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A Rogue And A Pirate

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Carole Mortimer is one of Mills & Boon’s best loved Modern Romance authors. With nearly 200 books published and a career spanning 35 years, Mills & Boon are thrilled to present her complete works available to download for the very first time! Rediscover old favourites – and find new ones! – in this fabulous collection…A most intimate meeting…With less than a week to go before her wedding day, Caitlin’s life is running smoothly. Until a chance encounter with devastatingly sexy Rogan McCord turns her world upside down. His outrageous flirting certainly shouldn’t leave her tingling with anticipation…But when her car breaks down and she’s stranded, Caitlin tells herself that accepting Rogan’s offer of a lift home is completely innocent. Accepting his kiss on her doorstep? Not so innocent! Now Caitlin must decide if her desire for Rogan is worth exploring…!
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A Rogue and a Pirate Carole Mortimer

www.millsandboon.co.uk

Table of Contents

Title Page

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

Copyright

CHAPTER ONE

‘MIND if I join you?’

Caitlin blinked up at the man who stood next to her, eyes the colour of sapphires flashing as brilliantly as the stone they resembled.

She had seen the man enter the lounge of this exclusive hotel; who hadn’t noticed him as he hesitated in the doorway, surveying the occupants of the room with an arrogance that bordered on insolence, startlingly green eyes narrowed as he glanced around for somewhere to sit, all the seats at the bar being occupied?

She had absently acknowledged his attraction, the swathe of dark hair that fell rakishly across his forehead, brows the same colour jutting over eyes of luminous green, a long straight nose, and a hard slash of a mouth, its cynical twist softened by the fullness of the lower lip, his jaw firm and uncompromising. But it was his sheer size that had instantly drawn her attention, easily six foot four, maybe even slightly taller than that, his shoulders wide and powerful, tapering to narrow hips and thighs, his legs long and muscular in the fitted black denims he wore with such ease. It may even have been that casualness of appearance that had drawn her gaze in a room full of people dressed for dinner, the black shirt unbuttoned at the throat and the tight denims standing out noticeably among the formal elegance.

After that initial dismissive perusal she had turned away. She hadn’t expected him to choose her table as the one he wanted to sit at! But as she and the blonde woman sitting at the bar were the only unaccompanied females here, the latter having a man sitting either side of her, perhaps it wasn’t so surprising that this man had chosen this table after all!

Caitlin gave an agreeable inclination of her head, the silky curtain of her flaming-red hair falling forward to touch her breasts as she did so. ‘I was just about to leave anyway.’ She picked up her clutch-bag.

Lean fingers encircled her wrist, the grip light but steely. ‘Don’t let me drive you away,’ he urged, his accent on closer inspection definitely from across the Atlantic.

And he was close, surprisingly so, had chosen to sit in the chair next to hers rather than across from her. From a distance, his body lithe and lean, he had looked to be in his early thirties, but close to, the lines of cynicism were etched beside his eyes and mouth, putting him a little older than that, maybe thirty-five or thirty-six. There was an air of bored calculation about him, as if her answer was never in doubt, her reluctance only perfunctory.

Caitlin pointedly removed her arm from his grip. ‘As I said, I was about to leave,’ she bit out coldly.

Green eyes warmed at her icy manner, relaxing back in his chair, his long legs spread wide to accommodate their length beneath the low table. ‘And leave a visiting American all alone?’ he drawled mockingly.

Her brows rose coolly. ‘I’m sure it doesn’t have to be that way,’ she dismissed uninterestedly.

‘That was exactly what I thought when I saw you sitting here all alone,’ he taunted, not at all ruffled by her haughty reply.

She drew in an angry breath. ‘I did happen to be alone through choice,’ she snapped.

‘ “Misery loves company” ’ he shrugged.

‘I am not miserable, Mr——?’ She quirked dark brows enquiringly.

‘McCord—Rogan McCord,’ he supplied lightly, his mouth still twisted into that patronising smile.

‘Mr McCord,’ she repeated abruptly. Rogan? What an unusual name! But somehow it suited him. ‘I am perfectly happy, Mr McCord,’ she bit out. ‘Ecstatic, in fact,’ she added tautly.

‘Then why are you sitting all alone in a bar drinking?’ he derided.

