Page 16 of Wife in Public

One way or another, he’d have what he wanted!

CHAPTER EIGHT

IVY kept telling herself she’d been absolutely right to get out of Jordan Powell’s life, but her body was still fired up by the memory of him, and it was quite impossible to get him out of her head. Being home on the farm didn’t really help. She couldn’t stop imagining how it might have been if she’d spent the weekend with him in his beautiful Balmoral home.

It was a hot morning and shaping up to be an even hotter day. A quick dip in his gorgeous swimming pool would have been lovely, not to mention…

The ringing of the telephone was a welcome distraction. She dived on the receiver, hoping the caller would ground her in real life again. No such luck! It was her mother, who instantly recalled everything about last night.

‘Ivy, I’ve just had Jordan Powell on the line.’

Her heart kicked into overdrive. ‘What did he want?’ she asked, her voice uncharacteristically shrill. With fear or excitement?

‘Well, I thought it was rather odd. You did go out with him last night and you looked as though you were enjoying his company, but since you obviously didn’t give him your address…was that an oversight, dear, or don’t you want to see him again?’

A bomb of anxiety exploded in her mind. ‘Did you tell him where I lived?’

‘No. He was very charming. Always is. But I thought I’d better check with you first.’

Relief poured through Ivy. She didn’t have to face Jordan again, didn’t have to battle against her attraction to him. Her decision to leave had definitely been right and it was much easier to hold on to it from a distance. This call proved how shaky her resolution could be, given his immediate presence.

‘I’m glad you did,’ she said in a calmer tone. ‘He’s not for me. Good for a night out, but I’d rather leave it there.’

‘Are you sure, dear?’

‘I’m sure. Thank you for protecting my privacy. I really appreciate it. And congratulations on the show. Lots of sales last night.’

‘Yes. Very gratifying. And it was lovely to see you looking so stunning, Ivy. Living right up to your full potential. I felt so proud of you.’

It was a nice feeling to have pleased her mother. Ivy relaxed enough to smile as she remarked, ‘Well, I didn’t want to let you down again and it felt really good when Henry’s jaw dropped at seeing me. He’s such a snob!’

‘But he’s very adept at wooing the right crowd at his gallery, dear, bringing in people with the money to buy. It’s a pity I have to disappoint a good client like Jordan Powell…’ She sighed. ‘Are you absolutely certain you wouldn’t like to see him again, Ivy?’

‘Yes, I am. I don’t fit into his kind of life and he wouldn’t fit into mine. End of story,’ she said emphatically, ignoring the flutters in her stomach and forcefully remembering the way Jordan’s housekeeper had checked her over—the latest candidate for her employer’s bed.

‘Well, in that case, my lips are sealed. Such a shame!’ Sacha muttered and disconnected.

By Monday morning Ivy was more settled into the idea that her night with Jordan was a one-off experience which she could look back on with pleasure and no regrets. Heather, of course, wanted to know everything, the moment she swept into the office.

‘Did he zero in on you?’

‘Yes, he did,’ Ivy answered, and even managed to smile at her friend’s whoop of triumphant excitement.

‘Tell me all!’ Heather demanded.

Ivy confessed that she had succumbed to the temptation of enjoying Jordan’s company at the gallery and described the follow-up dinner date in great detail, much to Heather’s salacious enjoyment.

‘And then? Did you go and look at his paintings?’

‘Some of them,’ Ivy teased. No way was she going to confide what actually led to the trip to Balmoral! Some things were too intensely private.

‘If you came straight home after that, I’ll kill you!’ Heather ranted. ‘I want to know if he’s a fantastic lover.’

Ivy laughed, needing to keep the whole episode light and unimportant. ‘He is. I’d have to say he’s very, very good at sex. I’m glad I stayed the night.’

‘Only the one night?’

‘That was enough, Heather. You know he’s a playboy. I left while he was still asleep and ran into his housekeeper on my way out. If you’d seen the way she looked at me…’

‘Another notch on his bedpost?’ Heather interpreted with a sympathetic grimace.

‘It didn’t feel good. I was glad I skipped out when I did.’

‘Fair enough!’ Heather grinned. ‘Marvellous that he was great in bed, though. I think you needed to be taken down from the shelf and dusted off. Hopefully it will get you more interested in looking for some real action in your life.’

‘I shall hope for it,’ Ivy replied, grateful that Heather had already relegated the experience with Jordan Powell to the realm of fantasy. Where it belonged. ‘Now let’s get down to work.’

Occasionally, throughout the day, Heather questioned her further, but it was mainly curiosity about the Balmoral house, what Ivy had seen of it, nothing really personal. Orders for roses came in. The courier was loaded up and sent to the designated addresses. By late afternoon, Ivy was satisfied that her brief encounter with Jordan Powell had been dealt with and would quickly slip into the past. A memory. Nothing more.

Until he struck again!

‘Uh-oh!’ Heather muttered and swung her computer chair around to face Ivy, rolling her eyes for dramatic effect. ‘You’re not going to like this!’

‘What?’

‘Jordan Powell is ordering roses and double chocolate fudge to go to your mother.’

‘My mother!’

‘With a message attached. For you, Ivy.’

For one gut-twisting moment, she thought he knew the rose farm was hers.

‘It says… “Please tell Ivy…”’

No, he was still trying to get to her through her mother!

The relief was so intense she didn’t hear what the message was.

‘Say that again, Heather?’

‘“Please tell Ivy I need to talk to her. I’ll be at the Bacio Coffee Shop under the clock in the Queen Victoria building between noon and two o’clock on Saturday and Sunday. I’ll wait until she comes.”’

He wanted a face-to-face meeting, counting on his charm to win her over to what he wanted. She wasn’t going to risk it. No way! She might fall victim to it again.

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