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Home > Promised (One Night #1)(15)

Promised (One Night #1)(15)
Author: Jodi Ellen Malpas

‘Yes!’ I breathe, completely exasperated. ‘I was really pissed off.’

‘Oh my God! I already love him.’ He stands and puts his hand out to pull me up. ‘I bet he’s completely taken by you, like most men on God’s green earth.’

Accepting his offer, I let him pull me to my feet. ‘They’re not.’ I sigh, reflecting on the brief words that we exchanged; on one line in particular: I’m quite fascinated by you, as well.

Does fascinated equal attracted?

‘Trust me, they are.’

I’m suddenly eager to spit it all out and see what Gregory makes of it. ‘I was a millimetre away from his lips.’

Gregory inhales sharply. ‘What do you mean?’ His back straightens, and he narrows his eyes on me. ‘Did you bottle it?’

‘No, I was the one pushing it.’ I’m not even ashamed. ‘He said he couldn’t and left me in the ladies’ feeling like a desperate idiot.’

‘Were you mad?’

‘Furious.’

‘Yes!’ His hands slap together, and I’m yanked into his embrace. ‘This is good. Tell me more.’

I spill the whole thing – the dropped champagne, Miller’s ‘business associate’, the way he approached me afterwards just to warn me off.

When I’m done, Gregory hums thoughtfully. It’s not the reaction I was expecting or that I wanted. ‘He’s a player. Not the right man for you, Livy. Forget about him.’

I’m shocked, and the quick removal of my body from his, coupled with the reproachful look on my face, tells him so. ‘Forget? Are you mad? The way he looks at me, Gregory – it makes me want to be looked at like that forever.’ I pause briefly. ‘By him.’

‘Oh dear, baby girl.’

I sigh. ‘I know.’

‘Distraction,’ he declares, looking down at my orange Converse. ‘What colour shall we buy today?’

My eyes light up. ‘I’ve seen some in sky-blue down on Carnaby Street.’

‘Sky-blue, eh?’ His arm slips around my shoulder and we start towards the Tube station. ‘Fancy that.’

Chapter 4

Sylvie and I are the last to leave the bistro. While Sylvie locks up, I cart the rubbish into the alley and dump it in the wheelie bin.

‘I’m going to have a long soak in the bath,’ Sylvie says, linking arms with me as we start wandering down the road. ‘With candles.’

‘You’re not going out tonight?’ I ask.

‘Nope. Mondays are shite, but Wednesday nights are bombing. You should come.’ Her brown eyes twinkle suggestively, but dull straight down when she clocks me shaking my head. ‘Why not?’

‘I don’t drink.’ We cross the road, dodging the evening rush-hour traffic, getting honked at for not using the pedestrian crossing.

‘Oh, f**k you!’ Sylvie shouts, drawing a million looks in our direction.

‘Sylvie!’ I yank her from the road, mortified.

She laughs and flips the driver a finger. ‘Why don’t you drink?’

‘I don’t trust myself.’ The words just fall from my lips, shocking me and clearly shocking Sylvie, because startled brown eyes swing to me . . . then she grins.

‘I think I might like drunken Livy.’

I scoff in disagreement. ‘That’s me.’ I point to the bus stop as I step into the road, ready to cross again.

‘See you tomorrow.’ She leans in to kiss my cheek, and we both jump when we’re honked at again. I ignore the impatient idiot, but Sylvie doesn’t.

‘For f**k’s sake! What is wrong with these people?’ she shouts. ‘We’re not even in the way of your fancy AMG, you Mercedes-driving ponce!’ She steps towards the car just as the passenger window starts to slip down. I feel road rage brewing. She leans in. ‘Learn to f**king dr—’ She halts her rant, her back straightening as she pulls away from the black Mercedes.

Curious, I lean down to find out what’s shut her up, my heart skipping too many beats when I register the driver.

‘Livy.’ Sylvie’s voice is barely heard over the rush of traffic and blurting of horns. She steps away from the roadside. ‘I think he may have been honking at you.’

I’m still partially bent as my eyes trail from Sylvie back to the car, where he’s sitting back, relaxed, with one hand draped casually on the steering wheel. ‘Get in,’ he orders shortly.

I know I’m getting in this car, so I don’t know why I look to Sylvie for guidance. She shakes her head. ‘Livy, I wouldn’t. You don’t know him.’

I return to vertical and my mouth opens to speak, but no words form. She’s right and I’m torn, my eyes swinging from the car to my new friend. I’m not careless or stupid – haven’t been for a long time – although every thought running through my mind right now is flooring that claim. I don’t know how long I stand there deliberating, but I’m distracted when the driver’s door of the Mercedes swings open and he strides around the car, clasping my elbow and opening the passenger door.

‘Hey!’ Sylvie tries to reclaim me. ‘What the hell do you think you’re doing?’

I’m pushed into the seat before he turns towards a stunned Sylvie. ‘I’m just going to talk to her.’ He takes a pen and paper from his inside pocket and scribbles something down before handing it to Sylvie. ‘That’s me. Ring the number.’

‘What?’ Sylvie snatches the paper from his hand and runs her eyes over it.

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