Tiana was not surprised that she had started having cold feet.
She was standing the lobby of the country club, waiting for Jordan to arrive. And yet, she was also having this strong urge to dash out of the room before he appeared. What if this whole thing blew up in her face?
She understood that the concept of exchanging money for companionship could offend some people. But that didn’t bother her. No one would know that the man who would be coming to join her was actually a paid escort. She knew she’d be seated at a table of strangers at the reception dinner anyway.
What she was actually having were those blind date jitters - the suspense becoming too much to bear that you weren’t sure you could wait and face your fears. Would she feel attracted to him when she met him in person? Or would she discover that his profile was photo-shopped and he was not as hot, virile and stimulating as she’d been made to believe?
He was here.
She recognized him on sight. Not only because it was five thirty on the dot as they had arranged, and not even because he was wearing a dark suit and blue tie like he said he would be. No, she knew it was him because once he walked in the door, she recognized his bone-melting smile and his sizzling good looks that even that sexy photo hadn’t portrayed with proper justice.
He’d noticed her too, and she could have sworn he did a double-take when he caught sight of her. She may have only imagined it though, because his charming smile slipped back into place as he strode up to her.
“Nice necklace,” were the first words he said, his chin tipping to the strand of pearls she’d told him she would be wearing. She had to smile, equally tilting her head in response.
“Now that we’ve established identities,” she began, regaining her poise – and her heartbeat. Next, she was holding out a hand elegantly, as she added, “Why don’t you join me for a wedding?”
He shook hands firmly, and just from that brief yet warm contact, she felt it.
That wave of awareness she rarely ever felt but strongly recognized when it happened. That first, simple physical interaction that screamed out “chemistry” to a woman who understood why that was important.
It was important to Tiana, that was for sure. It was the reason she was currently single; the reason she’d dumped her last boyfriend. They’d never had it. And over time, it certainly hadn’t developed - which was what she had foolishly hoped. Also, no one she had met since then had been able to dredge up even a flash of it.
And yet, just now, with this perfect stranger, this totally gorgeous, virile-looking hunk of male, she had felt that definite force of electricity. It sent that long-forgotten shiver down her spine; doused her like a bowl of water, hitting her with the sudden wish that she could say, you know what, scrap this stupid wedding. Let’s just go off somewhere and ...
But she restrained herself, and smiled calmly enough as he finally withdrew his hand and tucked her arm into his. He hadn’t taken his eyes off her, and she hazarded a guess that he had maybe read her mind, from the way a pleased smile tilted those gorgeous lips of his. It was hardly possible, and yet, maybe it showed on her face that the boss’s wedding was the last thing on her mind right then.
But Tiana drew in one more calming breath, and strained to focus. This was business. An arrangement. She was paying good money for this, she reminded herself – and it was time Mr. Jordan began to earn every cent.