a checklist for her ideal man is going a step too far. But she has one, and she’s sticking to it.
friendship group still unattached. But that doesn’t mean she’s going to lower her standards.
Cate’s list. It’s unthinkable that she would develop feelings for him, and yet … Cate finds herself being drawn to Dave in a way she’s never felt before.
list she could ever dream up?
City Love series: Who’s Who
Our Leading Lady: Cate Harmon
Cate doesn’t know how gorgeous she really is. She thinks she’s pretty normal, which at times probably equals boring! An accountant who made the change to financial planning, she’s enjoying her new role but knows people think it’s pretty dull.
Dull is just fine by Cate though. After her difficult upbringing, a steady career and financial stability is important to her. The other thing that’s important to her is finding the right man to settle down with. She wants to have kids and give them the upbringing she was never fortunate enough to have, so she’s got to be absolutely sure that the man in her life meets the grade. It doesn’t help that she’s a hopeless romantic though!
Leading man: Dave Worthington
Dave’s not much of a conversationalist. He generally finds it easier to keep his mouth shut and just get on with things. He’s focused on building his plumbing business and when it comes to love, his collection of vintage cars is all he needs. Or at least that’s what he tells himself.
When he meets Cate, he’s speechless for entirely different reasons. She’s both practical and sweet and it’s a combination Dave finds damn hard to resist even when he knows it’s a bad idea.
He’s not sure he can give her what she deserves, not to mention he vowed never to give his heart away again . . .
Christa is Cate’s flat mate and one of her closest friends. Cate loves Christa for her bubbly approach to life. Christa is creative, spontaneous and outgoing. Cate also loves Christa’s positive outlook on life and relies on her friend for advice and support regularly. She’s the sister Cate never had.
Maddy is another friend Cate knows she can rely on through thick and thin, and values Maddy’s thoughtful and objective opinions.
Cate and Scarlett probably wouldn’t be friends, except Christa and Scarlett went to university together and are firm friends. Scarlett is prickly and blunt, and her sarcastic wit often catches Cate unawares.
She’s also an incredibly talented artist and can teach Cate a thing or two about being passionate about what you believe in. In Wish List, they discover they have more common ground than they thought, and Cate grows to respect Scarlett’s opinions.
I handed him a few of our brochures and outlined the steps and costs involved in preparing a financial plan. I was careful to stress that it would be a long-term relationship. And that we’d be reviewing the plan regularly and reassess things if need be.
When I was finished, I offered him another smile. “Do you have any questions?”
I hesitated, then forced myself to straighten in my seat. He was a potential client, like any other, I reminded myself. “It’s not just me you’ll be working with,” I explained, “there’s a team of us.”
“I know. But why should you be my main point of contact?”
I gave him an odd look. In the last twelve months, I’d had to sell myself and the firm’s services numerous times. Up until now though, no one had ever been so direct. I straightened in my seat. If he preferred direct, I’d give him direct.
“I’m a qualified tax accountant with a decade of experience working on the accounts of small to medium businesses. Last year I completed my diploma in financial planning. I’m retentive enough to never miss the detail but my experience means I’m good at the bigger picture, which is important when building a solid financial plan.”
“I read your bio on the website.”
“Oh, of course,” I said, flustered. He’d researched me beforehand. Completely understandable but disturbing nonetheless. Not to mention the cheesy image of me on the company’s website that I hated. “What else would you like to know?”
“What are you like to work with?”
I thought carefully for a moment. “I’m very pleasant to deal with.”
“Pleasant?” He smirked at me, and for the first time that day, those golden eyes seemed to light up.
Oh God, I had not just said that. Yes, it was the truth, but sometimes the truth sounded lame. “I’m also very responsive,” I said, a tad defensively.
OK, so he was grinning at me now.
“What I mean,” I said slowly, “is that I’m always available to talk. I make a point of making time for my clients.”
Dave nodded and appeared to be trying to swallow his grin.
I’d had enough. Yes, he was a potential client and a particularly attractive man, but he couldn’t just come in here and make fun of me. I was damn good at my job, and the fact was, the relationship between a financial planner and a client worked both ways.
I crossed my arms and narrowed my eyes at him. “What are you like to work with?”
His smile faded at the challenging tone of my voice. “I’m sorry?”
“You, Dave. How am I going to find having a relationship with you?” I bit my lip. Whoops. Professional relationship, I desperately wanted to add, but it was too late now. I felt myself flush. Way to go, Cate.
His lips were twitching again. “I’m pretty easy going.”
“Sometimes that’s another word for lazy,” I shot back. OK, so perhaps that wasn’t quite so professional of me.
His eyebrows shot up, and I think he looked impressed. “No, Cate, I’m not lazy. I just learned a while back there’s only a few things in life that are worth getting really worked up about.”
Was he saying I was worked up? I didn’t care. “That’s it? You’re easy going?”
His smile was accompanied by a soft rumbling laugh. It was one of those smiles. I wasn’t sure if it was the sound of his deep chuckle or that he was offering me a rare glimpse of his happy face, but either way, it was enough to make a girl lose her breath altogether and clench her toes. And possibly other parts of one’s body, but I wasn’t going to think about that right now.
Once Dave was finished laughing at me, he rubbed a hand over his mouth, like he was trying to wipe the smile off his face. He had nice lips. He had quite a wide mouth and his lips weren’t really thick or too thin. They were just nice looking lips.
And I was sitting in my office, opposite a potential new client, assessing the virtues of his lips. Back to earth, Cate, I scolded myself inwardly.
He was still rubbing his lips thoughtfully.
Stop it! I wanted to shout.
To my relief, he dropped his hand. “I won’t lie, Cate. It can take a while to get to know me, but once you do, you’ll find I’m a decent sort of guy. I don’t enter into relationships lightly, so you can be sure if I choose you, I’ll be in it for the long-term.”
I stared at him. I knew, with every logical bone in my body, that he was referring to a professional relationship, but then why didn’t it feel like it?
For now she’ll have to settle with her son’s Hot Wheels collection and writing hot male leads with sports cars.