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She felt Michael approach and pulled her gaze away from Jack’s. Who was the woman with Jack? She was beautiful with an expensive dress and shoes and she was hanging on Jack’s arm with the attitude of a woman who knew him extremely well.

Michael handed her some champagne. “Don’t look at him,” he murmured close to her ear. “Let’s dance.”

She nodded dumbly and cast one last look over her shoulder as Michael pulled her away.

Why was Jack here? Lacey had been a sponsor of the Dental Van Project for three years, and she’d never seen him attend the fundraiser before. It must be his date. She’d probably dragged him to the fete.

Lacey didn’t get a chance to sip her champagne before Michael handed it back to a waiter and spun her out on the dance floor. She caught her breath and smiled weakly at him, thankful for his attention and relieved to move her feet after those uncomfortable long seconds. Michael was one of those unusual men who danced well and actually enjoyed it. His hand on her bare back was warm, and Lacey felt her stiff spine relax.

“Did you know he’d be here?” Lacey couldn’t say his name.

“No. But I’m not surprised he’s here.”

She tilted her head back to look at Michael. “What do you mean?” Had Jack found out she was coming and decided to show up? Her heart rate doubled.

Michael was silent for a second. “His date is one of the premier fundraiser divas in the city.” His words were short, clipped.

“Oh.” Her shoulders wilted a bit.

They slowly twirled about the floor, neither speaking. With Michael she didn’t feel obligated to make small talk. He was always cozy and comfortable. Sort of like her cats.

A dancing couple brushed against them and Lacey glanced up in time to see her father close by with a young woman in his arms. James Campbell looked fantastic in his tux. “I’ll see you at the apartment tonight?” her father asked.

Lacey nodded.

Her father looked directly at Michael. “Keep her safe.”

“Of course, sir.”

Her father spun his dance partner away.

The sight sparked a smile on Lacey’s lips.

“He’s having a wonderful time.”

“He’s in his element in a social situation like this.” Michael paused as he watched the couple. “Your mother would have hated this place.”

Lacey laughed. Michael was so right. Her mother never had patience with glitzy fundraisers. Lacey’s smile faded a bit at the memory of her mother.

“Do you want to leave?”

Her chin came up.

“No. Absolutely not.”

“Good.” Michael stared over her shoulder. “But you better put on a happy face.”


“Could I dance with Lacey?” A familiar low voice spoke behind her.

They stopped moving and Lacey felt heat from Jack’s body touch her exposed back. Apprehension waltzed up her spine and she slowly turned from Michael to face the source of that heat. Jack wasn’t looking at her. His hard gaze was on her dance partner. “No problem.”

And she was in Jack’s arms. He held her closer than Michael did. Firmer too. His grip was possessive, his touch smoldering on her back. Lacey was speechless for a full thirty seconds.

“Are you enjoying the party?” she asked, floundering for words. She brought her gaze up and was snared by the intensity in his eyes. Still hot and steely gray.

“I am now.”

She blinked and focused on the buttons on his shirt, reliving the harsh words she’d thrown at him that morning. She’d overdone it. But he was offering an olive branch.

“Flirting with me in front of your date isn’t very polite,” she stated. She’d a felt a prick of sympathy for the woman. A very small prick.

He didn’t answer. But instead, his mouth showed the smartest-ass grin she’d seen on him yet.

She stopped moving and his grin widened.

“What’s wrong? What is so funny?”

“My sister wants to know where you bought your dress.”

“Your what?” she squeaked.

“My sister,” he answered firmly. “She likes your dress.” His eyes twinkled. “And so do I. Very much.” He stepped away from her the littlest bit and deliberately let his gaze roll over her from head to toe.

She moved into him to block his view of her dress and tipped up her nose. “Saks,” she replied primly. She was going to say something to Michael later for deliberately not telling her the woman was Jack’s sister.

He tossed back his head and laughed, ignoring the glances of the other dancers. Still chuckling, he spun her around in a tight circle and planted a kiss on her forehead.

Lacey’s heart leaped.

Melody arched a perfectly waxed brow as she watched her brother laugh. He did know the woman. Why had he ignored her when she’d pestered him for the blonde’s name? Her gaze slid over the black backless dress, knowing she could never wear a dress like that. Too many moles dotted her back. She’d had the bigger ones removed, but was still self-conscious about the others.

She grabbed the arm of another organizer passing by. “Sheila, who’s my brother dancing with?” The heavily diamonded woman stopped and squinted Jack’s way.

“I don’t know,” Sheila murmured and flicked a wrist. “Never saw her before. Oh! Wait a minute.” She squinted again as the blonde woman’s face came into view.

“I think that’s Dr. Campbell. I don’t remember her first name. Something about fashion.”