Hot Westmoreland Nights(59)

By: Brenda Jackson


She stared at him, saw the hard, cold look in his eyes and knew it was too late. She cleared her throat. “I saw you last month in downtown Denver, going into a feed store. I thought then that you would be perfect.”

“Perfect for what?” he almost asked in a snarl.

She swallowed deeply. “To be on the cover of Simply Irresistible magazine.”

She watched the expression on his face as the implications of what she’d said became clear. “Do you mean to tell me that you work for that magazine?”

She shook her head. “Not exactly.”

His eyes narrowed. “Then what exactly?”

She nibbled on her bottom lip. “I don’t work there exactly. I own the magazine.”

The next thing Chloe thought was that if looks could kill, she would definitely be dead…but not before getting sheared first. She watched Ramsey’s lips tighten, his jaw clench and the eyes that glared at her appeared to be dark orbs. “And just what were you doing here that morning?”

“I had come to talk to you about being featured in my magazine,” she answered.

“Why?” he said in a tone so sharp it almost made her flinch. “I’d told the person who called I wasn’t interested.”

“I know, but I wanted to meet with you personally. Try to persuade you to change your mind.”

He shook his head. “So instead you decided to pretend to be my cook and sleep with me?”

She did flinch at that. “No. That’s not true. I tried to tell you the reason I was here, but you were in a hurry to leave that morning and you left me here with your front door wide open.”

“Because I assumed you were the cook,” he snapped.

“I never told you I was the cook, Ramsey. And you assumed wrong. Once I walked inside your house, the phone rang. It was the lady from the employment agency who said that the cook you were expecting wouldn’t be coming. I could have left you in a hot mess, especially after you indicated you would have twenty hungry men to feed come lunchtime. But I decided to help you out.”

“Why? So I could feel I owed you something and do that damn cover?”

“Initially, yes. I’d even planned to squeeze an interview out of you as well.”

She could tell her answer, as honest as it could get, only made him angrier. She saw it in his features to such a point where she actually felt her heart in her throat. “But like I said, that was at first, Ramsey. Once I got to know you—”

“Spare me. Lady, you have some nerve. Pretending to be someone else and—”

“And what? Helped you out for two weeks? I tried to tell you the truth a few days ago, but you wouldn’t listen. You said we would put off any serious talk until today. So you can’t hold that against me.”

Ramsey snorted at that and the scowl on his face deepened. “I can hold it against you and I do. You should never have been here under false pretenses in the first place. As far as having a cook, I would have worked something out. You didn’t need to do me any favors. And regardless of what you did for me, I still would not have posed on the cover of that magazine, so your plan wouldn’t work.”

“Once I got to know you, Ramsey, the cover didn’t matter anymore,” she implored, thinking she had never met a more bull-headed man.

“And you expect me to believe that?” he asked in an angry tone.

“Yes.”

“Is there anything else you’ve failed to tell me?”

She shrugged. “My father is a senator from Florida. Senator Jamison Burton. My mother died when I was two and my father raised me by himself. My home is in Florida.”

Ramsey stared at her, not believing what little he’d known about her.

“And the reason I could not deceive you any longer, the reason I wanted to tell you the truth that day after we’d made love was because I knew I was falling in love with you.”

He stared at her for a long moment. “If being dishonest is your idea of falling in love, Chloe, then you need to keep your love to yourself because I don’t want any part of it.”

He breathed in deeply and grabbed his Stetson off the rack. “I’m leaving and I want you packed up and out of here by the time I get back.”