Status: Finished

Genre: Romance


Status: Finished

Genre: Romance


Caitlin Sinclair was content and enjoyed her structured life as a high powered executive, until she fell, literally into the arms of the arrogant and obnoxious Nicholas Brenthurst. The attraction between them was undeniable. Only she did not appreciate his high handed bossy manner. Like a dirty coin she found him surfacing everywhere. There was no escape from his relentless pursuit of her. Her wanton body did not help much, greedily responding to his seductive advances. A supposed expert on strategy, she found herself in rather a precarious position with the rug being pulled from under her feet, as he swiftly bought out her company, whilst on her watch. Thrown deep into the emotional waters, Nicholas Brenthurst tied her to an airtight contract providing no escape, ruining her exit strategy and compelling her to suffer his merciless onslaught, to which her body shamelessly participated in.


Caitlin Sinclair was content and enjoyed her structured life as a high powered executive, until she fell, literally into the arms of the arrogant and obnoxious Nicholas Brenthurst. The attraction between them was undeniable. Only she did not appreciate his high handed bossy manner. Like a dirty coin she found him surfacing everywhere. There was no escape from his relentless pursuit of her. Her wanton body did not help much, greedily responding to his seductive advances. A supposed expert on strategy, she found herself in rather a precarious position with the rug being pulled from under her feet, as he swiftly bought out her company, whilst on her watch. Thrown deep into the emotional waters, Nicholas Brenthurst tied her to an airtight contract providing no escape, ruining her exit strategy and compelling her to suffer his merciless onslaught, to which her body shamelessly participated in.


Author Chapter Note

Caitlin Sinclair was content and enjoyed her structured life as a high powered executive, until she fell, literally into the arms of the arrogant and obnoxious Nicholas Brenthurst. The attraction between them was undeniable. Only she did not appreciate his high handed bossy manner. Like a dirty coin she found him surfacing everywhere. There was no escape from his relentless pursuit of her. Her wanton body did not help much, greedily responding to his seductive advances. A supposed expert on strategy, she found herself in rather a precarious position with the rug being pulled from under her feet, as he swiftly bought out her company, whilst on her watch. Thrown deep into the emotional waters, Nicholas Brenthurst tied her to an airtight contract providing no escape, ruining her exit strategy and compelling her to suffer his merciless onslaught, to which her body shamelessly participated in.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: July 18, 2010

Reads: 1836

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: July 18, 2010





Caitlin climbed into her rented SUV, driving out of the Port Elizabeth airport.Half an hour and I’ll be home mom. She thought to herself, breathing in the fresh sea air. If asked to describe paradise, Caitlin would have to be biased and say it was right here in South Africa and without hesitation claim Kenton on Sea to be just that. A curious smile on her face, she pondered why South Africa was named by its geographical position. If one looked on a map, the country was the most southern point in Africa, separated by the icy Atlantic Ocean on its west and the warmer Indian Ocean on its east.Any more South and one would be right in the middle where the two oceans met. Caitlin loved visiting Kenton On Sea. The azure blue waters of the Indian Ocean on the one side, and the spectacular, unspoilt Kariega beach and an eco tourist haven on the other side.Unending viewing of bird life, flora, especially the picturesque cycads that were as old as the hills, the most pictorial indigenous natural forest, home to some of the big five animals that tourists yearned to see in national game parks all over Africa.Another smile had Caitlin thinking of her dad’s semi retirement status, as he still did not seem to know how to totally relinquish his hold over the family business. It was like an itch that he just could not stop scratching.So now her dad stayed on the board in an advisory capacity, whilst her brother Stuart headed the organization.A great visionary he was to, was Stuart, wanting to extend gas pipelines into the neighboring countries, to the North, East and West of South Africa.A civil engineer by profession, Stuart had already put the company on the map in Eastern Europe and Southern Asia. Caitlin’s dad wanted her to join the company, but Caitlin was just not content to join the family business.She had a fascination for numbers, and wanted to carve her own niche in the business environment. She was like the hunter who loved the chase, and a confirmed workaholic.Caitlin’s mother constantly complained at how much weight she kept losing. Caitlin dare not reveal that on the odd occasion, breakfast, lunch and supper consisted of filter coffee. And on days when her body screamed for food, she would have breakfast at two o’ clock in the afternoon.Though she was not too concerned about the way she looked, to any observer, she was graced with strikingly beautiful features, with an angular face that resembled a porcelain doll and belonged more on one of the modeling ramps of Milan, Paris, or New York, and not in boardrooms with stuffy chauvinistic accountants and veteran corporate strategists.Her complexion was milk white like her mother’s, her blonde hair, inherited from her father cascaded like waves to her shoulders. Her eyes, absolutely gorgeous, so piercing, more green than the blue of the ocean depicted a passion for life and fun. Hardnosed and coldhearted accountants were fooled by her looks, she met many across the boardroom table who thought the owner of the blonde looks and ramp model figure were no contest. Exposed by their short sightedness, they were often left dumfounded. Finally the enormous, tall white building with the chocolate brown thatched roofing came into view. Caitlin purred her pleasure at the enormous weeping willow trees in splendor, its huge branches majestic as it dipped into the lake that ran along the side of The Kenton. It was always breath taking just looking at the surroundings. She loved the cry of the birds, the geese in the water, the untainted air just seemed fresher and nourishing to the spirit. The home was huge with many bedrooms, and guest suites, a private suite on the east wing was Caitlin’s whenever she visited, overlooking the lake and the cascading willow trees, and the lush forest behind it, having its own entrance, complete with an office, if she needed to work.The west wing was reserved for Stuart, a little bigger than Caitlin’s with a distant view of the ocean.

