Wife for a Week(10)

By: Kelly Hunter


‘No,’ he said, with a smile in his voice that curled her toes.

‘Cross-dresser?’

‘Nope.’

‘Have you been drinking?’

‘Nor am I drunk.’ Exasperation in his voice this time, giving her toes a chance to relax. ‘The way we present ourselves in Hong Kong is going to be important and I’m guessing there’s nothing in your wardrobe that’s suitable.’

‘Suitable how?’ she snapped as visions of tailored suits and pillbox hats floated through her mind. ‘You’re going to dress me up like Jackie Kennedy, aren’t you? You’re having make-over fantasies!’

‘I wasn’t until now.’ The smile was back in his voice—yep, there went her toes. ‘And I’m not thinking First Lady exactly, but we can’t have you looking like Marilyn Monroe either.’

She should have been insulted. Would have been except that this was a sex goddess he was comparing her to. ‘Who’s paying for these clothes?’

‘I am. Consider it a perk.’

‘I love this job,’ said Hallie. ‘I’m in. Two o’clock sharp at the jeweller’s. Oh, and, Nick?’

‘What?’

He sounded complacent. Indulgent. As if she’d reacted exactly as any good little plaything would. ‘Bring your mother.’



Hallie arrived at the jeweller’s at exactly two o’clock, only to find Nick and Clea waiting for her outside, Clea looking thoughtful, Nick looking just plain smug.

‘We got here a little early so we’ve already been in,’ said Nick. ‘Stuart’s given me some pieces on loan. I’m sure you’ll like them.’

‘What do you mean you’re sure I’ll like them? You mean I don’t even get to go into the shop and ogle the pieces for myself?’ Hallie stared at him, aghast. Surely he was kidding. ‘Don’t you need to measure my ring size or something? I mean, what if the rings you’ve chosen don’t fit?’

‘Here, dear, try this on.’ Clea handed her one of her own rings, a wide band of square-cut diamonds set in platinum. ‘We used this one for size. I usually have a good eye for these things.’

Hallie slipped the band on her wedding-ring finger and stared at it in dismay. It was a perfect fit.

‘Does it fit?’ asked Nick, all solicitousness. ‘It looks like it fits.’

‘Sadist,’ she retaliated, handing the ring back to Clea, and, with one last lingering glance through the doors of one of London’s landmark jewellery stores, she turned away.

‘Did you get the week off work?’ Nick asked her.

‘Yes. The owner’s niece is going to fill in for me,’ said Hallie, recalling the conversation she’d had with her employer earlier that morning. No need to tell Nick that if the niece liked the job, she was out of one. If everything went to plan she wouldn’t need the job anyway.

‘What about your brother? The one you’re staying with. Does he know you’re going to Hong Kong?’

‘Not yet. It turns out he’s also going to be away next week. I’ll leave him a note.’

‘That’ll go down well,’ muttered Nick.

‘It’ll be fine.’ Hallie smiled brightly. ‘So where to now?’

Ten minutes later they were standing outside one of the most exclusive clothing boutiques in Knightsbridge. ‘Are we sure about this?’ said Hallie hesitantly. Buying an outfit or two from a mid-range clothing store was one thing; dropping a bundle on a week’s worth of designer clothes was quite another. ‘I’m all for being well dressed, but do we really need to shop somewhere quite this exclusive?’

‘Don’t worry, dear,’ said Clea. ‘I get a very good discount here.’

‘You want to hope so,’ Hallie muttered to Nick as she stared at the sophisticated power suit in the display window. ‘I think it only fair to warn you that I still have nightmares about the first time my brothers took me shopping for clothes. Pinafore dresses that came to my ankles. Sweaters up to my chin. Wide-brimmed straw hats…’

‘And very sensible too, dear, those hats, what with the harsh Australian sun and your skin type,’ said Clea.

Hallie groaned. And here she’d been hoping that Clea would be an ally when it came to clothes. ‘My point is I battled for years for the right to choose my own clothes, and I’m not about to relinquish it now.’ She pointed a stern finger at Nick. ‘You can tell me what kind of look you’re after, but I won’t have you choosing clothes for me. Are we clear on that?’