Every Girl’s Secret Fantasy by Robyn Grady

By SMW Staff

Certainly if she followed her list and found “Mr Right Now” she would be embarking on an intimate relationship with someone who may or may not be The One, but taking control of your fate was a far cry from agreeing to become another notch on some playboy’s bedpost. The latter scenario cut way too close to the mistake her mother had made, and had ultimately paid dearly for.

Her young daughter, too.

On the other hand…Pace was certainly amusing, and a bit of harmless teasing never hurt anyone.

“I guess it would be fun to find out,” she admitted, and when his blue eyes flashed added sweetly, “You’ll be the first to know if I change my mind.”

No smile this time. Rather, he stepped into her personal space and, when her neck tipped back, angled his head achingly close to hers. The heat of his body burrowed into her skin, making her tingle and feel entirely, dangerously out of her depth.

“Know what I love about you, Phoebe?” he growled in a low, entrancing voice that sent her heart and mind racing. “Your ability to avoid the unavoidable.”

Flames licked up her limbs, across her breasts, over and between her legs. Pace’s potency this minute was so close, so lethal, she could barely get enough air. Another few seconds—another inch or two—and his mouth would drop over hers. Time to get back on track, before the scrap of sanity she still possessed snapped and she surrendered completely.

Siphoning in a quiet breath, she slid one foot back— enough to put adequate distance between them and shortcircuit the sizzling connection.

“The desk manager said I’d find you out here.” She was thankful her voice wasn’t thick. “I’ve come to collect my car.”

A measure of light flickered back up in his darkened eyes before he relented and slowly drew away. With a languid stride, he headed for a row of lockers. Game over…for the moment.

“Ah, yes,” he said, stuffing the black T-shirt into a locker. “Your new 6 Series coupé. A contemporary beauty, with a world of simmering power just begging to be released.”

She grinned at his subtext as he flicked her a devilish look and retrieved a fresh white replacement. After he’d slipped the shirt over his head and covered his CinemaScope chest, she sussed out the shop. So where was the BMW? She checked her watch. The sponsorship agreement said five p.m.

“I have the right date, don’t I?”

“Don’t worry,” he told her. “We’re not reneging on our agreement. Along with the advertising dollars we spend with your network, the president of the company is eager to provide a Brodricks prestige vehicle for the star of Goldmar Productions’ latest ratings winner for personal use for one year.” But then he cocked his head and gave his ear a tug. “Unfortunately we learned late this afternoon we won’t have the car until Monday.”

Phoebe’s heart fell.

Perfect. Because of this deal she’d gone ahead and advertised her own early model car. It had gone to its new owners this morning. If she didn’t have the sponsorship vehicle, she was without wheels. No problem normally, but this weekend it mattered.

A lot.

She took her thumbnail from her mouth. “What time Monday?”

A half-serious line creased his brow. “Were you planning on taking an extended test drive this weekend?”

Something like that. “I need to get to my hometown tomorrow. It’s a speck on the map.” And a six-hour round trip from Sydney.

Her Aunt Meg was due back from her most recent overseas jaunt, and the home Phoebe had shared with her, from the time of her mother’s death until her big move to Sydney eight years ago, needed a small but crucial repair job.

Her aunt breezed through something like co-ordinating a two-month trek across Asia, yet suffered blatant uninterest in organising inconsequential domestic affairs—like avoiding frostbite when the temperature plummeted below zero. The town’s only worthwhile handyman was teed up to fit a replacement part in the house boiler tomorrow. The evening weather was already chilly. If she didn’t see to it before the real cold set in, no one would.

Pace had made himself comfortable, propped up against a nearby Alfa Romeo’s door, arms and ankles crossed. “No problem,” he said. “I’ll organise a loaner.”

“Really?” Phoebe sparked up. “Could I pick it up tomorrow, some time after noon?”

He winked. “Leave it with me.”

Problem solved and business concluded, she thanked the Brodricks representative for his time, then promptly turned for the wide garage door, which led to the offices and main exit.

“Hey, hold up a minute.”

At his call—mellow and embracing, like an offshore breeze on a summer’s day—Phoebe rotated back.

“Need a lift home?” he said, pushing off the car door. “Don’t like your chances of finding a cab this time of day.”

Butterflies were released in her stomach at the thought of sharing a ride—just the two of them, sitting close, completely alone. The idea made her insides contract with longing…

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