Having changed into her pajamas, Kameron curled up in bed. Marcus’s guestroom was cool. She missed the warmth of her husband’s body. How had their marriage degraded to this state?
They’d met three years ago at an art showing for one of her friends. Gabriel had come with a date. Kameron had later found out that his date, a lovely redhead named Alicia, had forced him into attending. Gabriel didn’t have a high opinion of art or artists. Art purchased as an investment was fine, but he considered trying to make a living out of it to be foolhardy.
Kameron recalled their first conversation.
He’d bumped into her, jostling the champagne in her hand and sloshing sparkling droplets onto the midnight-blue gown she wore. She gasped. Gabriel immediately pulled his handkerchief from his pocket, handing it to her with an apology.
She’d accepted his apology and handed him back the silk cloth. His much larger hand closed over hers. At five feet eleven, she didn’t often meet men who towered over her as he did. When she looked up at him, his stare was intense. It was as though time froze. From his suit and his demeanor, she knew he was everything she didn’t want in a man. She dated artists, musicians, and poets. She’d seen him scowling at the paintings on display. A man like him could never appreciate the importance of art and thus a woman like herself who considered art as an integral part of her life.
Still, she couldn’t deny the electric current of attraction that pulsed between them. Swallowing, she took an involuntary step backward. Her retreat was halted with a jolt. He held her fingers prisoner in his grasp. “Can I have my hand back?”
Full, masculine lips curved up in a predatory smile letting her know that he had not missed her reaction to him. “Gabriel Blue. And you are?”
“Kameron Douglas.” She twisted her wrist and finally managed to free her hand. “It was nice to meet you, Mr. Blue.”
“Gabriel,” he insisted, his voice deep and gravelly.
She gulped. He had the deepest voice she’d ever heard. Could a voice be described as leg spreading? If it could, Gabriel had it. “Enjoy your evening,” she said. She could see that he wanted to detain her, but his date showed up at his elbow. Throughout the evening she felt his eyes on her. Whenever she glanced his way, he continued to stare until she broke visual contact. He made her nervous and excited at once. She’d never had a man look at her with such blatant hunger.
She decided the best course of action would be to leave. Having said her good-byes, she made her way to the exit. Only Gabriel was there, blocking her escape. With his broad shoulders and his above-average height, he made an impressive blockade. He held out a business card to her. “Call me.”
Glancing down at the card she’d recognized the Blue Department Stores logo along with his name address and phone number. She tried to give it back. “I don’t see as we have anything to discuss.”
“I’ll walk you to your car and explain it to you.”
Her eyes widened. Be alone with him? No, that was not a good idea. “Won’t your girlfriend object?”
“She’s not my girlfriend.” He cupped her elbow and led her out the door into the cool night.
“Your date then…Certainly, she won’t take kindly to you deserting her?”
“Let me worry about that.”
Seeing that he would not be deterred, she increased her pace. They stopped before her small rusting car. In the dark, the rusted sections were not as visible and blended with the black paint. The small black Mazda had been used when she bought it. It wouldn’t win any awards for looks but it got her where she wanted to go and it was fuel efficient. The door made a loud wail of protest as she opened it. She gripped the metal frame at the top of her window, holding it as a barrier between her and Gabriel. At his amused smirk, she snapped, “You said you would explain. You have two minutes.”
“I want to take you out to dinner.”
“No.” She slid behind the wheel of her car. Gabriel moved to stand between her and the door before she could close it. For such a large man, he was swift.
“That’s it? No elaboration as to why you’re refusing my invitation.”
“I don’t know you.”
“That’s the point of dinner.” He leaned down and put his hand on the back of her seat, effectively caging her in. She swallowed. “Don’t pretend you didn’t feel it, too.”
She broke eye contact. Concentrating on the steering wheel, she answered him, her voice tight, “I don’t date men like you.”
“Men like me? You just pointed out that we don’t know each other. Is it my skin color? My money?”
“I don’t date men who purchase art to put it in a safe and wait for the artist to die and call it a good investment. I date men who create with their hands and their minds. And I definitely do not date men who chase women while they’re already on a date!”
He nodded and stepped back. “I understand. Thank you for your time. Good night, Kameron Douglas.” He closed her door for her and walked off. She watched him until he disappeared into the art gallery.
Irritation swamped her as she turned the key in the ignition. Because even though he was all wrong for her and a relationship with him would never work, she’d expected him to try harder. Why it disappointed her that he didn’t, she didn’t know. Thinking that would be the last time she ever saw him, she drove home and resolved to forget Gabriel Blue.