Jessica Hart

The Convenient Fiancée

Release Date: 1999

Family 'friends' Polly and Simon had never seen eye-to-eye! She'd grown up thinking he was a stuffed shirt, and he’d always disapproved of her reckless ways. When Simon tried to rescue her from a demanding employer, Polly’s instant reaction was a proud 'no'. Until Simon offered her a deal. He would support her financially – if she agreed to act as his temporary fiancée … Living with Simon was not the nightmare Polly had envisaged. As adults, they found they did have something in common: chemistry!


Sharing a bed with Simon had seemed such an obvious solution to the problem when she was standing in the hotel lobby, but it wasn't quite so easy now. If only she hadn't noticed what a nice body he had. Not as nice as Philippe's, of course, but still ... nice. It felt all wrong to notice something like that about Simon.
Polly eyed the sofa on her way out of the bathroom. Perhaps she should offer to sleep there? But she had been so casual about the prospect of sharing a bed with him that she could hardly change her mind now. She would never hear the end of it if Simon guessed that she felt the slightest bit nervous.

Anyway, she wasn't nervous, Polly told herself firmly. She had absolutely no reason to be nervous. She was just being ridiculous. All she had to do was share an enormous bed with someone she had known all her life. It was only for a night, after all. What could be so difficult about that?

Nothing, Polly decided, but it didn't stop her switching off as many lights as she could before she walked over to the bed. In the solitary glow of the lamp beside the bed she could see Simon lying on his back with his hands behind his head. Polly was annoyed to notice that he looked utterly relaxed. The thought of sharing a bed with her obviously didn't bother him!

Well, it didn't bother her, either. Polly marched over to the bed, clicked off the light and got briskly in beside Simon. It was a wide bed and there was no danger of touching him, but she was still very conscious of him lying only an arm's reach away wearing only boxer shorts.

'This is the last place I imaged I would be sleeping tonight when I woke up this morning,' she said into the darkness to cover her momentary unease.

She heard Simon sigh. 'It wasn't exactly top of my agenda either.'

'I hope Helena doesn't decide to surprise you by turning up after all,' Polly went on brightly, determined to prove that she really wasn't nervous. 'You might have a bit of explaining to do if she found you in bed with me!'

'I don't think that's very likely,' said Simon.

Barely repressing a shudder, he remembered that last nasty scene with Helena. She had made the mistake of issuing an ultimatum, and her fury when she discovered that he didn't take kindly to ultimatums had taken Simon by surprise. He had always thought of Helena as cool and controlled, but there had been absolutely nothing cool about the woman who had screamed and cried and thrown things.

Not that he had any intention of telling Polly that Helena was the last person who was likely to surprise them tonight.

'Yes, but what if she did?' persevered Polly. 'What would you say?'

'I'd simply explain the situation,' said Simon, irritation creeping into his voice. 'Helena would understand. She's met you, after all.'

Polly sat up. 'What do you mean by that?'

'Helena saw what you were like at Emily's wedding,' he reminded her.

'I was just having a good time,' she said, instantly on the defensive. 'Helena's trouble is that she doesn't know how to enjoy herself.'

'Of course she does. She's just capable of enjoying herself without downing a vat of champagne, making a complete fool of herself on the dance floor or causing grievous bodily harm in the scrum for the bouquet!'

'That was just one day,' said Polly a little sullenly, although it was almost a relief to find that Simon was as annoying as ever. It was hard to believe that she had felt awkward about getting into bed beside him! 'I'm not always like that.'

'Maybe not, but I don't think Helena would ever feel that sh

e needed to be jealous of you,' said Simon, and Polly bridled. 'Why not? It's not beyond the bounds of possibility that you might be attracted to me, is it?'

'That's not the point,' he said after only the tiniest of pauses. 'I'm not saying that you're not a pretty girl, but I've never thought of you as anything but John and Frances's da

ughter, and Helena knows that,' he finished so firmly that he even convinced himself. Faintly dissatisfied, Polly lay back down. 'I suppose it's the same for me,' she said, settling herself more comfortably under the cover. 'I never thought of you as anything except Emily and Charlie's brother. I wonder what it would take to make us think of each other differently?' she mused, quite forgetting that she had spent most of the evening getting used to seeing Simon in a different light.

Simon didn't answer. He was hoping that she would shut up and go to sleep, but Polly was still hyped-up. There had been a time in the car when she could easily have fallen asleep, but now that she had passed the peak of tiredness, the events of the evening were still buzzing around her brain.

