One Night with Morelli(6)

By: Kim Lawrence

‘Hello, Sabrina.’ She acknowledged the tall stranger from earlier with an unsmiling nod while she struggled against the effects of his brain-mushing charisma.

‘Eve, it’s so good to see you.’ Eve got a whiff of heavy perfume as the air either side of her face was kissed. ‘And perfect timing too. I can tell you in person…’ The dramatic pause stretched a little too long before her announcement. ‘I’m available.’

Eve always hated the feeling of walking into a conversation halfway through. Was she meant to know what the woman was talking about…?

Draco watched the expression on Eve’s face; it was clear she didn’t have a clue what the blonde was talking about. He fought a laugh with more success than he had fought the gut kick of lust he had no defence against when he had recognised the petite figure who, unless he was mistaken, had been about to make good an escape.

Draco wasn’t used to women who crossed the road to avoid him—they did the reverse occasionally—and he wondered what he’d done to make her look down her elegant little nose at him. His ego remained intact—it was pretty robust most of the time—but his interest was piqued. What would it take to melt that stern disapproval into uncritical adoration? He was setting his sights too high, he realised; he didn’t want adoration from her, just a smile. Although adoration might be nice after a long night getting to know her better…?

‘You are?’ Eve asked Sabrina.

‘Yes, but my agent said he is still waiting for a call back from your office about the new campaign…so-o-o exciting. He said something about you not using models this time.’ She rolled her eyes. ‘But I told him it’s obvious you think I’m still committed to the supermarket people, but the thing is I decided to call it a day with them as they were just going so down market and not the sort of thing I want to be associated with at all.’

‘Sorry, Sabrina, but I’ve been out of the country so the agency has been doing all the recruiting.’

‘But you’ll have the final say…right?’

Eve was tempted to say she’d be in touch but her innate sense of honesty won out. It would be unfair to string the other girl along. ‘Actually your agent had it right; we’re not using models, just real women…not that you’re not real, but you’re not ordinary. What I mean is—’

‘She means, Sabrina, that normal women can never aspire to looking like you do.’

Had anyone else made the intervention Eve might have felt grateful, but instead she found herself biting back a childish retort of Don’t tell me what I mean.

‘You’re so sweet.’ Sabrina pressed a soft kiss on his lean cheek.

Eve rolled her eyes and thought perleeze just as, above the model’s head, the dark eyes found her own. His sleek ebony brows lifted and he smiled, the sort of smile that she imagined a fox might produce when contemplating a defenceless chick.

Eve narrowed her eyes and lifted her chin in silent challenge. She was not defenceless or stupid enough to smile at a man who could flirt with one woman while another was kissing him!

As she pulled away the model’s complacent expression faded. ‘But isn’t that the idea? They all think if they buy the product they will look like me,’ she said, looking confused.

Eve heaved a sigh. She had neither the time nor the inclination to explain herself to this woman whom she ungenerously stigmatised as totally self-centred. Her eyes slid of their own volition to her tall, arrogant companion…not a case of opposites attracting in their case, she decided waspishly, but like meeting like. ‘Sorry, but I must run…lovely to bump into you…’ She could hear the insincerity in her voice but didn’t hang around to see if anyone else had. Head down, she headed for the entrance to the underground car park.

The brief encounter had left her feeling… She laughed, the sound echoing around the concrete shell, and shook her head. If there was ever a moment when she was allowed to feel weird it was today! Ignoring the fact her hand was still shaking, she fished her key ring out of her bag.

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