He could look...and this time he can touch!
Each year, Hong Kong's most kissable businessman Oliver Harmer allows himself one Christmas present: a lavish meal with off-limits Audrey Devaney. Keeping her at arm's length--quite literally!--is a battle of epic proportions for Oliver, but also an irresistible temptation. Until the year she doesn't come.
Now the rules have changed! Because, this Christmas, Audrey is single, and Oliver must decide if he will let her run away at midnight for good, or fight for her to stay until morning!
Reader Rating: Not rated (0 Ratings)
Sensuality Rating: Not rated
December 20th, four years ago
Qingting Restaurant, Hong Kong
Audrey Devaney flopped a gainst the back of the curved sofa and studied the pretty, oriental-style cards in her hands. Not the best hand in the world but when you were playing for M&M's and you tended to eat your stake as fast as it accumulated it was hard to take poker too seriously.
Though it was fun to pretend she knew what she was doing. Like some Vegas hotshot. And it wasn't too hard to imagine that the extraordinary view of Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour stretching out behind Oliver Harmer was really out of the window of some casino high-roller's room instead of a darkened, atmospheric restaurant festooned with pretty lanterns and baubles in rich, oriental colours.
Across from her, Oliver's five o'clock shadow was designer perfect and an ever-present, unlit cigar poked out of the corner of his grinning mouth--more gummed than smoked, out of respect for her and for the other patrons in the restaurant. It only felt as if he bought the whole place out each Christmas, it wasn't actually true. Though it was nice to imagine that they had the entire restaurant to themselves.
'Thank you, again, for the gift,' she murmured, letting the fringed silk ends of the cobalt scarf run between her fingers. 'It's stunning.'
'You're welcome. You should wear more blue.'
Audrey studied Oliver over her cards, wanting to ask but not entirely sure how to raise it. Maybe the best approach was the direct approach...
'You know, you look pretty good for a man whose wedding just fell through.'
'Good' as in well. Not 'good' as in gorgeous. Although, as always, the latter would certainly apply. All that dark hair, long lashes and tanned Australian skin.
He took his time considering his hand and then tossed three cards face down onto the ornate carved table. 'Dodged a bullet.'
That stopped her just as she might have discarded her own dud cards. 'Really? Last Christmas it was all about how Tiffany might be "the one".'
Not that she'd actually believed him at the time, but a year was the longest relationship she'd ever known him to have.
Maybe she was just in denial.
'Turns out there was more than one "one" for Tiffany.' The tiniest glimmer of hurt stained his eyes. Oh, no. 'Who called it off?' His answer came fast and sure. 'I did.'
Oliver Harmer was a perpetual bachelor. But he was also Shanghai's most prized perpetual bachelor and so she couldn't imagine the average woman he dated being too fast to throw away her luxury future.
But she knew from Blake how seriously Oliver felt about fidelity. Because of his philandering father. 'I'm so sorry.'
He shrugged. 'She was with someone when I met her; I was foolish to think that I'd get treated any different.'
Foolish perhaps, but he was only human to hope that he'd be special enough to change his girlfriend's ways. And if ever there was a man worth changing for... Audrey dropped two cards onto the table and Oliver flicked her two replacements from the top of the pack with confident efficiency before taking three of his own.
'What did she say when you confronted her?' she murmured.
'I didn't see any purpose in having it out,' he squeezed out past the cigar. 'I just cut her loose.'
Without an explanation? 'What if you were mistaken?'
The look he threw her would have withered his corporate opponents. 'I checked. I wasn't.'
'Checking' in Oliver's world probably meant expensive private surveillance. So no, he wouldn't have been wrong. 'Where is she now?'
He shrugged. 'Still on our...
His Until Midnight
By: Nikki Logan