Part Three

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Kate walked rather inelegantly to the middle of the dance floor, then stood there waiting for him, aggression being the name of the game, the man, whose name she still didn’t know, was smiling as he strolled purposefully towards her, the eyes following her laced with humour.

When he finally reached her, he slid his arms around her pulling her close. Kate suddenly felt like she was drowning, everything overwhelmed her senses. He smelt divine, a light musky aftershave she couldn’t identify, and being tall her eyes were level with his mouth, those delicious plump lips that were a temptation all of their own.  Trying to swallow the lump in her throat, she dropped her head to look at the dark pinstripe lapel of his expensive looking suit, anything but his beautiful features and those all seeing eyes.

The band had been playing swing and soft jazz all evening, and as they sang ‘It Had to Be You’, she had to tolerate this man’s husky singing close to her ear. It was pure torture.

                “So why does dancing with a man you can barely look in the eye please your mother?” He finally broke the sexually charged intense atmosphere. “Hardly think a stranger would illicit that type of pleasure from a mother, especially a man like me!”

Kate didn’t answer, nor did she lift her eyes, until she asked him, “Who are you?”

The man’s mouth broke into a grin, “not sure I should tell you, I quite like being the anonymous stranger!” When she scowled, he offered, “I’m a friend of Brandon, Paula’s brother. He couldn’t make it, his wife is due to have a baby any second, but he asked me to come as I was in the country anyway. Kind of like representing him by proxy.”

                “You live in Dubai too?" 

She could hear the hope in her own voice and he laughed before replying. “Don’t so sound so pleased! I do, for most of the time.”

Safe. Distant, she’d never see him again were the three thoughts that echoed around her head. Letting him waltz them around the floor, she watched his interactions with the other people present and realised he was mature, educated and extremely charming. She hated that she admired him, found him fascinating, but she did. The wicked voice in her head kept telling her that she’d never see him again, that no one would ever know, that maybe this was an opportunity to throw all responsibility and caution to the wind.

Kate chastised herself silently, hating the fact that she could be this weak, that she was even contemplating reciprocating the attraction, the flirting that she was receiving from this stranger.

                “Why do I get the feeling that you are getting pleasure from that fact?”

Ignoring the question, she met his eyes again, “what’s your name? I don’t dance with complete strangers.”

He leaned back, a knowing smile spread across his lips, “I’ll tell you, if you promise to take a walk with me, I could do with some fresh air after this dance.”

Kate should have slapped his face, shouted at him for this emotional blackmail, but he was having a strange effect on him, suddenly she wanted to know more about him. In eight years she’d not looked at another man, never imagined any other hands touching her, lips kissing her, but this man, his beautiful features, the stunning smell wafting in her nostrils were having some sort of hypnotic influence on her.

Mason had not been so conniving and so dastardly since his childhood, but from the moment he had set eyes on her earlier in the day, he’d not really been conscious of thinking straight. Now he’d ‘persuaded’ her to go outside for what? He knew what he wanted to do, but bloody hell, hadn’t he learned that acting like this could get you into trouble. His enforced exile was testament to that, the last thing his mother wanted or needed was more scandal from him. His mind drifted to the woman he’d left at her home this morning, his tired and very downtrodden mother. He should’ve been here to lighten her load over the years, instead he was living it up in the Dubai. No, doing the wrong thing was definitely not on the agenda here. But then he acknowledged this Kate, beautiful, tall and as curvy as he appreciated a woman, and he knew he couldn’t resist her.

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