No Longer A Dream. Carole Mortimer

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Название No Longer A Dream
Автор произведения Carole Mortimer
Жанр Современные любовные романы
Серия
Издательство Современные любовные романы
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hastily shut the bathroom door before his talk of grilled food made her physically ill. How could this have happened to her? She had come to the party last night in all innocence. Admittedly it was a little wilder than she had anticipated, the majority of the guests appearing to be around the nineteen or twenty mark as their young host was. She hadn't particularly liked that cynical young man from the beginning, and she had a fair idea that he had been the one who had doctored her drinks, seeming to dislike her as much as she disliked him. When his father had appeared on the scene she didn't know, but he obviously had, and with the alcohol in her system she had gone to bed with him. Which was very strange, because usually she just passed out!

      She didn't believe she had made love with Caleb Steele, no matter what he said to the contrary!

      She turned straight round and marched back into the bedroom, no longer caring that she wore only the draped sheet. ‘You're a lying, rotten, lousy—–’ She broke off as she realised Caleb Steele was no longer alone, that an older man had joined him, a well-dressed pleasant-faced man who appeared to be taking instructions when she entered the room. And from the cursory glance he gave in her direction, the blue eyes completely devoid of emotion, he found nothing unusual in seeing a sheet-wrapped woman walking about his employer's bedroom suite!

      Black eyes met her stormy green ones with icy disdain. And then Caleb Steele turned away and resumed his business discussion with the man at his side.

      Cat couldn't believe it, had never been dismissed in such a way before! It was just as if she were of no importance at all. She drew in an angry breath. ‘I said—–'

      ‘I heard you.’ His head snapped up. ‘It may have escaped your notice,’ he drawled with heavy sarcasm, ‘but I'm busy right now.'

      Busy! He was busy. She was trying to regain her self-respect and he was busy! It may be clichéd, but who the hell did he think he was! The answer to that was all too obvious, but who he was and the amount of money he was worth, didn't much matter to her at this moment. Who she was, and the amount of money she wasn't worth didn't mean Caleb Steele could dismiss her like an old shirt! If he treated all of his women in this way it was no wonder his affairs didn't last.

      ‘You may be busy, Mr Steele—–’ her chin rose challengingly when his associate at last showed surprise—at her formality with the man who's bedroom she stood almost naked in. It was the erroneous impression her appearance gave that made her carry on in spite of the cold anger emitting from Caleb Steele. ‘But I want to talk to you. Now,’ she added firmly as she guessed he was about to dismiss her a second time. ‘Unless you would care to discuss what happened in that bed last night in front of an audience?'

      The man at his side gave a choked sound, somewhere between a cough and a laugh, beginning to cough in earnest as that coal-black gaze was suddenly riveted on him.

      ‘You sound bad, Norm,’ his employer grated with icy insincerity. ‘Why don't you go and get yourself a cup of coffee and we'll continue with this later. When you're feeling better.’ The last was added threateningly.

      ‘Sure.’ The other man spoke for the first time, American like his employer. ‘I—er—nice to have met you, Miss—er—–'

      ‘Cat,’ Caleb Steele put in icily before she could make any reply. ‘And believe me,’ he drawled suggestively, ‘she more than lives up to her name!’ He flexed his shoulders as if something there pained him.

      Like claw marks, from a cat! And she knew damn well that except for that fine covering of dark hair his back was smooth and unmarked.

      A speculative light entered the man Norm's eyes. ‘Perhaps we'll meet again, Cat,’ he murmured in a somewhat puzzled voice, as if for once he were surprised at his employer's choice of a bed-partner.

      ‘I doubt that,’ she answered him but looked at Caleb Steele. ‘I wound to kill!'

      ‘Yes. Well,’ the older man looked flustered now, ‘I'll talk to you later, Caleb.’ He made a hasty exit before he was caught in the verbal war that seemed to be taking place in the bedroom.

      Caleb Steele looked at her with expressionless black eyes. ‘And just how do you intend to wound me, Catherine Howard?’ he challenged in a softly threatening voice.

      Her eyes flashed. ‘If I had any sense I'd stab you in the back the way my namesake should have done Henry the Eighth! You're as lying and deceitful as he ever was!’ She tossed back her mane of golden hair.

      ‘I am?'

      Steel encased in velvet. There was no other way to describe that softly spoken threat. But she wasn't about to be intimidated by him; he had lied to her and he was going to admit it. ‘I didn't make love with you in that bed,’ she pointed to it angrily. ‘Or anywhere else last night!'

      Dark brows rose. ‘You didn't?’ he drawled.

      ‘You know I didn't.’ Her eyes flashed. ‘I always pass out. I don't—don't—–'

      ‘Leap into bed with men you don't know,’ he finished coldly. ‘Then how did you wake up in my bed this morning?'

      Delicate colour darkened her cheeks. ‘I don't believe you slept in it. I also don't remember you being at the party last night. I can't remember seeing you there, and—–'

      ‘I arrived late,’ he bit out, as if he were tired of the whole conversation. ‘And I did sleep in that bed last night. Next to you.'

      She swallowed hard, knowing by the flat uninterested tone of his voice that he didn't lie. But she always passed out!

      Her distress must have shown in her face, because something like compassion flickered in his eyes. ‘Cat—–'

      ‘I'm sorry,’ she bit out jerkily, swinging away, needing to escape back to the sanctuary of the bathroom. ‘I was rude to you just now in front of an employee.’ She couldn't think straight, needed to be alone away from the tumbled intimacy of this bedroom so that she could try to piece together the events of last night, try to make some sense of it in her own mind. ‘I—I'll apologise later if you would like me to. I—I'll go and take my shower now—–'

      ‘Cat!'

      Again she ignored the steely command in his voice, running into the bathroom, locking the door behind her this time before collapsing back against it.

      If only she could remember, if only she knew what had happened last night to make her want to make love to Caleb Steele. She couldn't believe she had wanted to make love with him; she didn't even like the man.

      What had Vikki said to her before she left for the party last night, ‘Be good'? And then they had both come back with the rejoinder about ‘being careful’ before Cat had laughingly taken her leave. She had no idea whether she had been ‘good', but careful she certainly hadn't been.

      How could she have taken Caleb Steele as her lover when she belonged heart and soul to Harry?

       CHAPTER TWO

      SHE had been so buoyed up the evening before as she got ready for the party, overjoyed at the prospect of finally meeting Caleb Steele after weeks of writing for an interview to his London office and home when her publisher had told her he was the only way she would ever be able to speak to his father, the reclusive author Lucien Steele.

      The series of articles she had done the year before on Hollywood marriages had proved to be a tremendous success, a publishing company approaching her about doing a book on the subject, with the condition that she covered four marriages of their choice, the rest being left to her discretion. Unfortunately, one of the marriages the publishing company had chosen had been that of Lucien Steele and the late Sonia Harrison. Of course, Cat could have gone ahead and written the chapter on this golden couple of the Hollywood of the forties without talking to Lucien Steele, but she hadn't wanted to do that. But to actually arrange an interview with him had proved more difficult than she had imagined, the now elderly man having disappeared from the Hollywood scene thirty years ago after the tragic death of his wife in a fire that had destroyed their mansion house, and absenting himself from London