Three or four other cars were parked about under the huge oak trees, her mom and dad often had guests streaming in and out to visit.Caitlin grabbed her handbag excitedly, one of the house attendants would take her luggage to her suite later. She ran up to the front entrance a smile on her face, her hand hastily reaching for the handle. She ungraciously fell forward as the door opened from the inside. Two steady arms effortlessly held her on either side of her elbows. Caitlin’s palms found themselves flat against a vast chest that exuded well toned muscles. She raised her head high, trying to find the face that the chest belonged to. She swallowed sharply. She had never seen such an arrogantly handsome face before.A pair of impatient dark eyes glared down at her. Caitlin knew she should say something but her tongue uncharacteristically, was at a loss for words.

She knew she should also remove her palms from his chest, but they seemed to like the feel of that solid wall, and her hands chose to ignore what her brain expected them to do. Caitlin unconsciously licked her upper lip. The dark, intelligent looking eyes followed her tongue and the facial expression changed from impatience to something else. What was wrong with her, she’d met attractive looking men before?

‘Don’t the misguided youth of this world ever think first, before they act?’ he growled, breaking into her reverie, impatiently looking at his designer label wristwatch.

Instantly, a storm raged in Caitlin’s green eyes, surely his arrogant outburst was unjustified. Misguided…youth!How dare he accuse her of being a misguided youth!

‘Don’t you think your outburst is uncalled for?’ she hissed, ‘It was a bloody accident,’ she finished, her piercing green eyes, losing its hint of blue now blazed with anger indifferent to her less than lady like language. She avoided dwelling even for a second on what her parents’ response would be of her behaviour towards their obvious guest. His eyes narrowed, gazing into her intense, gorgeously irresistible angry green eyes.

Realization immediately alerted him, that her calculated response could not be that of any misguided youth. Unfazed, his eyes leisurely followed her long blond glossy mane cascading over her shoulders, the aviator sun glasses set on her head, and her beautiful high cheek bones. His eyes were drawn to her luscious lips, and then lowered to rest on her firm well rounded breasts.She could feel her nipples burning against her shirt affected by his ardent stare. His eyes gloated satisfaction at the response of her twin peaks without them being touched.His eyes traveled unhurriedly over her stone coloured shorts, admiring her long shapely legs. Caitlin had developed somewhat of finesse in extricating herself from lust inspired attention where men were concerned. Yet somehow at this moment, she was experiencing some difficulty. And then time did not seem to be of essence to the stranger any longer, she observed. Straightening her shoulders, she raised a defiant chin.

‘If you’ve completed your physical inspection, may I get past, please?’ she fumed brushing past him, but not before she observed the amused glint in his eyes, and a sexy smile that made him look years younger. Caitlin hurried into her parents home, a trifle embarrassed at how affected she’d been by a total stranger, whose name she did not even know.Blood was rushing to her face, just at the thought of how her body so reacted to his presence. Without even being touched, she groaned inwardly. Inside Caitlin leaned against the door, closed her eyes and tried to analyze what had just happened. She knew he was no ordinary John Doe. He just exuded too much power and charisma.And Caitlin perceived, he did not suffer fools gladly either. She had never felt arrested in the presence of the opposite sex before in all her adult life. Such finely chiseled and attractive features, her fingers still tingled from being in contact with the rippling muscles. She wondered if he would be at the party tomorrow night. Bridle your passions Sinclair! she reprimanded herself trying to find her parents.

‘Mom, dad! Is anybody home?’

‘Darling, you’re here!’Katherine Sinclair greeted her daughter.

