, but it was impossible to set aside the fact she had gone to bed with this man, knew his body intimately, had run her fingers through his thick black hair, nestled her face contentedly into the curve of his neck and shoulder—sharp memories raising a terribly acute sexual awareness, both of him and herself. The moment she looked into his bedroom-blue eyes she would see them there, too, and how was she going to ignore or dismiss that once she sat down with him?

Ivy dithered, the need to stop Jordan from inserting himself into her life losing all its furious momentum in the power of his presence. She saw other women glancing at him from nearby tables, probably wishing they could catch his attention. Even though he seemed oblivious of their interest, he still had the charismatic magnetism to draw theirs. It kept tugging at her, too. Coming here had been a mistake—a big mistake.

He would stop sending the roses eventually.

She didn’t have to say or do anything.

Except tear her gaze away from him and go back home.

So go, she told herself, but before she could bring herself to act, Jordan’s head jerked up as though reacting to something. He rose swiftly to his feet, turned, shooting a questioning gaze around his vicinity. Ivy froze, couldn’t move a muscle, the certainty of no escape now seizing her mind, making another encounter with him inevitable.

He saw her. The smile that instantly spread across his face turned her insides to mush. It wasn’t a smile of triumph, more one of sparkling pleasure, inviting her to share it—share all the things that had pleasured them both. He lifted a hand in an open gesture of welcome, encouraging her to join him at his table.

Her heart started pumping again. Hard. She wondered if he would chase her if she turned and ran. But there was no dignity in that. Besides, she wasn’t sure her wobbly legs were capable of racing anywhere. Somehow she had to firm up her mind—as well as the rest of her body—and directly address the situation with Jordan Powell.

She concentrated on forcing her feet forward and putting a glowering expression of reproach on her face, smiting his treacherous smile as she made her way to his table. He held out a chair for her. She sat down. He quickly folded the newspaper and slipped it under his chair as he resumed his seat, the blue eyes more serious now, appealing for her patience.

‘It’s good to see you, Ivy,’ he rolled out in his deep, sexy voice.

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