Synopsis: Gallery owner Kristin Shepherd is resigned to living a life on her own in London, England after losing her husband to cancer. That was before she met handsome Scottish actor David McDougal.
David swears the relationship with his fiancé, Sophie Miller, is for public convenience only, but Kristin finds Sophie’s unwillingness to release her hold on David quite a complication to the chemistry that exists between them.
Within David’s dark eyes, will Kristin find the courage to trust enough to love again? And, are there such things as Second Chances?
Kristin sighed, coming tonight was a mistake. She never had a good time at social events like these anymore. Grief had wrapped her heart in a lock, and gazing around at handsome men at parties sure wasn’t the key. In fact, it just confirmed how alone she truly was.
Her gaze fell on a very tall man across the room whose eyes were directed her way. She caught her breath and quickly turned her head so she could look at him without him noticing.
The well tailored taupe-colored suit hugged him in all the right places. Heat flooded her cheeks.
How long had it been since she had noticed a man that way? It had been years since she last noticed the curve of a bicep, muscular legs, or strong shoulders. She cleared her throat and pressed her shoulders back. His dark brown hair fell just above the open collar of his crisp white shirt and her fingers craved to touch it.
He spoke to a pudgy-faced older man in a less expensive-looking gray suit, while the tall man gestured toward her.
Kristin turned quickly and managed to grab her friend Ingrid’s attention. “Do you know either of those men over there?” She motioned across the room with a tilt of her head.
Ingrid cast a fleeting glance behind Kristin’s shoulder, the blue sapphires in her ears matching her bright blue eyes. “The short bloke is Bernard Stone. He works in my field, but I’m much better at dazzling the public for the important people I represent.”
A Cheshire cat grin spread across Ingrid’s lips, in what seemed like recognition as she fluffed her short light brown hair. “I believe the tall bloke is David McDougal. He’s a client of Bernard’s¾an actor I think.” She nodded. “Yes, he’s an actor, mostly theater and telly, some films. I believe he’s Scottish. Would you like to meet him?” Ingrid turned to her friend and arched her eyebrows, her gaze questioning.
Kristin shook her head rapidly and backed away from her friend’s offer. She wasn’t ready for something like this, even if this man had somehow grabbed her attention. “No, I was just curious. I hadn’t seen him before.”
Ingrid flashed a dazzling smile as her blue eyes twinkled. “Well, that’s too bad, love, because he’s coming our way.”
“What?” Kristin’s head snapped back toward where the two men had been standing. Sure enough, they were making their way through the crowd, approaching swiftly. Her throat suddenly went dry, and her heart sped up. Downing her cosmo in one long drink, she hoped to gather the courage for whatever was about to happen. She discarded her empty glass on the tray of a passing waiter.
Kristin’s heart was pounding as the handsome actor made his way across the room to where she was standing. Why did the sight of him affect her so much, and why did his lean frame hold more than a passing interest for her? Thoughts like this hadn’t entered her mind in years. Shrugging off the schoolgirl hormones, she took a deep breath and squared her shoulders.
Ingrid shook Bernard’s hand. “Bernie, how sporting of you to bring your clients right to me instead of waiting for me to take them from you.” Her lips lifted into a smirk.
Bernard huffed and stuck out his chest. “I am doing no such thing. David is my friend as well as my client. I am just being socially cordial, which is more than I can say about you, you…” Irritation seemed etched in the stiffness of his shoulders.
“Now, now, Bernie, darling,” Ingrid purred and stroked Bernard’s arm in feigned sympathy. “This is no place for a fight. We are here for a charity cause, so why not let us strike a truce for this evening?” Ingrid’s smirk transformed into a devastating smile, and Bernard’s shoulders visibly relaxed.
“Very well, this is one of my closest friends¾and client¾David McDougal.” Bernard waved with his free hand toward the man in the immaculate suit.
Ingrid released Bernard’s arm and shook David’s hand, then turned to Kristin. “I am Ingrid Pierce, sworn enemy of Bernard Stone.” Ingrid winked, which caused Bernard to smile. “And this is my good friend Kristin Shepherd.”
Kristin smiled and shook Bernard’s hand, then turned to David. As she took his outstretched hand, a small electric current traveled through her body at his touch, making her insides tingle.
Startled at the sensation, she glanced into his face and found herself immersed in the darkest, most piercing eyes she had ever seen¾ebony pools that she was sure she could get lost in. Not wanting to drown, she released his grip, probably a little too quickly.
“Pleased to meet you both.” David smiled widely, but his gaze never broke the direct contact with Kristin’s. Small shivers traveled along her spine as his light brogue washed over her.
A small dimple deeply indented his right cheek when he smiled, a smile that brightened the room around her as well as his handsome face.
Kristin took a deep breath to try to regain some amount of internal control. She didn’t want Ingrid to catch on to whatever was happening between her and David. All she needed was for her friend to latch onto her attraction to him, as it would strengthen the age-old argument of Kristin entering the dating scene again.
When she glanced over at Ingrid, the devious glimmer in her friend’s blue eyes made her realize it was too late. “Bernie dear, I do have something pressing I need to discuss with you. Let’s go find some drinks, shall we?” Ingrid didn’t miss a beat as she grabbed Bernard’s arm and led him away.
Ingrid turned and winked at Kristin. “I’ll be back in a moment, love.”
Kristin now had no choice but to deal with her attraction as she turned to David, and his gaze encompassed her once more. The intensity was mesmerizing, like he could see through her to those places she chose to keep safely hidden from the world. That kind of vulnerability came unexpectedly, and small spikes of fear danced around her already-racing heart. But then he blasted her with that smile again, and melted away a little of her apprehension.
Christle Gray was born and raised in Ohio, but lives in Kentucky with her husband and one frisky black cat. She’s a Gemini, which means she’s of two minds about everything, and has more projects in progress than she can ever hope to complete in one lifetime. Her interests vary as widely as her opinions, and she’s in no short supply of either. Just go ahead and ask. One of the many voices yammering on in her head is bound to answer. Visit her at www.christlegray.com