It seemed to Paula it might not take too much pretending to like the man who was grinning at her with such boyish charm.
But then he spoiled it.
"We're pretending for him." He tilted his head ever so slightly, and she slid a look. There was a photographer with a camera pointed at them!
"Why is that man taking pictures of you?" she whispered.
"My name's Noah Sheridan. I'm not famous, and I don't have any desire to be. I made the unfortunate choice of hanging out with someone who is, though, and have become interesting by association. I feel like a fox in front of hounds. Will you help me send the hounds after the wrong tracks?"
This was not the type of man who would give her a second glance if she was serving him in the tea shop.
It was only because she was in the VIP section—and in Isabella's beautiful clothes—that he was asking her to play a little game with him. He obviously thought Paula was someone she was not. Someone sophisticated and fun and given to impulses, and who would say yes in a second to life offering her an unexpected game to play.
She really should say no to this. She was not good, really, at any kind of pretense.
On the other hand, he was looking at her sweetly and beseechingly, as if she held his life in her hands. When was the last time she'd had a chance to be with a fellow American? Speak English? Use slang that didn't earn her baffled looks?
Why not lighten up?
Why not forget, just for a little while, the weight of all her responsibilities and worries? Why not pretend, just for an hour or two, to be exactly who he thought she was? Carefree and spontaneous in the way of a wealthy socialite, the kind of woman who had never had to worry about a single thing in her whole life?
"Count me in," she said.
Noah threw back his head and laughed. A server was going by with a tray and he snagged two glasses off it, and handed one to her.
Paula took it.
"To us," he said, lifting his glass. She lifted hers, and they touched rims. It was real glass and she could hear it clink even over the sound of the concert. She took a tentative sip. Apparently complimentary champagne was served in the VIP section.
"To us," she agreed.
He laughed again. "I don't even know who you are."
Her name, Paula, suddenly felt like a name that belonged to someone dull and somewhat defeated, and she was not going to be that. At least not for the next few hours!
She tried to think of an exotic name. What book was she reading right now? Didn't the heroine have a wonderful name? Her mind was blank. All she could remember was that it was—
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