‘Oh honey, I’m so glad you’ve come a day earlier, and you look so wonderful, all that colour on your face.’If only you know half the truth of what was responsible for that, she thought smiling lovingly at her mom.‘Your dad will be so pleased to see you –’

‘He sure is sweetheart.’She heard her dad from behind her.

‘Dad!’ she spun around. ‘You look fantastic,’ she exclaimed hugging him fiercely.

‘You don’t look a day over forty five, are you sure you’re sixty!’ she teased him. ‘Now, now Caitlin, don’t go giving your father ideas again, the doctor has warned him to take things easy.’ ‘Dad is everything okay?’ Caitlin asked, concerned that something was medically wrong, making a mental note to talk to Tom Bradford, his physician later.

‘No, no, you know how your mom is, making a molehill out of nothing. It’s just my diet that the doc is concerned with, thinks I should give up the red meat.That’s like a day without sunshine, I tell you,’ he groaned, hoping to get some sympathy from his daughter.

‘Oh dad, how about you cut it down, if you can’t cut it out, hmm?’‘Now that’s my girl,’ he smiled relieved. Caitlin winked at her mom, hoping to end this gentle point scoring, loving both her mom and dad equally.

‘Oh! mom, it’s so good to be home again, how long’s it been?’

‘Too long, sweetheart,’ her mom chided.

‘You should come home more often,’ her father accused,

‘You are far too young to be slaving at boardrooms. You know all work and no play…’ her father hinted, with his arm around her waist.

Diplomatically choosing not to answer, Caitlin helped herself to a juicy pear from the fruit bowl.

‘When is somebody going to make a respectable lady out of you? I want grandchildren,’ he demanded.

That line of interrogation was definitely one of the reasons why her trips home were so infrequent.

Playfully she angled her head, gazing into space, ‘honestly, I’m considering leaving planet earth, and setting up base on mars, as no male suitor has popped the question yet, perhaps I’ll be spoilt for choice there,’ she deflected hoping to brush her dad off.‘I am not fooled for a moment, Caitlin Sinclair,’ he rebutted ‘I am more inclined to believe you keep them all at arms length, more content to spend untold hours, slaving over work, instead of indulging in the simple pleasures of life.’ Caitlin took another bite of her juicy pear, ‘Is the pot calling the kettle black, Mr. Sinclair?’ she teased her dad lovingly.

‘You do not have to follow all you dad’s ways you know, just take the good examples and learn from the bad ones,’ he replied guiltily.Throwing the remaining bits of her pear into the dust bin, she washed her hands, then hugged her dad,

‘Dad you were mostly a good example,’ she consoled him.

‘I remember all the times, you read stories, to Stuart and I,’ she grinned, ‘and the ones you invented where Stuart had to keep reminding you of the names of the characters you made up’ she laughed. He grinned mischievously. ‘All the vacations we took overseas, all wonderful memories dad,’ she reassured her father.

‘I want you not to lose sight of the more valuable aspects of life my dear. Work is rewarding but we must try to strike a balance with other significant areas of our lives,’ he imparted philosophically.

‘Yes dad,’ she agreed, then created an exit, ‘but for now, I think I’ll take a shower before dinner. How about asking Ben to haul my luggage upstairs, and tell mom, I’ll be down in half an hour,’ she added making her getaway to her suite.

‘Take your time sweetheart, dinner is at seven thirty,’ her father responded going in search of Ben.

Caitlin ran up the stairs, leading to her suite on the east wing.The beautiful fragrance from the bouquet of fresh lavender and white roses her mom placed on the table, reached her nostrils. Looking around the familiar room, she loved the warmth of the brightly painted orange walls. She crossed over the floor covered with black marble tiles, throwing off her sandals to walk on the ivory shaggy carpet around her four poster bed, her bare feet sinking deep into the carpet. She remembered many an evening falling asleep, content on the shaggy carpet near her fireplace.Drawn to the balcony, she opened the glass doors, and stood looking over the beautiful stream, the warm breeze blew into her face, fanning her hair about. She caught the distant tinge of salty air from the ocean, and if she listened carefully, she could hear the waves breaking against the rocks. The sound was much more pronounced from Stuart’s room, but she would not trade this view from her suite for anything. Stuart had given her the first option to choose which wing she desired, having looked through both balconies, she found hers all the more aesthetically appealing. The picturesque lake, the harmonious chatting of the birds early in the morning, the view into the nearby forest, as if it was an extension to their small holding, it was all exhilarating to her senses. Automatically her thoughts strayed to the sexy stranger she literally bumped into earlier. Perhaps a business associate of her dad was more apt than stranger, seeing he was so handsomely adorned in his trendy designer suit.She could not understand her reaction to that man. She sat across the boardroom everyday with good looking men in designer suits. Whilst their attraction to her was often plainly visible, they left her cold and uninterested. Why did her body react so shamefully to this one? Her palms had become sweaty, she had forgotten to breathe. Her breasts had ached for him to touch her, her nipples disgracefully giving her away. She groaned thinking of how she must have appeared like a fumbling love struck teenager. And why does the opinion of the arrogant, ill mannered brute matter to you? And she knew, he knew exactly the effect he had on her, his conceited smug grin had told her just that. Caitlin was certain he was rather used to women falling over themselves, losing control in his presence. He would probably bat an eyelid if it did not have that effect.

