Guest list. As opposed to media list. She had to get invitations out as soon as possible. Fortunately she knew several of the out-of-town guests who had flown in specially were staying on for a week or so cruising round the island on board a luxury yacht. She had to get invitations to everyone today. But they’d be nothing like the handmade, pure silk, exclusive invitations of the first party.
She’d go very simple, very elegant and hopefully the guests would think it a little mysterious, not that she had no idea about a theme. She drew a mock-up on a piece of paper, then went to sweet-talk Stella, the hotel manager’s secretary, who hopefully had more of an understanding of the desktop publishing program than she did.
Three hours later and the file was being emailed to the local printer to be printed. She spent another two hours in the office at the back of Reception figuring how to print the envelopes herself and then stuffing them. Then she sent the hotel porter to deliver them personally. In uniform, with a simple smart invitation— it wasn’t brilliant but it wasn’t bad. And right now it was the best she could do.
At that point she needed fresh air and a brain transplant—to have the smarts to pull the party out of a hat.
She walked along the stretch of beach reserved exclusively for the hotel guests’ use, looking up, down and all around for inspiration. She needed a theme but everything had been done to death—masked balls, black and white, tropical nights, pirates and princesses… Yeah, right. Yawn, yawn.
Décor was going to be a nightmare—especially given that James pretty much was prepared to pay only for the food and wine. While the hotel was beautiful, the ballroom all marble and light, how did she turn it into super- super special?
She’d gone with the simplicity of flowers last time—but not just any flowers. They’d been exotic, heady-scented orchids she’d had flown in specially and that had cost the earth. She couldn’t do that again.
And what other options were there? It wasn’t as if she could get in a few helium cylinders and just do balloons. It had to be more than that.
Where did you go from opulence? Aristo was the playground of the rich and famous. Where they could come to relax in privacy and also enjoy the high life should they choose. And she’d given them a ball at which only the very best had been on offer. It had been, she mused, one step away from decadence.
She smiled. She’d jokingly accused James of wanting her to arrange an orgy. She stopped still on the pristine sand. Thought about that idea some more. What if she could gently nudge the luxuriance of Saturday’s ball on to an exclusive, seductive evening, one that whispered the promise to fill the appetite for pleasure—all kinds of pleasure?
She racked her brains, trying to remember more than mere fragments of the Classical Studies she’d taken at university. The ancient Greeks knew how to throw parties—orgies by another name. What if she created a setting in which that spirit could be invoked? Decadent, hedonistic—as James had accused her of being— could she turn that to her advantage? Create a sumptuous, sensual feast but one that could somehow still be refined and elegant? Was that even possible?
Yes. She could make it work. It was the only real idea she’d had and, besides, it tickled her naughty bone.
Right now James made her feel like a sensual goddess. It wouldn’t last, of course. But maybe she could tempt him with fruits and wines and keep him under her spell for just that little longer.
Her blood tingled with excitement. The other night she’d imported everything. This time she couldn’t do that —she would look at traditional produce and plenty of it. She retraced her steps back to the hotel, fast and on fire, ideas sparking one after the other, finally feeling as if she’d had a breakthrough—maybe she could put it all together after all. She was back in charge.
JAMES sat at his desk and tried not to dwell on the fact Liss had been gone for hours, that he was missing her, and that he wanted her again badly. One night hadn’t been enough. Nor had two. Not nearly enough.
Her body had him bound, and now he found he wanted to know more—wanted to get inside her head as much as he had her pants. He wanted to understand what it was that made her frown in her sleep, what it was that caused her to look wistful when she thought she was alone. He’d seen it in Sydney, he’d seen it here. He wanted to know why and he also, simply, still wanted her.
He looked up as the door opened and immediately gave thanks to whoever was the god of lust. She floated in wearing a sophisticated dress as casually as if it were old jeans and tee. Only she could wear clothes like that with such seemingly effortless panache. He couldn’t help the way his whole body tightened.