Savage Seduction(7)

By: Sharon Kendrick


Jade could not let that pass. ‘You think that I couldn’t possibly be a feminist because I haven’t got cropped hair and am not wearing dungarees?’

A light flared in his eyes. ‘But those are your words, Jade,’ he said softly. ‘Not mine. No, I made the comment because I could imagine you soft, and pliant, loving and giving. Very feminine, but not a feminist. There is a subtle difference, you know.’

Jade realised that she was letting him get away with statements she would have emphatically dis- agreed with if she’d been back at home in England. Persuasive kind of guy. She tried again. ‘But men being so dominant and assertive,’ she said, ‘it isn’t really the modern way.’

‘But I,’ he answered proudly, ‘am not a modern man. At heart all Greeks are ruled by the very same passions which have existed since the beginning of time.’

This was totally new, uncharted and terribly ex- citing territory, men talking quite openly of passion. Jade shivered.

‘But perhaps,’ he said deliberately, ‘you are not used to assertive men?’

Oh, but she was—she most certainly was! But there was a world of difference between the way all the men at her office behaved, and the way that Constantine was behaving. Her editor rode roughshod over all the staff. However, perhaps that was less like assertion, and more like bullying! Cer- tainly there was none of this man’s cool assurance in her boss’s behaviour.

‘Well, are you?’ he persisted.

She wasn’t used to men at all, not in the sense that he meant. Which was probably why she was responding in such a pathetic way towards this par- ticular man. Men had been deliberately put on ice until the career which had meant so much to her had had a chance to develop properly—the career which she was now thinking of chucking in because she was so disillusioned with it. A cynic already— and at the tender age of twenty!

She stared into the black eyes, blinked, then looked down at the thick fragments of glass which glittered by their feet. Mostly from a desire to steer the conversation away from her shameful lack of experience with the opposite sex, she began to turn away. ‘I’d better go and fetch a dustpan and brush’

‘No.’

There he went again, dishing out the orders! Jade stared up at him, half in anger, half in admiration, marvelling that it actually felt extraordinarily good to be around such a masterful man. Shame on her!

‘You put some covering on your finger. Go! I will deal with the glass.’

She found herself obeying him without question. In the tiny bedroom she found the box of Elastoplast she had brought with her from England, and, after removing the wrapping, she shakily ap- plied one to her thumb. She could hear him moving around in the kitchen, presumably looking for the dustpan and brush. She didn’t doubt for a moment that he’d find it!

She wondered fleetingly whether she had a touch of sunstroke. Surely normal women of her age didn’t allow half-clothed perfect strangers the run of their house? And yet, given the outstanding at- traction of the man, she didn’t feel in the least bit threatened. She examined her finger carefully. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. She felt a threat, all right, but it had absolutely nothing to do with thinking that he might be some mad axeman. It was more an interested kind of wondering just what would happen if she caught him in a judo stranglehold. That expressive little ‘whoosh’ sound he’d made… implying… mmmm…

She went outside to find him disposing of the last of the glass. It was strange to see such a self- proclaimed non-modern man doing it so com- petently, and yet to see Constantine brushing up the fragments of glass… it almost emphasised his masculinity, rather than detracting from it. Con- fusing, she thought fleetingly. He’d talked about the man assuming the dominant role, and had teased her about feminists, and yet he didn’t seem to mind lending a hand. Interesting.

As she appeared, he straightened up.

‘I will wrap it up tightly in newspaper,’ he in- structed. ‘So no more cut fingers.’

Jade nodded, acknowledging the perverse sinking of her heart. There was something of the farewell in the way he spoke. Surely he wasn’t going?

She ventured a smile. ‘You didn’t have your drink.’

‘No matter. It is time I was going.’

She had been right. ‘Yes.’ Disappointment crept through her veins like a debilitating drug.

‘I shall collect you at seven.’

‘Collect me?’ squeaked Jade, only keeping the excitement from her voice with the most monu- mental of efforts. ‘What for?’

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