Caitlin sighed, wishing she had followed her first instinct and left while she had the chance. She should never have allowed herself to be drawn into conversation with this infuriating man! ‘Because drinking is what you do in bars,’ she told him caustically.

Rogan McCord shook his head. ‘Not women on their own. And especially not women like you.’

She couldn’t help herself, she rose to the bait he had deliberately set. ‘A woman like me?’

He looked her over consideringly. ‘Rich—I can tell that by your designer-label gown,’ he drawled mockingly, the warmth of his gaze telling her he approved of the shimmering petrol-blue gown, and the way it clung lovingly to her slender curves. ‘And, of course, your public-school accent,’ he added derisively. ‘And you’re uncomfortable being here, I could tell that by the way you kept looking around you.’

‘How observant of you!’ Her eyes flashed.

He shrugged. ‘Was I right?’

‘But of course,’ she dismissed in a bored voice. ‘Aren’t you always?’

He grinned at her condescension, looking more rakish than ever. Unaccountably the image of the pirate heroes from the books she used to sneak out to buy while at boarding-school came to Caitlin’s mind. She could just picture him aboard a pirate ship, lord of all he surveyed!

But she was no longer an impressionable fifteen, and six years on from those romantic dreams she used to weave in her head she realised there was nothing in the least romantic about this man, that he was just hoping to find a warm and willing woman to share his bed for the night. She was neither warm nor willing!

‘For your information, Mr McCord,’ she bit out impatiently, ‘I was waiting for a friend who has obviously been delayed.’

‘His loss is my gain.’ He still smiled the confident smile of a seasoned flirt.

‘I don’t think so, Mr McCord,’ she said drily. ‘My friend was a she.’ And Gayle should have been here half an hour ago, she thought irritably. She hadn’t felt in the mood for driving into town in the first place, but Gayle had insisted. And now she had obviously let her down.

Rogan McCord sat forward with a sudden burst of energy that had been totally unexpected, having looked like a sleepy feline until that moment. ‘Let me buy you a drink,’ he suggested huskily.

Caitlin found herself a little unnerved by his sudden intensity. ‘I already have one.’ She indicated the drink in front of her that she had barely sipped before his intrusion into her solitude.

‘All the more reason to stay a while longer and finish it,’ he said triumphantly.

She moistened lips glossed a tempting red, her other make-up kept to the minimum, a light blue shadow on her lids, mascara lengthening the darkness of her lashes, blusher accentuating her high cheekbones beneath those slightly slanting eyes. She had been taught from an early age to make the best of her looks, knew exactly how to draw attention from her small snub of a nose, that tended to freckle during the summer months, so that it was the deep blue of her eyes that drew the admiration. Slightly above average height, she was willowy rather than curvaceous, her figure very suited to the fashions the Princess of Wales had made so popular.

But if her wealthy background had taught her how to put on make-up, and allowed her to dress well, it had also shown her how to give a practised flirt a set-down! ‘I have no wish to finish anything with you except this conversation,’ she snapped.

He rose politely to his feet as she stood up to leave. ‘It’s been nice meeting you, Miss——?’ He deliberately aped her way of finding out his name.

‘O’Rourke,’ she supplied tersely. ‘Caitlin O’Rourke.’

‘Irish?’ he derided.

‘What do you think?’ Her eyes flashed.

‘I think that with your Irish ancestry and my Scottish one sparks were sure to fly,’ he drawled, his eyes brimming with laughter. ‘They began to do that for me the moment I looked at you,’ he added drily. ‘You’re very beautiful, Caitlin O’Rourke.’

‘Thank you.’ She was unimpressed by the compliment.

His mouth quirked. ‘You’ve heard it all before, hm?’ he said self-derisively.

‘Or something like it.’ She gave a haughty inclination of her head. ‘Insincere flattery to get a woman into bed is as old as time!’

‘But it wasn’t insincere,’ he drawled.

‘You really are lovely, Caity O’Rourke.’

Her cheeks flamed. ‘My name is Caitlin.’ Only her family ever used that affectionate shortening of her given name.

‘Of course it is,’ he humoured. ‘But I’m sure that when a man makes love to you he calls you Caity.’