Adorned in a bright blue, satin cocktail dress, with spaghetti thin straps over the shoulders, a visible neckline, showing her cleavage to advantage, Caitlin touched up her lips with a glossy lip liner. Looking in the mirror she was pleased with the results.A fair amount of wolf whistles reached her as she descended the stairs.

‘She belongs to me,’ Tommy warned, instantly stopping all the young hot blooded males, hoping to claim her for the night. After she’d consulted Dr Tommy Bradford about her dad’s health, she had hinted that she’d not had a partner for the night, and Tommy gladly offered his services, as she knew he would.Caitlin stood on the last stair, shaking her head, waiting for Tommy to reach her.

‘Wow!’ you look __ wow! __just amazing Caitlin Sinclair,’ Tommy complimented not taking his eyes off her as he helped her down the final stair.

‘Thank you,’ she smiled at him accepting his compliment politely. Caitlin greeted the others confidently and turned to hug her mom and dad as they jointly admired her.

‘You look beautiful darling.’ Her dad complimented her.

‘Yes honey, you look magnificent tonight,’ her mom whispered with pride.

‘Thank you mom, happy birthday dad!’ she hugged him, handing him her gift, a gold encrusted fountain pen with his name engraved on it.

‘Thank you honey,’ filled with pride, he kissed his daughter.

Caitlin looked at her father adoringly. He was rather an attractive man, lean with broad shoulders, only faint traces of grey at his temples. Life had been good to Gregory Sinclair, nobody would guess he was more than fifty years old.Always positive, he smiled a lot, never one to be anxious about anything, rode every wave his life encountered with enthusiasm. He was able to see the opportunity in every challenge thrown in his path and lived by the motto, Carpe Diem! Both Stuart and Caitlin were blessed with a combination of beautiful looks from both their parents. Stuart was an exact replica of his father in all manner of ways. Caitlin acquired the calm confidence of her father, though her mother had informed her, that she had inherited the temper of her maternal grandfather. Tommy whisked Caitlin away introducing her to some of his friends. Caitlin was amazed to see some of their friends from university that she had not seen for about two years. The conversations revolved around play and fun and work and famous hideouts where they spent half their salaries on weekends.Caitlin felt at a disadvantage not indulging in as much in the social stakes as her friends did. She had an active social life with loyal girlfriends back in Johannesburg, but hardly had time in the week to engage socially. A confirmed workaholic and adrenalin junkie, her friends had long given up trying to entice her out during the week. Her eyes now scanned the room, looking to see if the dark stranger was present. She whispered to her best friend Rebecca, the tomboy of the lot that their economics professor was a guest tonight. Rebecca and Caitlin had developed a deep friendship since they were resident mates at university. A bit eccentric, was her friend, but Caitlin loved her to bits. The gang was planning a hike and bungee jump from a nearby gorge the next day and Caitlin was challenged to join them.

‘Yes or no?’ mocked Michael who ran his own successful plumbing business.

She groaned softly, not in the least enthusiastic about their mad adventure.

‘You know, in my line of work, nothing fazes me out anymore,’ he stated, embracing the challenge.

‘So are you in Caitlin?’ Rebecca impatiently pushed for an answer.

Tommy looked at her sympathetically. Caitlin sipped from her glass, a contemplative smile on her face. She wished there was an escape from this impending trap. She knew if she chickened out, they would never let her live it down. It was a rational fear to be afraid of heights, so why were they goading her so? She loved the outdoors, loved hiking, but she’d never done bungee jumping down a gorge before. Just the thought of it sent shivers down her spine. She summoned some Dutch courage. What the hell, what had she got to lose? You only die once right!

Caitlin was about to accept the challenge when her eye caught a tall, arresting figure striding in with Stuart. Oxygen! her lungs demanded. She should be exhibiting some excitement at the sight of Stuart, but her eyes were mesmerized by the tall strikingly handsome figure next to Stuart. There was no mistaking that arresting face, the broad shoulders, and those sexy hypnotic eyes, those sensual lips __

‘Well,’ they all prompted, ‘is that a yes!’ On the outside she recovered quickly, but inside her emotions seem to be on a jammed frequency, as her body and brain seemed to be exchanging all kinds of mixed signals.

