Mr. Irresistible

By: Karina Bliss
“I’m normally quite good at this.”




“I’ll add Casanova to the list—right after intimidating thug,” Kate shot back.

“Let me start again,” Jordan said quietly. “I trusted a woman I shouldn’t have. But it was a mistake and I’m gutted by the impact on her family, which is why I haven’t compounded their misery by publicly calling their mother a liar.” He stepped closer. “Anything else?”

Kate struggled to return some sanity to the conversation. “You hardly know me.”

“Not yet,” Jordan admitted generously. “But I want to know you. And know you very well.”

“You want to sleep with me you mean,” she said to disconcert him. The man was insufferable.

His gaze swept her curves like a blue searchlight. “Hell, yes.”




CHAPTER ONE




SCANDAL.

The fashionable Auckland restaurant reeked of it, along with Chanel, the fruitiness of Chianti and mouthwatering stone-grilled meats so calorie-loaded Kate Brogan tried not to inhale too deeply. She was saving herself for the tiramisu.

Glancing at her watch, she saw that Lucy was late, as usual. Kate drained her water glass and caught the eye of the waiter hovering on the edge of the terraced courtyard, ostensibly enjoying the sunshine between duties, but plainly checking out his female patrons.

“Signorina?” Despite the fact that his taste clearly ran to full-breasted blondes, he was all politeness.

Kate smiled, her amusement growing as she watched him up her babe rating. “Antipasto for two and the dessert menu, please.” Lucy might have the afternoon to play, but Kate had a deadline to meet.

While she waited, she scanned the place for diversion. This overpriced restaurant, its patrons a self-conscious mix of chic wives and corporate raiders, had always been a good hunting ground for her weekly newspaper column.

Across the courtyard a jacaranda daubed the diners in patches of sunshine and shade, while bright-eyed sparrows perched in its branches, quicker than the waiters to clear an empty table.

To her left an overripe politician devoured a much younger woman with his eyes, while his fat, moist hands stroked her upturned palms. Recognizing Kate, he froze.

She raised her glass to him, and Diggory scowled. Eighteen months earlier he’d lost his ministerial portfolio after investigations proved his taxpayer-funded business trips had doubled as dalliances with his personal assistant. Investigations sparked by one of Kate’s newspaper columns, “More Bang(ing) for Your Tax Buck?”

To her surprise, he got up and came over. “You’re back.”

“And nothing’s changed,” she said dryly. “You can’t be faithful to your mistress, let alone your wife.”

“Margo left me,” he retorted. “I can date whom I like. Since you’ve been overseas, I presume you missed my good news.” He smiled, revealing smoker’s teeth. “I was reelected last week.” Kate sat back, stunned, and his smirk broadened. “Don’t you want to congratulate me?”

“How did you rig that?”

Diggory’s expression hardened but his tone remained pleasant. “A little breast-beating…public involvement with good causes…. People love a reformed sinner. I won by a landslide. What does that tell you?”

Her tone was equally pleasant. “That cockroaches have more lives than cats.”

Diggory stopped smiling. “Now who’s being a poor loser?” He leaned so close, she could smell the garlic on his breath. “It tells you, missy, that you don’t get the last word.”

“Your wife left you, didn’t she?”

For a moment Kate saw violence in his eyes, then Diggory shrugged and stepped back. “I recommend the humble pie.”

He left and, under the table, Kate unclenched her fists. Her hands trembled slightly and she frowned, not wanting to give him another victory. He’d still be sitting on the backbenches for the rest of his parliamentary career. But she drummed her fingers on her knees in frustration.

As she brooded, her gaze fell on a mismatched couple across the courtyard. The woman, whose iron-gray hair was cropped short, addressed her younger male companion in a manner as crisp as the white blouse under her navy power suit.

Jordan King. His size, looks and silky blond hair, which fell extravagantly past his very broad shoulders, would have distinguished him in any crowd. But in this conservative stronghold he looked like a peacock among pigeons. Sprawling on a chair that seemed too small to hold him, in his well-worn suede jacket and faded denim shirt, conspicuously in need of an iron.

His powerful fingers toyed with the delicate filigree ironwork of an adjacent chair, the softness of his hair at odds with his profile—all strong lines and clean angles. Despite the fair hair, his skin was tanned the translucent brown of wild honey.

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