The VIA Rail train pulled out of the Ottawa station, smoothly and silently. Most of the passengers in the Business Class car settled comfortably into their roomy seats and looked forward to being pampered on their four-hour journey to Toronto.
Kenzie MacRae breathed a little sigh of envy as she looked at her fellow passengers as they picked up magazines, chatted with companions, or leaned back with closed eyes.
This wasn’t a pleasure trip for her. Her boss had phoned the night before and asked, no ordered her to be a meeting in Toronto the next day. Harry had obviously had another of his brilliant ideas and she knew it would mean extra work for her.
She snapped open her laptop and checked her schedule. Damn. That illustration for Monique Sheridan’s latest was due in three days time, and she hadn’t even started.
“Would you like coffee or tea, Miss? We’ll be serving a hot breakfast in about ten minutes.”
“Coffee, black,” she said without looking up.
“Hope you enjoy your trip, Miss,” the steward said, handing her the hot drink.
“I doubt it,” Kenzie muttered.
From across the aisle she heard a distinct laugh. She looked over at the man facing her. He was grinning boldly and she gave him a glare in return.
She felt her cheeks warm angrily and was about to tell him to mind his own business, but swallowed her remark when he picked up a novel and began to read. He sat alone in his seat and stretched his long legs out in front of him, apparently engrossed in his book.
For the first time since Harry’s call, Kenzie began to smile. Here was a man who could help her with one of her problems, and he’d never even know it.
She took an inventory – purely from a business point of view – of his physical assets. Dark hair, blue eyes, broad shoulders, and definitely in need of a shave. The close-fitting blue jeans and short-sleeved shirt revealed a muscular body that could drive women wild. Most women. Not Kenzie. She was immune, and she had seen the best of them, and with less on than this guy had.
Good looking men were her business. Well, painting them actually. For the covers of those impossibly romantic books so many women loved to read. And this guy was perfect. There would be a lot of female hearts racing when they picked up Monique’s new romance novel, “Pirate of Hearts.”
Kenzie knew just how to portray him, and couldn’t suppress a little chuckle of her own, as she reached over to get her drawing materials from her carry-on bag.
Twenty minutes later, the drawing was taking shape. With her watercolour pencils, she added a little colour to the picture and then sat back to admire it. There he stood on the deck of a Spanish galleon, shirt open to the waist, a sword in one hand, and one arm around a shapely woman with flowing golden hair. He was every woman’s fantasy. Every woman except Kenzie. She was immune.
“We make a great looking couple.” The voice was low and close to her ear.
Kenzie jumped. Oh, God. It was him!
“What do you mean we? That’s not me.”
“No, I guess not,” he said sarcastically. “Your eyes, your hair, your nose, even your dimple, but it’s not you.” He looked at her closely and grinned. “Now, in that business suit, and bent over like that I can’t tell for sure, but I think the body is yours, too.” He looked at the drawing of the woman in the low-cut gown. “Yes, they’re definitely your…”
“You’re disturbing me!”
“I’m flattered. But I think I often have that effect on women. Or so they tell me.”
“I didn’t mean it like that,” she sneered. “I’m trying to work. And it is not me in the drawing.”
The grin was back and the voice was lazy. “And here I was thinking that you were imagining the two of us together on the high seas fending off pirates.”
“Well, I wasn’t,” she snapped, “so don’t flatter yourself. I just put you…”
“So it is me. Well, that’s still quite an honour. I’ve had woman take my photo before, but this is the first time someone has gone so far as to…”
Kenzie sputtered, “Do you actually think I am doing this because I am attracted to you? I’m totally oblivious to your…your…to you.”
She looked into his eyes and swallowed hard. When had he slipped into the seat beside her? When had he stopped reading the paperback? When was she going to get control of the situation?
“Look,” she said, in what she considered was an even and patient voice, “I see men like you all the time. With me it’s purely business.”
He raised his eyebrows at that. “And just what is your business?”
She gritted her teeth. “My business is none of your business, but just to set the record straight…I’m an illustrator for Heavenly Romances Publishing. I do covers for the Romance of the Month.”
“Hey, wait a minute. Are you telling me that you want to put my face…”
“And body…” It was her turn to grin wickedly.
His eyes narrowed. “…and body…on the cover of a…”
“Romance novel…Yes, that’s about it. You’re just the type – women will sigh over you when they see you on the bookstands as they wait in the supermarket check-out line.”
He leaned closer. “And what about you? Do I make you sigh?”
Her colour rose again. “Of course not. I’m a professional. Your looks have no effect on me whatsoever. I’m immune.”
He picked up the drawing and looked at it closely. He shook his head. “You’re not immune. Not immune at all.”
Should I continue??? Thanks for reading and have a good day. – Maureen