‘Yes,’ she choked on her breath, accepting the challenge unwittingly, looking from Rebecca to Tommy’s eyes.

‘I’m ready to throw myself down the gorge for you,’ she conceded.Only she understood the play on the words she chose, as they all burst out laughing excitedly, drawing the attention of others around the room. By now there was a healthy buzz of excitement around.Without warning she was lifted up by her waist and swung around by Stuart, as Tommy timeously caught her glass, before they were all showered by the contents. Caitlin flung her arms around her brother excitedly hugging him, as he carefully set her on the ground again.

‘Cait, you look stunning,’ her brother growled with pride.

She hugged him again, ‘Oh! I’ve missed you Stuart. Welcome home,’ she mocked, having not seen him for about six months.

‘I’d say,’ he agreed turning to finally introduce his guests. Caitlin’s eyes off their own accord were magnetically drawn over Stuart’s shoulders and found the dark smoldering eyes she met the previous day observing her with acute interest. His lazy eyes swept over her strikingly attractive face, then lingered onher cleavage, and went all the way down the length of her long shapely legs and found its way back to her eyes.Damn it! He was doing it again she fumed inwardly. I don’t know what it is he’s does, but he’s doing it again! She told herself all confused, as her body responded to his eyes undressing her for his divine pleasure. It seemed like eternity and like time stood still for Caitlin, yet it was a few seconds later when Stuart said,

‘Cait, I’d like you to meet Nicholas Brenthurst, a business associate. Nick, meet my baby sister, Caitlin Sinclair.’

‘I’m your only sister.’ And then she added for the benefit of the owner of the mocking eyes, ‘And I’m not a baby.’ She reminded her brother.

Stuart just threw his head back laughing.

‘Clearly, a baby you are not, ‘Nicholas Brenthurst seemed to have read her accurately, extending his hand, a seductive smile accompanied the mocking eyes.

Caitlin felt the temperature too hot in the room.

‘Good evening, Ms Sinclair,’ he offered, with no trace of any of his rude manners of the previous day.

As Caitlin confidently extended her hand to his, an electrical current seemed to run through her body just at the touch of their hands.

‘How do you do?’ she responded politely too quickly withdrawing her hand, hoping nobody observed that. Her eyes were arrested by his, Caitlin saw the sardonic eyes mocking her again, as if they knew, what was happening inside of her. She wanted to slap that arrogant grin off his face. Damn the obnoxious bull. Why did he infuriate her that way?She could not comprehend the effect, this brute had on her.

Stuart then introduced the lady next to Nicholas as Samantha Burrows. Sizing the competition, the woman merely nodded at Caitlin. She was a beautiful woman, fashioned out in the latest couture on offer in the trendy fashion magazines. Her dark hair hung meticulously around her shoulders, not a strand out of place. She had enough make up on though, to sculpt a picture with. Caitlin was pleased with the effort she took to dress tonight. When Samantha Burrows looked at Caitlin, she saw a confident, intelligent looking woman, with a strikingly beautiful face and an equally fabulous body and a woman that knew the power she was able to exude. Stuart then slapped a high five with Tommy, and made introductions all round.

Those mocking eyes returned to focus on her cleavage, and tonight there was a lot more for his viewing pleasure.Perhaps she should have dressed up more conservatively to avoid his unwelcome gaze. Was it really unwelcome? You’ve been monitoring the door anticipating his entry. He cast a critical eye over Tommy. And possessively,Tommy’s arm around Caitlin’s waist tightened its hold. For once she was glad of the moral support, and leaned closer into Tommy. This was one night she did not fancy being alone. Tommy misreading her motive was visibly pleased. Tommy was tall and lean, although not as broad as Stuart or as broad as the unending muscular torso of one Nicholas Brenthurst.

‘No!’ Stop comparing Tommy to him. And why were his eyes constantly trained on her undressing her, when he was clearly not there alone? She was hardly innocent herself for her eyes constantly strayed in his direction, just as much as his did, even though Tommy’s arm was possessively around her. There was no doubt he was wickedly handsome and clearly the most attractive man in the room tonight, though she would only admit that to herself. The soft sound of the bell announced that dinner was ready. Everybody scrambled to find where they were seated.

‘You’re the most beautiful lady here tonight Caitlin,’ Tommy whispered in her ear as he led her to her seat.

