Dark Paradise

Dark Paradise by Sara Craven Page A

Book: Dark Paradise by Sara Craven Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sara Craven
local dancers came in and entertained, and a steel band. There were even a couple of fire-eaters, and we all did the limbo.' She sighed. 'Not like the islanders, though. They don't seem to have any bones at all.'
    Imogen wasn't interested in the islanders' anatomical structure. She was watching Kate. 'Do you work in television?' she asked abruptly.
    There was enough bite in her tone to still the conversation round them, and Kate found herself flushing slightly.
    Before she could reply, Matt said, 'Not on your life. I have a strict house rule never to get involved with my staff. Kate's an artist.'
    'An artist?' Imogen's eyes studied her disdainfully as if searching for splashes of paint.
    Kate forced herself to smile pleasantly, disguising her anger at Matt's blatant hypocrisy.
    'Actually I illustrate children's books. Perhaps you've heard of Felicity Fawcett?'
    'No,' said Imogen, although of course she must have done. Felicity was hardly publicity shy, and her books were immensely successful.
    'I have,' Fran interrupted eagerly. 'My little cousin adores them. And you actually do the drawings? She'll be thrilled when I tell her I met you.'
    'So she should be,' said Matt. 'Kate has an amazing talent.'
    He looked at her and smiled, his gaze suggesting that they shared all kinds of intimate secrets, and there were some appreciative grins, mostly from the men around the table. She stared down at the drink which had been placed in front of her, hiding the angry embarrassment in her eyes.
    The conversation became general again. Matt had said St Antoine was unsophisticated, but there seemed to be more going on than he'd thought, and there were a lot of invitations coming their way—fishing trips, swimming parties, dinners in town, jeep trips to the hills and to the rain forest at the other end of the island. If they accepted them all, then Matt wouldn't have time to get anywhere near this Mr Big, if he was the unknown target, Kate thought. But, of course, Matt wasn't doing anything of the sort. He was charming, he was interested in every suggestion, but committing himself to nothing. He was making it clear that he'd come there to be alone with Kate, not become part of a crowd, and no one was going to blame him or argue with that.
    Kate sighed soundlessly, and sipped her drink. It tasted of fruit—mainly pineapple—but there was a potent kick underlying it all, which she felt she might be glad of before she was finished.
    If she'd been on St Antoine with Matt for all the right reasons, the next half hour could have been one of the most magical ones of her life, because he was making love to her with every look, every smile. But that was his talent, she thought furiously. That was what he did on television—manipulating people, making them believe what he wanted.
    And he was clever at it, she thought—God, he was! Only a short time before, he had sent her almost mindless with wanting him—not because he had expected them to be interrupted. On reflection, she acquitted him of that. But it would be far more convenient for him if she was his mistress in fact instead of just in pretence. He wouldn't be accustomed to sharing a room but not a bed, and in spite of everything he had said, he probably thought that any protests she might make would be merely token.
    That had been Drew's attitude, and he'd been angry, violently and obscenely angry when he had discovered he was wrong. Even now, the fleeting memory of it had the power to make her freeze, every sense, every nerve flinching.
    Matt said, 'Lunch,' and his hand closed over hers, pulling her gently to her feet.
    'Oh, are you going already?' someone asked in a disappointed tone, and Matt said, 'I think I'd better feed her before she passes out on me.'
    Fran was demanding, 'Are you going to come to the jump-up tonight?'
    He smiled at her lightly. 'Doubtful. I think we'll probably have an early night.'
    Kate half expected some ribald response to that, but no one said a word as they

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