After a few moments into the movie, she switched off the television. No use in wasting time watching a film that didn’t synchronize with the sound. Besides, she was distracted. She couldn’t stop thinking about Jude Beresford.
When they first met, she couldn’t stand him. He oozed a sensuality that was palpable. While it got her pulse going, it made her blood boil. She couldn’t stand men who knew that they were gorgeous and flaunted it. She was determined that she wasn’t going to fall for his charm or his looks. She had a visceral dislike of men like him.
So, when her friend Brooke brought him and his brother over to meet her, she was considerably cool toward him but very friendly toward Crispin. She ignored the fact that when they shook hands and his eyes met hers and his lips parted in a disarming smile, her heart skipped a beat. She wanted to leave him in no doubt that she was not taken in by him.
When she and Brooke were alone, her friend asked her, “What’s up with you ?” she asked. “You weren’t very friendly to Jude. He’s a really nice man once you get to know him.”
“He seems conceited to me,” she said, casting a look of disdain in his direction. “And it’s disgusting to see how women throw themselves at him.”
“You are wrong about him.”
“I don’t think so,” she insisted and her friend dropped it. It was no use arguing about it.
She couldn’t avoid seeing him. He was Brooke’s friend and she invited him to every event and social that she invited her to. She sincerely hoped that Brooke wasn’t trying to set them up. It was a waste of time. She was not interested in him. Not wanting to be rude, she would engage in conversations with him, though she always made it clear to him that she was not attracted to him. What that must do to his ego, she thought each time they were together, especially when she made a point of asking him about Crispin. She noticed that it nettled him.
Crispin was not at all like his older brother. He was fairly handsome but more reserved. There was no resemblance between the two men. Jude was tall, slender with jet black hair and dark brown eyes while Crispin was blond with green eyes and shorter. He was not as charming as Jude but she liked him. She felt safe and completely relaxed with him unlike Jude who troubled her more than she cared to admit.
Last night after having the dinner which Brooke had spent all day preparing, Deana went out onto the terrace, gazing at the twinkling lights of the city in the distance. Crispin joined her. “Deana, forgive me if I am being presumptuous,” he said, apologetically. “but how long are you and Jude going to pretend that you don’t like each other?”
His question startled her and for a moment, she was at a loss for words. Then, she said, “I can’t speak for him, but I’m not pretending.”
“I have seen the way you look at each other when you think no one is noticing. It’s obvious to me that you are attracted to each other. Don’t you think it’s time to stop playing games and admit how you feel to–?”
Just then, Jude came on to the terrace. Deana’s heart lurched. Their eyes met and then she rushed past him. Shortly after that, she went home.
Stirring herself from her reverie, she got up from the sofa and went to the window. It was early evening. She wondered if she should go for a walk. She could do with some fresh air. It would clear her mind. She turned away and was about to head to the washroom to freshen up when the doorbell rang.
She went to the door and peered through the keyhole, her eyes widening when she saw Jude standing there. At once, her heart started to pound. She was tempted to keep him standing out there but she opened the door, her eyes wary as they met his. “I didn’t expect to see you,” she said, unable to prevent her eyes from travelling over his tall frame. He looked incredible in the dark grey suit and the white shirt and tie. He must have just left his office or perhaps he was on his way out but for some reason, decided to stop by here first. She told herself that she didn’t care. She was going to wrap this up as quickly as possible and send him on his way.
“Perhaps you were expecting to see Crispin instead,” he said, his expression darkening. The glint in his eyes startled her.
“Why would I be expecting Crispin?” she asked, stepping aside so that he could go in. After she closed the door, she turned to face him. She could see the displeasure in his features. Then it dawned on her. “Do you think I am interested in Crispin?”
“Yes.” The word was like a hiss. “Every time we see each other you ask me about him. I get the impression that you would prefer his company over mine.”
“I like Crispin, yes, but—”
“I saw you with him last night on the terrace. As soon as I came you left. I asked him what you and he talked about but he didn’t tell me. He told me to speak to you. Tell me the truth, Deana, is there something going on between Crispin and you?”
She shook her head. “No,” she admitted. “There’s nothing between us.”
He raked his fingers through his hair in agitation. “Then, why were you always throwing him in my face, making me think that you preferred him to me.”
“I wanted to deflate your ego,” she told him. “You seemed conceited to me and I wanted to show you that I was not like one of those women who were literally throwing themselves at you.”
“You’re wrong about me, Deana. I’m not conceited. And I’m not interested in any woman except you.”
Now her heart was racing and she seemed to have trouble breathing. He had stepped closer to her, his eyes capturing hers and holding them prisoner. “You’re wasting your time if you think you can seduce me,” she said, sounding a bit breathless.
“I’m not trying to seduce you.”
She was pressed against the door as the space between them got smaller. “Then, what are you trying to do?” She wondered if the feelings that were churning inside her showed in her face. Did he detect the panic in her voice?
“I’m trying to show you how I feel,” he said softly. “How I’ve felt since the first time we met.” Before she could say another word, he lowered his head and kissed her.
Instead of pushing him away or clamping her lips together, she responded. Her defenses were completely gone. Resisting now was pointless. Try as she did, she could no longer deny that in spite of all her best efforts, she was hooked.