‘I see,’ he finally murmured, an ironic tilt to his perfectly sculptured mouth. Twin blue laser beams targeted Ivy’s eyes. ‘I now understand how sceptical you must have been over my intentions and how reluctant you still are to get involved with me. But you’re here thinking about it, and I’m here fighting for a chance with you because we connected so strongly we’d always wonder what might have been if we didn’t pursue it. That’s the truth of it, isn’t it, Ivy? The honest truth.’
‘For me, yes,’ she answered, her own mouth quirking with irony as she added, ‘Where you’re concerned, it requires a leap of faith I’m not sure I can make.’
He nodded. ‘Make it. Take the risk. It’s worth a try.’ He flashed her a dazzling smile. ‘Remember how good it was. Think how good it can be again.’
She hoped it would be, because the decision was already made. The buzz of anticipation was in her blood and she was no longer physically capable of backing away from this man.
He made a flip-flop gesture, unsure of where she was at. ‘You can always end it if I let you down.’
She smiled, her eyes mocking the off-hand offer. ‘I don’t think you’re too good at accepting an end you don’t want, Jordan. My mother can testify to that.’
‘But I hadn’t let you down, Ivy,’ he reminded her. ‘You just assumed I would. Let’s be fair now.’
She laughed, giddy with the sense of taking an even more dangerous step with this man. ‘Okay. I promise I’ll be fair.’
One black eyebrow arched in appeal. ‘No harking back to my past?’
‘I’ll take you as I find you until you do let me down.’
‘Done!’ His hand smacked down on the table in triumphant satisfaction as he rose from his chair, emitting an electric energy that sent Ivy’s pulse zooming into overdrive. ‘Take me to wherever you’ve parked your car,’ he commanded, his eyes blazing with the desire to move her with him to a far less public place.
The car…images of wild sex bloomed in Ivy’s mind, flustering her into a hot flush. She waved at the plate of sandwiches in a rush of agitation. ‘What about this?’
‘Not what I’m hungry for. Are you?’
‘No.’ Impossible to eat anything with lustful thoughts running riot and there was no point in delaying what she’d decided to do. ‘You haven’t paid,’ she said, trying to sound in some control of herself as she pushed up from her chair.
He took out his wallet, removed a fifty-dollar note, anchored it on the table under the sugar bowl, then reached for her hand. She gave it to him, consciously feeling every sensation of his touch: the power of the fingers entwining hers, the tingling pleasure from the rub of his flesh, the seductive caress of his thumb. Why he, of all men, could evoke this acute sexual excitement in her, she didn’t know, but strangely enough it was a relief to simply surrender to it.
‘The elevator,’ she directed. ‘Level two of the basement car park.’
They walked together, moving like an arrow of purpose that could not be diverted. The crowd of shoppers milled around them, no one blocking their path even minimally. Ivy was barely aware of other people. The connection to the man beside her virtually obliterated everything else.
Worries wormed their way through her mind. Had she given in too easily? Was she a fool for giving in at all? Were there other things she could have said, should have said before letting him lead her back into his life? Was there any real possibility of a relationship with Jordan developing into something solid?
Yet…did any of that matter when he could make her feel like this?
They reached the elevator just as its doors opened. A family—mother, father, child in a pram—stepped out, an ordinary family, what Ivy had hoped to have herself. Nothing with Jordan was going to be ordinary. Was she totally mad to involve herself with him?
They moved into the elevator. No one followed them. Jordan pressed the button for L2. The doors closed. They were alone together in the small compartment. Jordan erupted into action, scooping her into his embrace, kissing her with a hunger that found an instant, overwhelming response. Weeks—a whole month of repression burst under a wild surge of need to taste him again, feel him again, have him stoke the excitement that made everything else irrelevant.
Their mouths meshed in feverish passion. Their hands seized, travelled, pressed, dragged, dug in, feeding the fierce desire to take possession. They were so immersed in each other, they didn’t notice the elevator coming to a halt, its doors sliding open.
‘Sorry to interrupt you guys, but…’
The voice brought them back to earth with a heart-thumping shock.
‘Right,’ Jordan muttered, and swept Ivy past the amused onlooker into the cavernous car park.
Her legs were wobbly. She tried to catch a breath, get her wits in order, orientate herself enough to find her car. ‘Where’s yours?’ she asked.
He looked as distracted as she felt. ‘Your car.’
He shook his head. ‘Didn’t bring one. Had Ray drop me off.’
He stopped, sucked in a deep breath, obviously regathering himself as he turned to face her, lightly grasping her upper arms, the blue eyes boring into hers, his voice gruff with emotion. ‘Are you okay, Ivy? You’re not about to do another runner on me?’
‘No.’ Tearing herself away from him now was unthinkable. She wanted him too much. When or if he let her down…somehow she would deal with the fallout. Until then…she summoned up a shaky smile. ‘Though let’s not lose our heads again. At least, not here.’
His smile poured out relief and reassurance. ‘I can wait a bit longer. And to answer your question, Ray is my handyman and he’ll drive in to pick me up at two o’clock if not instructed otherwise. We can be home before he leaves if we go in your car.’
‘Okay.’ She opened her shoulder-bag to get out the keys. ‘It’s probably better if you drive. You’re more familiar with the route to Balmoral.’ Besides which, it was doubtful she could concentrate on the road.
He released her arms to take the keys, dryly commenting, ‘It will make it easier to keep my hands off you.’
She laughed, giddily light-hearted with the tense burden of decision lifted. A quick glance around located her car and she hooked her arm around his to haul him in the right direction. ‘This way. And we both need to exercise some care, Jordan.’