‘Oh Tommy, I can’t honestly return the compliment! A naughty smile played on her face.

‘What?’ he asked suspiciously. At the corner of her eye she saw a pair of inquisitive eyes trained on her.

‘I don’t have to make apple crumble pie?’ she taunted back in his ear. It was a standing joke between them. Tommy had once informed her when they were much younger, if she could make his favourite pie as good as his mom made it, then he would marry her. TonightTommy’s ears turned a bright red, at her teasing, as he seated her. Caitlin found herself between Rebecca and Professor Damien. No prizes for guessing who was seated directly opposite her. Gregory Sinclair took his position at the head of the table and his wife on the opposite far end. Everybody seemed to be in animated conversations with the guests around them. Caitlin could hear Tommy and Nicholas exchanging comments about a recent sport event. Stuart was engrossed in something humorous Samantha had his attention about, as he laughed loudly.

‘Ouch!’ she felt the pain as she was kicked on the ankle under the table. She looked at her friend in agony.

‘I said, Isn’t he a hunk, wouldn’t you like to tear his clothes off and make love to him right on this table__

‘Who Tommy?’ Caitlin pretended innocently.

‘Not Tommy,’ Rebecca dismissed her response. ‘No the hunk next to him.’ ‘Wouldn’t you like to tear the clothes of his body and let your hands __?’

‘Okay, I get the picture!’ Caitlin cut her off frustratedly. ‘Reign in your emotions, will you Rebecca Crompton,’ she screeched in horror, stealing a quick glance at Nicholas Brenthurst. He was certainly the most gorgeous man Caitlin had ever encountered, but she would not admit that to Rebecca. His finely chiseled cheek bones and sexy chin gave him the appearance of the Greek Adonis.Intelligent, dark eyes that could be passionate if they wanted to be, or she did not doubt that hell and damnation was to be paid if he was crossed. And that seductive smile when he permitted it could melt the tip of an iceberg. He had the most beautiful slender fingers one associated with grand pianists. Caitlin let out a deep sigh wondering what it would feel like to be caressed by those fingers. Where did that come from? Colour flooded her cheeks at her train of thought. As if he sensed her looking in his direction, Nicholas caught her gaze. She almost swooned, she wanted to look away but he seemed to hold her mesmerized.She swallowed needing some air into her lungs as he accurately read her thoughts. If he wasn’t such an arrogant bull, she thought. He looked deliciously captivating in his white cocktail shirt, white dinner jacket, and black tuxedo. He smiled so easily during his conversations with others at the table. Why was she so tongue tied around him?She did not normally have difficulty talking to the opposite sex.

Caitlin willed herself to look in the direction of the professor and engaged him in small talk.

‘So Professor are you still at it, or are you also in semi retirement just like dad?’

He laughed. They were all aware of her dad’s semi retired status. ‘I have not officially retired yet,’ he replied ‘but I do run a consultancy these days, which allows me to pick and choose when to work. Incidentally, I have seen the thesis you’ve completed Caitlin, I must say you’ve done an excellent job in presenting your case.’‘Why, thank you. Professor, your critique means a lot to me.’ He smiled. ‘There is a lot of hidden talent in you my dear, perhaps I’ll engage your services in my consultancy,’ he proposed.

‘Y_you think I can make a contribution, to your consultancy?’ she exclaimed delighted. ‘Wow! that’s certainly something to consider Professor Damien,’ Caitlin responded.As the evening progressed, Caitlin could not tell what was on the menu, or what she managed to put through her lips. She only knew she had a little too much to drink though.She could hear the music on the dance floor, as couples were dancing to Elton John’s Candle in the Wind. She felt Tommy’s hand on her shoulder inviting her to dance. Disapproving eyes from across the table bore into hers.

She smiled into Tommy’s eyes and allowed him to escort her to the dance floor. She twirled around the floor gracefully in Tommy’s arms. They made a striking couple having danced together for so many years, all through their high school and university years. On many occasions others paused to admire Tom and Caitlin as they waltzed around the dance floor. Tonight was no different. Conversations stopped, couples admired the practiced moves of the handsome couple. Tom smiled happily as he glided Caitlin around the dance floor. At the corner of her eye, Caitlin observed Stuart dancing with Rebecca, she saw mischief in Rebecca’s eyes, and would hazard a guess that Rebecca was trying to glean as much about one Nicholas Brenthurst as she could. She also saw Nicholas dancing with Samantha Burrows. They weaved around in unison, certainly making a striking couple, she noticed. Samantha was whispering in his ears, and he smiled at her. Then across the room their eyes locked and Caitlin felt as if she was suspended in mid air and desperately needed to find the security of solid ground. She could not look away from the alluring eyes. It seemed to be teasing her.

