To Marry McKenzie

By: Carole Mortimer

She turned at the door. 'Yes?' she replied tautly, chin raised defiantly.

Things had been very strained between them since his announcement

yesterday morning, mainly on Darcy's side, she had to admit. But she didn't

intend letting him off the hook with a few teasing remarks. Not this time.

'Smile,' Daniel Simon advised ruefully. 'The customers prefer it!'

She only just managed to hold back her biting retort to that particular

remark, instead shooting him another scathing glance before going out the

swing doors that led directly into the restaurant.

Her footsteps became halting as she instantly recognised the man seated at

table eleven. Logan McKenzie!

She had half guessed, because of the parcel she had sent him earlier today,

and from the request to speak to 'Darcy', that it might be him—after all, he

didn't know her surname. But actually to see him sitting there, looking

ruggedly attractive in his black dinner suit and snowy white evening shirt,

briefly took her breath away.

Pull yourself together, Darcy, she instructed herself firmly. He might be one

of the handsomest men she had ever set eyes on, but she probably wasn't in

the minority in that opinion. Besides, she doubted he had come here just to

see her. In fact, as she saw the table he sat at was set for two, she was sure he


He was looking out the window as she approached, obviously waiting for

his dinner guest to join him. Good; that meant their own conversation could

be kept to a minimum.

'Mr McKenzie,' she greeted huskily as she stood beside his table.

He turned sharply at the sound of her voice, those blue eyes narrowed as he

looked up at her. 'Darcy,' he greeted smoothly, standing up. 'Join me for a

few minutes.' He indicated the chair opposite his at the table. 'Unless you

would prefer the embarrassment of my handing back your gift in full view

of everyone?' He looked pointedly around the already crowded restaurant,

his brows raised mockingly as he glanced down at the box that rested out of

general view against the leg of his chair.

Darcy sat. Abruptly. Inelegantly. Oh, not because of his threat to embarrass

her. It was the latter part of his statement that stunned her. 'Return it?' she


'Return it,' he repeated harshly. 'Just what did you think—? I don't like your

hair pulled back like that.' He broke off to frown across at her critically. 'It

dulls that bright copper colour to a muddy brown,' he opined


Darcy gave a ghost of a smile. 'That bright copper colour was the bane of

my life as I was growing up. I was called Carrots at school,' she explained at

his quizzical expression.

'Kids can be the cruellest creatures in the world,' he agreed. 'I'm sure the

male population, at least, has been more appreciative of the colour since you

reached adulthood.'

Not that she had noticed!

'Maybe,' she conceded dully. 'Mr McKenzie—'

'Logan,' he corrected sternly. 'You can hardly be so formal with a man you're

on intimate enough terms with to present with an expensive silk shirt. In the

right size, too,' he observed harshly.

Darcy moistened dry lips. 'I had a little help with that,' she admitted huskily,

having looked at her father and assessed that he and Logan were about the

same physical build. The size of shirt had been easy after that. It had been

finding the right shop to buy the shirt that had proved more difficult.

Logan's gaze was cold. 'I'm not going to ask from where. Or who!' he


Darcy gave him an uncomprehending look. 'If the shirt is the right size,' she

began slowly, 'and it's obviously the right colour, then I don't understand

why you want to return it...?'

'You don't understand!' His expression became grimmer than ever. 'Darcy,

you cannot go around presenting perfect strangers with pure silk shirts,' he

ground out between clenched teeth.

She grinned at that, realising as she did so that it was the first time she had

found anything to really smile about for some time.

Logan eyed her suspiciously. 'And just what is so funny?' he grated.

'The fact that you have already informed me that you aren't a perfect

stranger!' she reminded, her eyes glowing luminously grey.

"I wish you wouldn't do that,' Logan exclaimed, shaking his head.She raised

puzzled brows. 'Do what?'

'Smile.' He looked at her darkly.

It seemed she couldn't win this evening; Daniel Simon told her to smile,

because the customers preferred it. But this customer certainly didn't!

Darcy had no idea why Logan should prefer her not to smile—and wasn't

sure she wanted to know, either! 'Chef Simon likes us to be polite and

friendly with the customers,' she explained frigidly.

Logan studied her. 'And do you always take into account what Chef Simon


In truth, she was so angry with him at the moment, she really didn't care

what he did or didn't like!

But Logan McKenzie had been kind to her yesterday, more than kind, and

she owed him a debt of gratitude for the way he had helped her—as well as a

new white silk shirt!

'For instance, do you think he would like the fact that you spent what must

have amounted to a week's wages on buying a shirt for a man you've only

just met?' Logan persisted, the softness of his voice doing nothing to hide his