‘How dare you, you—you pirate, you!’ She was breathing heavily in her agitation, at once mortified at the lapse in temper that had made her blurt out her secret opinion of him so bluntly.

Rogan grinned, his brows raised. ‘So that’s how I appear to you, is it?’ he speculated. ‘Caitlin O’Rourke, you surprise me!’

She surprised herself. She was twenty-one years old, had stopped reading those swashbuckling novels years ago, and yet one look at Rogan McCord and they all came flooding back to her as he epitomised every fantasy she had ever had of a dark, arrogant pirate invading her life. But this was the twentieth century, for goodness’ sake!

She drew herself frostily up to her full height. ‘I’m sure I’m not the first woman to view your—persistence in that light.’

‘You’re the first one to ever say it to my face. I think I like it,’ he smiled. ‘Unless,’ he sobered, ‘you were thinking of Bluebeard? I can assure you I’m not married,’ he derided, frowning as she seemed to pale. ‘Are you?’ He watched her closely. ‘Because if you’re a bored little socialite wife looking for some excitement in your life by taking a lover I think I should tell you you’re doing this all wrong; you’re supposed to encourage me, not push me away!’

‘You don’t seem to need any encouraging!’ Her eyes flashed.

‘True,’ Rogan drawled. ‘But then that should save us a lot of time.’

‘Mr McCord,’ she rasped, ‘I am not married, neither am I looking for any more excitement in my life.’

‘None of us can have too much excitement in our lives,’ he drawled.

‘In your case that’s probably true,’ she said scathingly, sure this man liked to experience anything made available to him. But she wasn’t available! ‘But I am not on the lookout for some brief meaningless affair.’

‘You aren’t giving us a chance,’ he taunted. ‘Our affair might not be brief or meaningless.’

‘It would be meaningless because we don’t even know each other, and it would be brief because I’m sure you don’t intend to remain long in this country.’

Rogan shrugged. ‘I could change my plans.’

‘We aren’t going to have an affair,’ she told him agitatedly.

‘Why not? I’d like nothing better than to take you to bed right now.’

She gave him a dazed frown. ‘Mr McCord, are you usually this—blunt?’

He shrugged. ‘Not always, no,’ he answered consideringly.

‘Then please don’t make me the exception,’ Caitlin snapped.

One lean hand moved up to caress her cheek with his knuckles. ‘But I’d like to,’ he murmured throatily.

She moved her head back from that caress, her hair moving in a shimmering red curtain. ‘I have to go,’ she said abruptly. ‘It was—an experience, meeting you,’ she added derisively.

He gave a regretful grimace for her determination to leave. ‘You too.’

She could feel him watching her as she walked to the doorway, a tingle of awareness down her spine, telling herself she mustn’t look back, that she shouldn’t give him that satisfaction.

It was a compulsion, instinct, and she paused in the doorway to turn and look at Rogan McCord one last time.

He had been joined by the tiny blonde woman with the voluptuous curves who had been sitting alone at the bar!

The two of them were chatting amiably, Rogan ordering them a drink, his attention turning to Caitlin as he saw her standing in the doorway watching them. He gave her a mocking acknowledgement with his head, laughter in his eyes as Caitlin gave him a fierce glare before turning away.

He must have waited all of ten seconds after her departure before inviting the voluptuous blonde to join him!

She was still fuming at his high-handed conceit when she swung into the low Mercedes, her clutch-bag landing with a thud on the seat beside her. Who did he think he was, trying to pick her up in that way! No man had ever tried to pick her up in a bar before. Or so nearly succeeded!

There had been something about Mr Rogan McCord that was extremely appealing, his rakish charm a challenge, his almost casual confidence in his own attraction doubly so.

But he was also a rake and a flirt, out for a good time with the first woman he felt attracted to.

Or the second! Ten seconds, that was all he had waited before turning his attention to the blonde.

By the time she had finished berating Rogan McCord’s rakish behaviour she had also realised that her car wasn’t going to start.