‘A penny for them?’ she heard in her ear, distracting her from the arresting eyes.

Get a grip on yourself Sinclair you’re behaving like an impressionable teenager.

She locked her arms around Tommy’s neck, smiling at him, ‘I was just thinking’ she said quickly, the first thought to come to mind, ‘how beautiful that mom and dad are so in love and how they’ve stayed that way, ever since I can remember.

‘Yes, if only all marriages could stay as strong as that, there will be a lot of happier people in the world hey.’

Then her father came to claim her, as the music changed and she smiled at him, leaving Tommy’s arms and gliding lovingly into her father’s arms.

‘Oh, dad, I was just telling Tommy how wonderful it is to see you and mom so happy and still so in love.’

‘That’s all that pleases me these days honey, to wake up see the sun shining over us, loving your mom, being able to see the setting of the same sun, and being filled with peace and joy, to me that is pure bliss,’ he smiled down into her eyes, ‘And that’s my heart’s desire for you Caitlin.’

She drew closer to her dad, hugging him lovingly, If only I could find this love you speak of Dad.

Stuart was now dancing with Samantha, and she was astonished to see that Rebecca was in the arms of Nicholas. Rebecca was wasting no time, she was cooing and fluttering her eyelids and there was no mistaking the signals she was giving Nicholas.

Why couldn’t I be like Rebecca? she accused herself.Rebecca did not walk around with baggage.She went after what she wanted, and what she did not get, she just turned the page and moved on. Caitlin had a set of values she lived by, and somehow her integrity just would not allow that to be compromised. As the song ended Rebecca sought out Caitlin. Nicholas was gliding around the dance floor with Samantha again.Stuart was dancing with his mom.

‘Did you see that, girl?’Rebecca squealed with joy hardly able to contain her excitement.

‘Oh, it was pure heavenly bliss being in his arms Caitlin, if only it did not stop so soon,’ she groaned.

Caitlin laughed finding her friend’s excitement infectious.

‘I invited him to join our picnic tomorrow,’ Rebecca informed her joyously.

‘Oh marvelous,’ Caitlin moaned sarcastically. That’s all she needed, Nicholas Brenthurst’s eye witness view off her making a fool off herself as she threw herself down the gorge.

‘Lighten up Caitlin, why are you so tensed up?’ Her friend complained, ‘I think you have not had enough to drink,’ she accused, forcing a goblet of brandy into Caitlin’s hand. ‘There I challenge you to lose some of your dignity, swallow up that brandy!’ Rebecca scowled. ‘It will certainly add a sparkle to those sexy eyes of yours,’ she finished as Caitlin meekly put the glass to her mouth trying to down the contents.

‘Oh my gosh, he’s walking this way Caitlin,’ Rebecca squealed again piercing her talons into Caitlin’s wrist.

Caitlin winced. ‘I shudder to think what your lover’s back looks like when he excites you,’ Caitlin whispered, removing her friend’s claws with difficulty, rubbing her wrist against her thigh’

‘His eyes are trained on you Caitlin,’ was the only comment Rebecca offered.

Caitlin’s brain was again confused by the mixed signals her body was sending.The brandy was burning its way down her throat as it found its way into her stomach.

‘May I have this dance, Miss Sinclair?’ Nicholas Brenthurst reached out his hand smiling at Caitlin, no trace of the previous gloating in his eyes.

No! Go to hell, her brain screamed.

Caitlin taking her time stole a glance into the mocking eyes, they revealed not a thing. She handed her glass to Rebecca.

‘Excuse me,’ she told her friend, her body ignoring her brain’s instruction.

Rebecca nodded with a pained grin on her face.He held Caitlin at a respectable distance, a lazy smile dazzling her eyes. Caitlin’s eyes were locked onto his neither of them seemed able to look away, as they twirled around the dance floor. They moved around so gracefully as if they had choreographed their moves beforehand.

‘Caitlin Sinclair’ he tasted the sound of her name on his lips. The way he spoke her name, was as if he was serenading her.

‘So tell me about yourself Miss Sinclair,’ he sounded intrigued, a shift from the arrogance of yesterday.

‘Surely, you have no interest in the “misguided youth of today,”’ she hissed.

A sardonic gaze was directed her way.

‘And for your information, I’m twenty eight.’ Why was she telling him her age? She was not interested in indulging in any conversation with him, she reminded herself.

‘Feisty how interesting,’ she heard him taunt against her ear. She bit, as he knew she would.

‘What is interesting?’ she asked him irritated by his mocking manner.

‘Usually my women are eager to please me,’ he supplied.