'We'd probably have to kiss or something,' she was rambling on. 'It might be hard to keep on thinking of you as the same old Simon after that. What do you think?'

'I've no idea,' said Simon, sounding bored. 'Why don't you try it and find out?'

His question brought Polly up short. She hadn't been really thinking about what she was saying, almost talking to herself, and now Simon's cool suggestion was like walking into a wall in the dark.

Turning his head on the pillow, Simon could make out her disconcerted expression and he smiled sardonically. 'Doesn't seem like such a good idea now, does it?'

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he knew they were a mistake. Polly wouldn't be able to let a challenge like that pass, and of course she couldn't. 'Yes, it does,' she said, as he had known that she would. 'Let's try.'

'You try,' said Simon, cursing himself for a fool. 'Personally, I'm happy to go on thinking of you as I've always done.'

He didn't want to kiss her, Polly realised, miffed. Not only that, he didn't think that she would dare kiss him without any encouragement. 'All right, I will,' she said defiantly.

'Well?' sighed Simon as she hesitated. Hoping to put her off, he spread his arms in mock invitation.

Polly bit her lip, but it was too late to turn back now. Awkwardly, she edged across the mattress until she was leaning over him. They were very close. She could feel his chest rising and falling steadily as if to emphasise that he wasn't in the slightest bit excited by her nearness. Suddenly she felt rather silly.

'Are you sure you don't mind?' she asked doubtfully.

'Just get on with it, Polly,' said Simon, disguising his own awareness of her beneath a show of profound irritation. 'I don't know about you, but I'd like to get some sleep tonight.'

Up to that point Polly had been planning a quick peck just to prove that she wasn't scared, but Simon's sarcasm put her on her mettle. Shifting until she could look right down into his face, she lowered her head slowly. As she did so, a swathe of blonde hair fell forward over her shoulder and Simon felt its softness tickle his cheek moments before Polly's lips brushed his mouth tantalisingly and everything seemed to stop.

Polly felt that unexpected jolt of sensation at that first fleeting touch of their lips, too, and she froze, staring down into Simon's eyes. Part of her urged her to draw back and leave it at that. You've proved your point, it said sensibly. Get out before you make a real fool of yourself.

But there was something stronger, drawing her down, drawing her on, and without being aware of making a decision, Polly kissed Simon again. It was a proper kiss this time, a kiss that went on and on and acquired a life of its own. Polly had forgotten that this was Simon. She knew only that his mouth was warm and persuasive and that her lips seemed to belong against his. It felt so right to be kissing him, it felt frighteningly right, it felt wonderful.

Helpless against the intense pleasure that gripped her, Polly sank down onto Simon and his hands rose as if of their volition to twine in the long blonde tresses and hold her head still so that he could kiss her back. The kiss went on and on, became deeper and more urgent until Simon rolled her beneath him and Polly wound her arms around his neck, gasping at the feel of his body and the searing excitement of his hands hard against her.

Simon's fingers were sliding possessively up her smooth thigh beneath her T-shirt when he realised dimly that if he went any further he wouldn't be able to stop. It was enough to make him pause, and then, as the reality of what they were doing dropped sickeningly into place, he withdrew his hand with an effort and lifted his head.

For a long, long moment, they stared at each other in the dim night light, their breathing ragged and loud in the jarring silence.

'Well?' said Simon almost harshly at last. 'What do you think?'

'Think?' echoed Polly with difficulty. She moistened her lips. She couldn't think of anything except how good it had felt to kiss him. Her senses were afire, her body thumping, and she was having trouble concentrating. 'Think?' she said again blankly.

'Now that you've kissed me, do you think of me differently,' he reminded her.

Memory rushed back like a slap in the face, and Polly wrenched herself away from him. God, what had she been doing? It was supposed to have been a brief kiss just to show Simon, and instead .... instead ... Instead it had been something quite different. Polly swallowed. Who would have thought that Simon - Simon! - would kiss like that?

She was trembling with reaction, unable to believe how quickly that kiss had burned out of control, how abruptly it had ended. It hadn't felt like kissing Simon at all, but the sardonic undercurrent to his question sounded all too familiar. He had kissed her too, but obviously he didn't think of her any differently, Polly realised with a surge of resentment. If that kiss hadn't affected him, she was damned if she was going to admit that it had had any effect on her either!

'Not really,' she said unsteadily and untruthfully.

'Good,' said Simon with an infuriating lack of reaction. 'Now that we've cleared that up, perhaps we can get some sleep?' he went on, and calmly turning on his side so that he had his back to her, he settled himself comfortably and to Polly's fury went straight to sleep.

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