Damn! Hopeless with anything mechanical, she knew there wasn’t even any point in her looking under the bonnet; it all looked like a mess of wires and nuts to her. She was going to have to call someone out from the garage the family used to service their cars, wait for them to arrive, and then hope that it wasn’t anything too serious. And all because Gayle had thought it would be a good idea if they had a drink together tonight. She had called Gayle a friend to Rogan McCord, but that wasn’t quite true, and she now blamed the other woman for dragging her into town in the first place, especially as she hadn’t even had the decency to turn up.

‘Having trouble?’ drawled an infuriatingly familiar voice.

Caught standing outside her car, telling it what a useless piece of junk it was, by Rogan McCord, she rounded on him sharply. ‘No, I always talk to my car before driving it,’ she snapped, turning to walk back in the direction of the hotel.

‘Really?’ he fell into step beside her. ‘Is that a little like talking to plants?’

She gave his innocently enquiring face a scathing look, ignoring him as she located the public telephones in the reception area, turning her back on him as she dialled the number of the garage. The call went straight through to the mechanic on call, and she impatiently answered his queries with an obvious lack of knowledge about anything concerning cars except how to drive one. The man promised to come out immediately.

Caitlin came to a halt as she turned and almost bumped into the man leaning on the wall behind her, his arms folded across his chest, his expression gently mocking. ‘Excuse me,’ she bit out, pointedly moving past him to the lounge area beside the reception desks where she had told the mechanic she would be waiting for him.

‘I can see how you would have to talk to your car before attempting to drive it.’ Rogan McCord folded his lean length down into the low beige leather armchair opposite hers. ‘You have a decided lack of respect for their delicate engineering!’

She looked across at him with frosty blue eyes. ‘I don’t remember asking you to join me.’

‘Neither do I,’ he answered cheerfully. ‘But I’ve decided to overlook your lack of manners this time.’

Her mouth firmed. ‘And I suppose you think it was polite to eavesdrop on my telephone call!’

He shrugged broad shoulders. ‘I was waiting to use the telephone.’

‘Then why didn’t you?’ Her eyes flashed.

‘I changed my mind,’ he dismissed tauntingly, eyeing her flushed face with amusement.

Caitlin gave a disbelieving snort before turning to watch the automatic doors for the arrival of the mechanic. She knew it was too soon for him to arrive yet, but anything was better than looking at Rogan McCord! Why wasn’t he still with the blonde? Maybe she had turned him down too, Caitlin thought with satisfaction.

‘I pity the poor devil at the receiving end of that smile,’ he murmured, his eyes narrowed.

She looked at him with cool blue eyes. ‘Self-pity is so boring, don’t you think?’

He grinned, those deep slashes grooved into the hardness of his cheeks. ‘Plotting my downfall, were you?’ he drawled.

‘To tell you the truth, Mr McCord, I don’t care if I never have to think of you again,’ she told him in a bored voice. ‘I was just musing over your luck in choosing the wrong woman twice in one night.’

Dark brows rose over sea-green eyes. ‘I didn’t choose you at all, Caity, you were just there.’

‘My name is Caitlin,’ she snapped. ‘And I was there because I was meeting someone.’

‘Who didn’t turn up,’ he added derisively.

‘It does happen,’ she insisted defensively.

He shook his head. ‘Not to women like you.’

‘I wish you would stop saying that!’ She glared. ‘And I am not in the habit of sitting around in bars alone!’

‘Of course you aren’t,’ Rogan humoured her.

Her eyes shot sparks of blue fire at him. ‘Unlike your next choice,’ she said bitchily.

‘How could I even see another woman after you?’ he taunted. ‘Miranda was the one to approach me.’

Caitlin’s scathing retort didn’t pass her lips, her attention distracted by the woman under discussion as she walked past them to the doors in the company of a tall sandy-haired man, the look she shot Rogan wistful to say the least.

Caitlin turned to the man opposite her with new eyes. He didn’t look as if having a woman approach him was a new experience, rather an accepted one, and to a woman who had never been the one to make the first move with any man it was totally unacceptable to her personal code of behaviour. No matter how attractive she found a man she could never be the first one to show that.

‘Don’t look so surprised,’ Rogan derided at her silence. ‘Miranda is a professional.’

‘I don’t—— What?’ Her gasped exclamation couldn’t be halted, even though she knew how young and naïve it made her seem. A prostitute? Here?

