‘I only came to stop you from pestering my mother,’ she declared, keeping her face tight with disapproval.
He leaned forward, elbows on the table, speaking with quiet urgency. ‘I had to talk to you. The night we spent together…I didn’t use any protection and I didn’t ask if you were on the pill. I’ve been worried that you might have fallen pregnant.’
‘Oh!’ Her chest loosened up as her lungs expelled a gush of air in a sigh of relief. This was reasonable. It wasn’t a mad pursuit of her. In fact, it was really nice of him to care about serious consequences from their mutual recklessness. ‘It’s okay,’ she assured him. ‘That was a safe time for me. You don’t have to worry any more.’
‘A safe time?’ he queried, frowning as though he didn’t quite understand.
‘In my monthly cycle,’ she explained.
‘You don’t normally use any contraceptive device?’
He sounded incredulous, as though any woman in her right mind shouldn’t be protecting herself against accidents. Undoubtedly the women he mixed with did.
She leaned forward to make her position very plain, flushing with the violence of her feelings on his fly-by-night attitude. ‘I told you I wasn’t your type. I told you I wouldn’t fit into your scene. I don’t do sex on a casual basis and I haven’t been in a relationship for over two years so I have no reason to be always ready.’
‘Ah!’ A smile of satisfaction tugged at the corners of his mouth. ‘Then I’m glad you found me as irresistible as I found you. Which is the second thing I want to talk to you about.’
Ivy rolled her eyes and sagged back in her chair, feeling under attack again. ‘Haven’t I made my point, Jordan?’ she cried in exasperation.
‘No. Because it’s based on assumptions about me which I don’t think are fair,’ he argued.
They weren’t assumptions. His orders to the rose farm provided hard evidence of how he conducted his sexual affairs. However, she couldn’t lay that out to him without revealing how she had such inside knowledge and she didn’t want to give him any more information about herself. ‘You’re a notorious playboy,’ she said accusingly, folding her arms in defensive belligerence.
He grimaced. ‘Because of what I am, who I am, a lot of women throw themselves at me, Ivy. I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t find some of them attractive. Unlike you, they’re intent on making themselves attractive to me, but the effort wears thin after a while. Their real selves emerge.’ He shook his head as he ruefully added, ‘And it’s never what I want.’
‘What do you want?’ she asked, privately conceding what he said could be true. A handsome billionaire would be a target for most women.
The blue eyes burned into hers. ‘Honesty,’ he said, which he’d previously told her was the rarest commodity in his world.
Maybe it was. The more Ivy thought about it, the more she could see this could be a real downside in being obscenely wealthy…people cosying up to him for what they could get out of being close to big money. She didn’t need what he had. Being happy in her own world, she didn’t covet his kind of life at all. The only thing missing for her was…a loving husband, family, a shared future.
She couldn’t see Jordan Powell in that picture.
Though she certainly wouldn’t mind sharing her bed with him.
No denying that.
Her entire body was humming with tempting memories and sympathy for his situation with other women was sneaking into her heart, undermining her resistance to the strong attraction of the man.
‘Well, I want honesty, too, Jordan,’ she said, struggling to maintain a defensive line. ‘Why don’t you admit I was nothing more than an amusing challenge to you on the night of my mother’s exhibition? Someone different to play with. And you simply didn’t like it when I finished the game before you did.’
‘Not a game, Ivy.’ He shook his head over her choice of words. His mouth quirked ironically. ‘A game doesn’t spin out of control as that night did.’
The trunk of the car…the front steps of his house…her vaginal muscles contracted sharply at the pointed recollection of control being totally lost.
‘That has never happened to me before,’ he added quietly. ‘Which does make you different, Ivy. Not in an amusing sense. In a very unique sense. And you’ve just told me it was extraordinary for you, too. So I don’t think we should walk away from it. I think it’s something we should explore a lot further. Together. With honesty. No game-playing.’
There was no trace of glib charm in his voice, no seductive twinkle in the blue eyes boring into hers. He looked completely serious, sincere, emitting a forceful energy that silently attacked and demolished any argument against what he was proposing.
Ivy suddenly found herself thinking of her parents. They’d led separate lives for as long as she could remember, but they’d never divorced and had always shared a bedroom when they’d spent weekends together. They’d each pursued their own interests, respecting the needs that drove them to take different paths while still maintaining an affectionate bond.
It wasn’t what she wanted for herself.
But what if there was nothing better?
Never would be anything better.
She stared at Jordan Powell and knew she wanted more of him. Whatever that meant…wherever it led…she did want to explore how much they could have together.
JORDAN concentrated fiercely on willing Ivy to agree. The idea that she had been playing a power game with him had been whittled away by the sheer length of time it had taken her to respond to his message. Her attitude today—everything about her—indicated that inspiring a chase had not been the intent behind absenting herself from his life. She was fighting the attraction between them with all her willpower.
Or was all this a clever act, designed to draw him more firmly into her female net?
She had turned up.
And was forcing him to argue for a chance with her.
Throw out the challenge…hook the man like he’d never been hooked before!
Her fascinating green eyes had savaged him, mocked him, transmitted hard unyielding judgement, but now they were strangely blank, focussed inward, giving no sign of what she was thinking.
He couldn’t deny his many affairs—most of them very short-lived. Ivy had plenty of reason to believe she would be no more than a brief addition to the long list. It could actually turn out that way. He wasn’t about to promise it wouldn’t. How could he know, at this stage, how long the attraction would last, whether familiarity would eventually breed contempt, as it so often had with other women?