‘Your women!’ she interposed, ‘how pathetic, do you have a bevy on call that you select to adorn your arm on demand?’ She ridiculed.

‘No, I assure you I have no challenges acquiring the company of a lady when I need to,’ he said matter of fact.

Caitlin was not surprised, he was devastatingly handsome. She was fully convinced he would be spoilt for choice. Nicholas Brenthurst, she was sure always got whatever he wanted. His arrogant and confident manner left her in no doubt of that.

‘Nevertheless you look beautiful tonight Miss Sinclair,’ he complimented, his eyes trained on hers.

‘It’s Caitlin,’ she offered, ‘Miss Sinclair reminds me of being a student and being reprimanded by the school principle.’

‘Caitlin it is then,’ he agreed.

‘So where has Stuart been hiding his gorgeous sister?’ He enquired a trace of that mocking in his eyes again.

‘My brother is not my keeper you know besides I have no interest in socializing with the likes of you or any of Stuart’s business associates. We like to keep our private and business lives apart. And I prefer to date gentlemen,’ She flung at him.

‘What’s wrong with mixing business and pleasure?’ he teased, ignoring her snide remark? ‘It certainly makes work more pleasurable,’ he added.

‘Spoken like a typical chauvinist!’ she berated him.

He threw his head back and laughed. ‘How about we just enjoy the dance?’ he murmured in her ear.

She could feel his warm breadth on her face. He drew her closer, moulding her body to his. Caitlin could feel the hard taut muscles of his thighs against hers. She felt her body responding shamefully to his proximity. Every nerve end standing to his attention, an awakening deep inside her stirring. Heavens, she did not previously know that those body parts functioned! He held her gaze and tried as she could, she could not will her eyes to look away. Caitlin could feel the brandy warming up inside her, she looked into his eyes and saw the desire she was feeling reflected in his smoldering eyes, the chemistry between them unmistakable.

His heart was beating erratically against her breasts, her nipples burning with desire in response to his closeness. She closed her eyes, leaning her cheek against his chest, just savouring the pleasure of the moment. She heard him catch his breath, it was like an electrical current entwined them together. They could not separate themselves from it, even when the music stopped they stayed close to each other unable to overcome the attraction between them. This is where you disengage, her brain told her body. Then the next song started, in unspoken agreement their bodies reacted automatically again, as they heard the Diana Ross and Julio Iglesias love song.

‘I’ve never had this feeling before,

I’ve never wanted anyone more,

And something in your eyes tells me

You feel the same way that I do,

If you would like to stay here all night…

Caitlin listened to the words drumming in her ear, her heart dancing to the rhythm she knew he heard it too for his sardonic eyes seemed to convey that he identified with the lyrics. This is ridiculous, he is a stranger! Caitlin shut her eyes, feeling herself losing control. How could a man she barely met twenty four hours ago have this kind of effect on her?She needed fresh air. She had to get away from him.

Run, Run.

‘Excuse me__’ Caitlin cut away from Nicholas and moved through the crowd and escaped into the guest bathroom. She shut herself in and leaned against the door, her heart beating erratically, her lungs screamed for relief.

‘This is absurd.’ She told herself trying to comprehend this attraction between her and Nicholas. She threw cold water on her face, ran her fingers over her neck and ears, hoping to cool herself down. What is wrong with you? She was behaving like a teenager on her first date. Caitlin eventually dragged herself out again seeing everybody in a circle on the dance floor dancing to the latest high energy pop music. It was the type of music she loved to dance to but instead, opted for the safety of the pool outside. She saw Nicholas and Samantha at one of the tables smiling and chatting with their heads down. She looked for a bottle of chilled water, found the side entrance that led to the swimming pool and escaped to try and regain control over her wayward emotions.Caitlin climbed onto one of the swinging loungers drinking in the fresh air, a gentle breeze was blowing from the ocean and she could taste the saltiness in the air. When she chose to be in Kenton, she wanted time to stand still. It had that laid back country atmosphere about it. The pace was therapeutically slow here. It was one of the most beautiful parts of the Cape. Rain was abundant all year round, agriculture grew healthily. Time was not of essence in Kenton. She looked up at the starry sky, the full moon so romantic. She sighed frustratedly. She wished she could get away back to Johannesburg, to the safety of her world, and so put some safe distance between her and Nicholas Brenthurst. Caitlin loved her career, the fast pace of life in Johannesburg, her safe social network.

‘Party too hot to handle?’ a perceptive voice interrupted her thoughts, gazing down at her spread out on the swinging lounger.

End-chapter one-

© Copyright 2019 sinaid kincaid. All rights reserved.


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