Rogan’s mouth twisted in enjoyment of her disbelief. ‘They have to ply their wares somewhere,’ he mocked. ‘And you meet a richer class of client in hotels like this one,’ he added drily.

‘The management would never allow it,’ she dismissed, sure he had to be mocking her about the other woman’s profession too. Miranda certainly hadn’t looked like a prostitute. But then did they have to walk around in fish-net tights and snug-fitting clothes to be one? The answer was obviously no, especially in a hotel like this one. ‘I had no idea …’ she frowned.

Rogan shrugged. ‘I travel around a lot, you soon get to recognise them.’

Caitlin’s eyes suddenly widened indignantly. ‘You surely didn’t think that I——’

‘Of course not.’ His husky laugh taunted her. ‘I told you I can recognise them, but that doesn’t mean I’m ever interested in them. Bought sex isn’t something I’ve ever had to resort to,’ he added without conceit. ‘When it is I’ll consider myself too old to be interested any more. No, I bought the lady a drink and then politely left. She’s only doing her job, after all. As for you, I’ve already told you what I think you are.’

‘A bored married socialite looking for excitement in my life,’ she remembered disparagingly.

He tilted his head at her consideringly. ‘Maybe not a married one,’ he conceded.

‘But bored,’ she snapped. ‘A boredom you would have been only too happy to help ease, I suppose?’

‘More than happy,’ he acknowledged, his eyes brimming with laughter at her fury.

‘How kind of you,’ she said with saccharine sweetness, rising gracefully to her feet, the blue dress shimmering lovingly against her body to rest just below her knees, high sandals the same shade of blue elevating her height a good three inches. ‘But I’m afraid I’ll have to decline your gracious offer,’ she looked pointedly towards the doors where a man who was obviously her awaited mechanic hesitated, the blue overalls stained with grease and oil, although he was self-consciously trying to straighten his hair as he became increasingly aware of the elegance of his surroundings.

‘I don’t mind waiting,’ Rogan drawled suggestively.

She looked down at him coldly. ‘I don’t think you will still be around in a hundred years!’

‘Neither will you,’ he reasoned.

‘Exactly!’ she said with satisfaction.

‘Ouch!’ He gave a pained wince.

‘Goodbye, Mr McCord.’ She nodded dismissively, a smile of welcome plastered on her face as she moved to greet the mechanic.

She took him outside to look at her car, listened for the next five minutes as he poked about under the bonnet talking about things she didn’t even recognise the name of but which he talked about so lovingly she knew he understood what every single part of the engine should be doing—but obviously wasn’t.

‘What does it all mean?’ She frowned when he at last straightened, wiping his hands on a cloth from his pocket.

The young man shrugged. ‘It means I’m going to have to tow your car back to the garage and work on it there.’

That’s what she had thought it meant! ‘Thank you,’ she sighed. ‘I suppose I’d better go and organise a taxi——’

‘No need for that,’ cut in a voice that really was beginning to grate on her nerves.

Caitlin turned to Rogan McCord with icy eyes. ‘What?’ she bit out resignedly.

He strolled over to join them, enjoying a few minutes’ consultation with the mechanic about her car before acknowledging her presence once again. ‘I’ll drive you home,’ he stated arrogantly. ‘I have my car over there.’ He nodded in the direction of a dark grey Jaguar.

‘Like hell——’

‘Whew, English women aren’t at all as cool and ladylike as they like to make out,’ he confided in the mechanic. ‘They aren’t forgiving either.’

‘What——’

‘I offer to drive her home as an olive-branch after our argument and she throws it back in my face!’ He shook his head, his expression pained.

It would be even more pained if he didn’t stop giving the man who had introduced himself as Paul Raymond the impression the two of them were lovers who had just had a fight! They had certainly done nothing but fight since they first met, but they would never be lovers!

‘I think you should accept the offer, Miss O’Rourke,’ Paul Raymond advised softly.

‘That’s it, Paul,’ Rogan grinned. ‘We men have to stick together.’

The other man shot him an amused look. ‘I’m sure you would be more comfortable in the Jag, Miss O’Rourke, than in the taxi.’

Rogan gave a mock groan of despair. ‘Don’t encourage her, she’s already resorted to calling me names!’

The only name she had called him had been pirate, and that was proving even more true by the minute!

