The Wrong Sister

By: Kris Pearson



“You’re making bets again, Ms Kerrigan Lush.”

“For heaven’s sake, it’s only a figure of speech!”

“Touchy,” he teased. “Positively defensive.” Relieved the initial source of his wealth had been glossed over, he hoped it would stay that way.

“I’m not trying to hide the fact I gamble a little. Everyone gambles on something. I don’t gamble on stupid stuff.”

“So what odds do you consider acceptable?”

She narrowed her eyes, and Alexandre could have sworn he felt them cutting right into his flesh. He was enjoying their sharp exchange more than he’d enjoyed anything in months. Something about her was so alive.

“Not Russian Roulette—six to one is beyond a joke.”

“Ten to one?”

“Getting better. Still not good.”

“For example?” He leaned further forward in the chair, pleased with the excuse to watch her animated face a little longer before they got back to the interview.

“Well...” She pushed her hair back from her eyes and gazed upwards for a moment, thinking apparently of her friend who’d just been rushed to hospital. “The chances of getting a woman pregnant are about ten to one, I suppose. She’s only really fertile for about three days in every month. That’s one instance.”

“On those days the chances are a lot higher.”

“Right into Russian Roulette territory,” Kerri agreed. “Much more than that. But there are other factors—her age, her fertility, his fertility... And you have to know when those dangerous days are. She might not tell you. Could be you’d waste all that effort with huge odds against you.”

“I’ve never considered making love a wasted effort.”

“Maybe your ‘odds’ aren’t all that huge, either,” she said with a naughty grin.

Alexandre exploded with laughter. “My ‘odds’ have never been found wanting,” he shot back.

“So you claim.”

He watched as the expression of mischief faded from her lively face.

“Dammit,” she said, and took a deep breath. “This is terrible. We need to get back to the interview. I can’t write about your huge—er—odds, although our readers might be absolutely fascinated.”

His laughter escaped again. Somehow, he felt freer on this far side of the world, away from the ever-increasing weight of his responsibilities in Europe.

“Dinner, Ms Lush? I sense the conversation could be great fun. Are you free tonight, by any miracle?”

“What do you think the chances are?”

“About a hundred to one, but I’m asking anyway.”

She smiled, and kept him waiting a little longer.

“That could be very pleasant, Monsieur Beaufort. As long as you don’t keep grilling me about my bad habits, of course. They’re not so very bad, you know.”

“And as long as I don’t try to get you pregnant, I suppose?”

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