Title: Pretty Hot
Series: The Pretty Trilogy #1
Author: Donna Alam
Hosted by:Francessca’s Romance Reviews
A charming playboy. A girl on the run from love. An exotic location where the weather isn’t the only thing that’s hot.
Kate Saunders is sure of only one thing as her flight to her new life lands in Dubai: short of joining a convent, her new job teaching at a conservative all-female school is just what she needs. Until she meets Kai, that is.
Cultured and worldly, Kai lives a life of wealth and privilege where he always gets what he wants. And what he wants next is Kate. He’s determined their relationship is only going one place: his bed.
The road to hell may be paved with good intentions, but it’s also littered with underwear when Kate struggles to resist his sweet, filthy mouth. Talented of tongue he may be, but he’s also not quite who seems to be. Kate’s life is about to take a turn for the complicated, making the one she left behind look easy.
‘Well, when eight-year-olds make you feel small, heels are the only answer,’ I retort. ‘And I like nice shoes.’
Lazily pushing himself from the door surround, he saunters to my desk set at the front of the room. Almost lounging against it, he stretches his long legs out in front. Each facing the opposite direction, we’re shoulder to shoulder and almost touching as an electrical force dances in the air. I’ve never been more grateful for the curtain of my hair as he leans in, leans closer, then peers exaggeratedly down at my feet, his voice seeming to drop a full octave.
‘You most certainly do.’
Grabbing papers from my desk, I continue shoving them into my bag in an effort to avoid acknowledging the large, hot presence at my side. ‘Is this a social call or are you actually here for something?’ My tone could be described as arsey at best.
‘Pleasure, definitely.’ I think he’s still staring at my shoes, though I’m fairly certain it’s not a covetous thing. ‘I’m here to call in a debt.’
‘Oh?’ Pushing my hair behind my ears, my eyes rise in enquiry. He’s an accountant then?
‘Your rain-check. I’m here to take you for coffee.’
‘That’s correct. A word of two syllables. A social lubricant.’
I swallow, hopefully not audibly. ‘With you?’
‘You’re enthusiasm knows no bounds,’ he replies in a tone as dry as toast.
‘But that’s . . . that’s not a debt.’
‘A promise is most certainly a debt,’ he teases warmly. But there’s something else there in his words, an undercurrent of steel causing goose bumps to break out across my arms. A man who’s unused to being turned down.
‘I didn’t promise.’ Eyes down, I continue my bag filling quest. ‘And I really don’t think it would be a good idea.’
‘The promise was definitely implied.’
‘I think you’ll find it was inferred,’ I reply with a snort. Great. So now I snort.
‘And,’ he adds, ignoring me, ‘you seem far too nice a person to hurt my feelings. As for it being a good idea, how do you know without trying?’
‘I don’t think I need to try you.’ I wish I could swallow the words at once; press rewind, suck them back in.
‘I come with a satisfaction guarantee.’
‘That’s not what I mean,’ I add quickly.
‘Just coffee,’ he replies, now sounding sincere. ‘Nothing nefarious. I promise.’
‘Sorry. Like I said, I’m busy. Flat out.’
‘Interesting choice of words. But busy . . . sharpening . . . copious amounts of pencils?’ Lifting the almost industrial sized electric sharpener out of my hands, he turns it in his own. It’s about then that I notice the almost bare surface of my desk. ‘A serious business, I’m sure.’
As I raise my head, his gaze hits mine, serious eyes staring down. I’ve suddenly run out of words, every beat of my heart pounding so hard, it has to be audible.
Placing the sharpener back, he stands.
‘I’ll even carry your bag.’
‘You’re pretty full of yourself.’
Smiling lopsidedly, his eyes travel the length of my body again. ‘You know what they say, one minute a cock.’
‘And the next just a bit of a dick,’ I mutter.
‘Ouch.’ He laughs softly, rubbing a hand across his delightfully stubbled chin. ‘I believe the aphorism goes, and the next a feather duster . . .’ He sounds almost hurt as his words trail away.
Oh, bugger. So much for not mistaking his intent. ‘I didn’t mean—’
‘To injure my pride?’ His tone matches a perfectly arched brow.
‘No! Of course not. I don’t even know you, I wouldn’t presume—’
‘You can tell me how sorry you are over that drink.’
Not that upset, then. ‘I told you, I can’t. Coffee or otherwise.’
‘Can’t or won’t?’
‘Does it matter?’ I ask, exasperation and my hands rising before me.
‘Boyfriend, girlfriend? Significant other?’
‘Girl? What, because I’m not interested, I’m gay?’ My face burns and all I can think is what says gay about me today? Surely this isn’t the right response.
‘I didn’t say you weren’t interested. Reluctant, but interested,’ he asserts, masking a smile. ‘Are you seeing anyone?’
‘I don’t see what it has to do with you.’
‘Obstacles, Kate,’ he says suddenly serious. Like an egg and spoon race or the one in the sack? No, the one with the sack! ‘I like to know where I stand.’
‘Why should I be interested in where you hang? Stand! I mean stand.’ My eyes flick involuntarily to where they shouldn’t before darting away. Interested, so interested but reluctant, he got that right.
‘To the left, if you feel you must know, and slightly—’
‘Is this how you talk to women you barely know?’ Talk about degeneration.
‘I think you must be a bad influence.’
‘And I think you must be delusional,’ I retort, straightening my blouse.
‘Because I’m back to being a prick, it seems.’
He exhales audibly, ruffling a hand through his gorgeous hair, not that I noticed at all. As he falls silent, I tip my head to peer at him, fascinated by the conflicting emotions playing and fading across his face: exasperation, annoyance and eventually, a hesitant sort of confusion.
‘What have you got to lose?’
Dignity? Pride? Undies?
His hand rises quite suddenly between us as he runs the tip of one finger against my face. He’s so close that for a mad moment, I think he’s going to kiss me, my breath halting as desire, swift and treacherous, blooms inside. He’s going to kiss me and I think I’m going to let him. Then his hand lowers, sort of hesitantly, before plucking one of the humiliatingly many pencils sticking from the top of my bag. He begins to write on my yellow notepad, the only item left on my desk. As pen touches paper, his finger sparkles in the light, sprinkled with glitter.
‘My number,’ he murmurs, placing the folded paper in my hand. ‘Think about it. You owe me for saving you, at least.’
‘Why do I feel you’re not going to leave me alone until I say yes?’ My voice is soft, lacking in strength and conviction as I stare at the folded note.
‘Because you’re a very astute judge of character.’
A smile leaks from his tone as he turns to leave, his words echoing in the empty room. Staring at the paper in my hand, my heart sinks. I fold it once more and tear it in half, because I know his words couldn’t be farther from the truth.
About the Author
Hailing from the North East of England, Donna is a bit of a Bedouin, moving houses and continents more times than she cares to recall. A bit of a clueless nomad rather than the stateless kind, she once worked at a school very much like the one described in her book. Alas, there were no Kai-a-likes floating about there . .