‘Perhaps you’re right, Paul.’ She gave him a conspiratorial smile as she thought of the home she shared with her parents, and its distance from town. Rogan McCord was in for a surprise if he thought he just had to drive around London a bit to her home, where he would be invited up to her apartment for a nightcap as a thank-you for his kindness.

‘Does that mean you accept my offer?’ He couldn’t hide his surprise at her unquestioning compliance.

‘Why not?’ she agreed. ‘Why look a gift-horse in the mouth, hmm, Paul.’

‘Right, Miss O’Rourke,’ the mechanic gave her a conspiratorial wink.

Rogan watched them frowningly. ‘Why do I get the feeling I’m being outnumbered?’

‘Probably because you are,’ Caitlin mocked. ‘Give me a call about the car, Paul,’ she added warmly. ‘Ready, Rogan?’ she prompted tauntingly.

‘Sure,’ he nodded, unlocking the car door for her before climbing in beside her, lifting a hand in parting to the other man as he walked away to get his tow-truck. ‘Where to now?’ Rogan prompted as they reached the hotel exit.

‘It will be simpler if I just direct you as we approach the correct roads,’ she evaded, secretly wondering what on earth had prompted her to accept this lift home from a complete stranger. Bravado and vengeance, she finally decided. Bravado because Rogan McCord obviously thought he had the upper hand, vengeance because after the drive he would have to her home, with no return for his trouble once they got there, she doubted he would harass a woman the way he had her for some time to come. She decided the latter was well worth the uncertainty of trusting him at all!

After twenty minutes of driving, Caitlin could see he was starting to frown, five minutes later he began to scowl, five minutes after that he began to glower.

‘Shouldn’t be long now,’ she told him cheerfully, rubbing salt into the wound.

‘Really?’ he answered with barely concealed impatience, increasing the car’s speed.

Caitlin grinned to herself, she had deliberately directed him to her home by the longest route possible, had even added a few detours to make it even longer. She was enjoying herself immensely.

‘Do you work in London?’ Rogan finally grated after another fifteen minutes’ driving.

She nodded. ‘I’m a nursery teacher.’

‘It’s a long trip to make each day.’

‘Is it?’ she widened innocently surprised eyes. ‘I hadn’t noticed.’

He shot her a look that was clearly sceptical, and Caitlin smiled back at him sweetly.

‘Here we are,’ she said a few minutes later, pointing to the entrance to the driveway that led to her home.

Rogan frowned, looking about him intently. ‘I’m sure we’ve already been past here once tonight.’

She was glad of the darkness to hide her guilty blush. ‘Don’t be silly,’ she dismissed briskly. ‘Just park in front of the house,’ she directed. ‘It’s a loop driveway so you can drive straight out again,’ she added with satisfaction.

He parked the car in front of the huge oak doors, glancing up at the elegant Georgian-style house. ‘Are you sure you aren’t married?’ he drawled. ‘I’m sure you can’t live here all alone.’

‘I don’t,’ she confirmed. ‘I live here with my parents. I’d love to invite you in,’ she added with obvious insincerity, ‘but it is late.’ Because of all the detours they had taken! ‘And I wouldn’t like to disturb Mummy and Daddy.’

Rogan looked at the house again. ‘I should think you could lose a person for a month in there and not hear their cries for help!’

‘Mummy and Daddy are very light sleepers,’ she taunted.

‘Both of them?’ he said drily.

‘Yes.’ She smiled her triumph. ‘Thank you so much for driving me home, it was very kind of you.’

He turned in his seat, his arm coming to rest behind her shoulders. ‘Kindness didn’t come into it,’ he drawled.

‘I know,’ she taunted, turning to open the door.

‘Not so fast.’ Rogan caught hold of her arm, pulling her towards him.

‘What——?’ Her question was never finished as his taunting mouth came down on hers.

Her head rested back on his arm as he leant over her, lost in the confines of his arms—and the magic of his lips. His shoulders felt smoothly powerful beneath her hands, his mouth moving against hers with insistent passion. He smelt of spicy soap and limes, his body warm as his shirt-covered chest pressed against her throbbing breasts.

