Wife for a Week(6)

By: Kelly Hunter


‘All of that,’ he said.

Hallie Bennett leaned back in her chair and regarded him steadily. ‘That’s a lot of lies, Nick. Why don’t you just tell your distributor the truth? Maybe he’ll understand.’

‘Maybe.’ Nick didn’t have a good enough measure of the man to know. When it came to business, John Tey was cutthroat sharp. When it came to his daughter, the man was putty. ‘As far as I can see, John Tey gives his daughter everything she wants.’

‘I was raised by my father and four older brothers,’ countered Hallie. ‘Trust me, giving her what she wants won’t apply to men.’

She had a point.

‘Unless, of course, your distributor decides that marrying his daughter off to you makes good business sense.’

‘Exactly. I can’t risk it.’ He didn’t want to marry Jasmine. He didn’t want to marry anyone just yet. And then the bulk of her earlier remarks about her family registered. ‘Four older brothers, you said.’

‘Not you too.’ Her voice was rich with feminine disdain. ‘Would it help if I told you they were all pacifists?’

‘Is it true?’ he asked hopefully.

‘No. But we were talking about you.’

‘You’re right. I need a wife for a week. Will you do it?’ Nick waited as the waiter set their meals in front of them. Waited while she thanked the man, reached for her napkin and set it across her lap, her features relaxed, her expression noncommittal. She was more than he remembered from the shop. More vibrant. More thoughtful. Four brothers.

‘I’d need to know more about you than I do now,’ she said finally.

‘I’ll send you a fact file.’

‘I’m not a fact-file person.’

Why was he not surprised?

‘No,’ she continued. ‘I’m more of a hands-on person. You’re going to have to show me where you live, where you work and what it is you do all day. That kind of thing.’

Nick groaned.

‘You can send me the fact file as well,’ she said with a placating smile. ‘I don’t suppose it can hurt. And we’re going to need some rules.’

‘What sort of rules?’ He wasn’t very good with rules. Probably not worth mentioning.

‘I want physical contact limited to public places,’ she said firmly.

‘No problem.’ His lips twitched.

‘And only when we have an audience.’

‘You’re absolutely right.’ At this rate she’d get through every sexual fantasy on his list before dessert. ‘What else?’

‘I’ll follow your lead but only within reason. I won’t be a simpering “yes” wife.’

‘But you will simper a little?’

Her chin came up; her eyes flashed warningly. ‘Can’t see it happening.’

‘Okay, I can see that simpering might be a stretch for you. Forget the simpering.’ He wouldn’t. ‘Can you do possessive?’

‘That I can do,’ she said. ‘You want the whole hands-off-my-man, slapping routine?’

‘No slapping,’ he said. ‘Ladies don’t slap.’

‘You never said anything about being a lady.’

Fantasy number three. Damn she was good.

‘Oh, and there’s one more thing…’

‘There is?’ Every man had his limits and Nick had just reached his. His brain fogged, his blood headed south and he was thinking leather, possibly handcuffs, although where he was going to get handcuffs from was anyone’s guess. Silk, then. No problem finding silk in Hong Kong.

‘Earth calling Nick?’ said Hallie in exasperation. She’d seen that glazed look before. Knew that Nick Cooper was definitely not thinking business. Men! They could never multitask. ‘Nick! Can you hear me?’

‘Oh, I’m listening.’

He had the damnedest voice. The laziest smile. But this was a business arrangement. Business, no matter how tempting it was to think otherwise. ‘My return ticket stays with me.’





CHAPTER TWO




HALLIE couldn’t quite remember whose idea it had been to tour Nick’s workplace after dinner, only that it had seemed a sensible suggestion at the time. Business, she reminded herself as they stepped from the restaurant out into the cool night air and he slipped his jacket around her shoulders. Strictly business, as she snuggled down into the warmth of his coat and breathed in the rich, masculine scent of him. The fact that his chivalrous gesture made her feel feminine and desirable was irrelevant. So was the fact that he was quirky and charming and thoroughly good company. This wasn’t a date, not a real one. This was business.