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One Perfect Night

Written by Teresa Southwick

Chapter Ten

Julie looked around the ballroom while she and Ben lingered over after-dinner coffee. His responsibilities for the evening were fulfilled and they were relaxing. Most of the more than five hundred people in this room had more money than they knew what to do with, which was why they'd scored an invitation. And she was with the guy who'd charmed them into making very generous donations.

Although the setting had probably helped, too. Sconces on the walls and overhead chandeliers shimmered like diamonds and cast a surreal glow over the room. Floral arrangements of star lilies, baby's breath and red roses smelled heavenly and looked stunning on the center of each table.

She toyed with the stem of her white rose, resting on her silver purse. "This is a very impressive venue for a date."

"I'm glad you think so, but I preferred our last date."

"Why is that?" A shiver trembled through her when his thigh brushed against hers. They were sitting very close and the spicy scent of his skin mingled with the sweet fragrance of the flowers. The combination was intoxicating. "The only thing that would make this place better is if it were in Paris. Or Rome. Possibly Greece overlooking the Mediterranean."

"The restaurant I took you to may not have been in Rome, but it did have Italian food. And I liked that it was smaller. More intimate." His gaze met hers and held for several moments. "And not every man in the place was checking out my date."

"Oh, please." She scanned the room again. Their table for eight was empty now except for the two of them. Some people had gone home. Others were on the dance floor enjoying the four-piece band playing a waltz. Still others stood in small groups chatting. "No one's looking at me."

"I am." He rested his arm across the back of her chair, his fingers close enough to touch her shoulder. "I can't take my eyes off you. And neither can most of the guys in this room."

"So not true. I'm nobody."

"Not to me."

"Who would even notice me? I didn't make a speech or introduce anyone who did. Thank goodness."

"Public speaking isn't your thing?"

"I'd rather walk barefoot on burning coals." She shuddered. "But your remarks were great. Funny. Charming. And poignant. Especially with the big screen behind the podium showing slides of the sick kids. The before and after pictures were a great way of showing the difference Mercy Medical Center made in getting the kids well."

"There's always a need," he said. "And programs to keep kids healthy are as important as medical intervention when they get sick. Vaccinations. Medical and dental check-ups. Even shoes and coats if they can't afford them."

There was a passionate sincerity in his voice that jumped out at her. "It sounds as if you really like children. That this isn't just doing your job."

"I do. Very much."

"I'm guessing you'd like some of your own."

"You'd guess right."

"Are you sorry the baby wasn't yours?"

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About the author

I discovered my love for books through being lazy. In a high-school hi...

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Teresa Southwick

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