His mouth became gently probing as he sensed her confused acquiescence, his lips moving moistly across her cheek as he told her how beautiful she was, how desirable, how much she excited him. Caitlin could feel herself being seduced by his verbal lovemaking, his green eyes piercing in the illumination from the lights beside the house doors, holding her captive as his mouth lowered to hers again.

They tasted, licked, nibbled, finally coming together with fierce passion, Rogan’s hands restless on her body, at last lingering on the up-thrust of her breast.

Caitlin gasped as he sought, and found, the pointed tip, caressing softly, until the nipple firmed and throbbed for closer contact.

‘I want to see you naked, Caity,’ he told her gruffly as one of his hands moved to the zip on her gown. ‘Naked and wanton!’

She felt hot, feverish—she was making love with a complete stranger!

‘No!’ She pulled out of his arms, her expression one of panic as he reached for her again. ‘Let me go,’ she instructed coldly.

Puzzlement darkened his eyes at her vehemence, but he sat back in his own seat, his hands held up defensively. ‘I’ve never tried to force a woman,’ he assured her raggedly.

She knew he had never needed to, that his brand of lovemaking could become addictive. ‘I know that,’ she conceded shakily, shaking back the fiery swathe of her hair. ‘I—it was a mistake, that’s all.’

Rogan shook his head, his eyes steely. ‘I don’t make mistakes, Caity. I want you. And a minute ago you wanted me too——’

‘No,’ she denied heatedly.’ I told you, it was a mistake. I have to go in now.’ She swallowed hard, wishing she had found the strength to go in earlier, much earlier.

He gave an abrupt inclination of his head. ‘I’ll be seeing you——’

‘No,’ she told him sharply, haltingly turning to look at him, realising how wrong she had been to let him know where her home was. He could cause so much trouble for her if he chose to! ‘I don’t want to see you again.’

‘I’m afraid that’s impossible.’ He shook his head. ‘You see, I——’

‘You aren’t listening to me! Can’t you take no for an answer?’ she snapped impatiently.

‘You weren’t saying no to me a few minutes ago,’ he shrugged.

‘Well, I’m saying it now,’ Caitlin rasped. ‘I don’t want to see you ever again, Mr McCord. Do I make myself clear?’

‘Very,’ he drawled, very relaxed as he sat back in his seat watching her.

‘Good.’ Her eyes flashed before she stepped out on to the gravel driveway. ‘Once again, thank you for the lift home.’

‘Believe me, it was my pleasure,’ he mocked. ‘All of it.’

She slammed the door in his face, standing on the top step to watch the car—and Rogan McCord!—go out of the driveway before turning to enter the house.

As she had known they would be, her parents were still in the lounge, both of them night people, enjoying a game of chess together as she entered the room. They looked so endearingly familiar, her father so big and strong, her mother so small and feminine, that for a moment she was able to banish the madness she had known in Rogan McCord’s arms as she returned their warm smiles.

When her mother smiled she didn’t look much older than Caitlin, her hair as red as her daughter’s despite her fifty years, her face beautiful and unlined. ‘Did you have a nice evening, darling?’

‘Not particularly.’ She went on to tell them of the disappointing time she had had—omitting the part about Rogan McCord. That had been disturbing, not disappointing!

‘What a shame,’ her mother sympathised.

‘Damned thoughtless, I call it,’ her father bit out, he was a big bluff man of fifty-five, his hair having been iron-grey for as long as Caitlin could remember. Her brother Brian was hoping his brown hair would go the same colour so that he could look as distinguished as their father. ‘Gayle could have called you,’ he added with a frown.

Exactly what she had thought! ‘I think I’ll get off to bed now; I have a hectic day tomorrow.’

‘Of course, dear.’ Her mother smiled her sweetly serene smile.

The conversation with her parents had helped calm her a little, and she held off thoughts of Rogan McCord while she showered and changed for bed, although once she lay in the darkness he wouldn’t be banished as easily; warm green eyes haunting her mind, that firmly sensuous mouth that could wreak such havoc with her senses, making her behave in a way she hadn’t believed she was capable of.

She turned over with a sob, her breathing coming to a ragged halt as the moonlight gleamed on the white dress that hung outside her wardrobe. A wedding-dress. Her wedding-dress.

.

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