Agent double

It Happened One Night

By: Kathie DeNosky


Three years later

Standing in the hallway outside the meeting rooms at the Texas Cattleman’s Club, Kiley Roberts sighed heavily. If she hadn’t had enough problems dealing with the vandalism of the club’s new day care center a few months ago, now she was about to face the funding committee to ask for an increase in funds to run it. Unfortunately, from everything she had heard, she was facing an uphill battle. Several of the committeemen had been extremely vocal about not seeing the need to provide child care for club members, and among them was the chairman of the funding committee, Josh Gordon.

They had never been formally introduced and she didn’t even know if he knew who she was. But she knew him and just the thought of having to deal with the man made her cringe with embarrassment.

Every detail of what happened that night three years ago had played through her mind since discovering that Josh was a member of the club. But when she learned he was chairman of the funding committee—the very committee that controlled the money to run the day care center—she felt as if she’d been kicked in the stomach. Being the center’s director, she had to go to the committee for approval on everything outside of the budget they had set for it. That meant she would frequently have to deal with him.

She took a deep fortifying breath. How could fate be so cruel?

If she hadn’t been half-asleep and wanting so badly to believe that Mark—her then-boyfriend and now ex-husband—had followed her to her sister’s apartment to apologize for the argument they’d had, the incident three years ago would have never taken place. She would have realized right away that Josh wasn’t Mark and stopped him before things went too far.

Kiley shook her head at her own foolishness. She should have known when Josh kissed her with such passion that the man in bed with her wasn’t Mark. The only thing Mark had ever been passionate about was himself.

Sighing, she straightened her shoulders. There was nothing she could do about it now, and there was no sense in dwelling on something she couldn’t change. She just wished anyone other than Josh Gordon was heading up the funding committee. Aside from the humiliating incident, he had broken her sister’s heart when he abruptly ended things between them a month or so after that fateful night, and Kiley simply didn’t trust him.

When the door to the meeting room opened, interrupting her tumultuous thoughts, a man she assumed to be one of the members motioned toward her. “Ms. Roberts, the committee is ready to hear from you now.”

Nodding, Kiley took a deep breath and forced her feet to move forward when what she really wanted to do was turn around and head in the opposite direction. “Thank you.”

As she walked toward the long table at the head of the room where Josh sat with three men and a woman, she focused on them instead of Josh. The only two she recognized were Beau Hacket and Paul Windsor. Great. They seemed to be the unofficial leaders of those opposed to the day care center and it was just her luck that they both happened to be on the funding committee. Kiley’s only hope was to appeal to the lone female member and the man sitting next to her.

“Good afternoon,” she said, forcing herself to give them all a cheerful smile when she was feeling anything but optimistic.

“What can we do for you today…” Josh glanced at the papers on the table in front of him as if checking for her name “…Ms. Roberts?”

When their gazes finally met, she felt a little better. She had been hired by the club’s personnel director and had managed to avoid coming face-to-face with Josh in the short time she had been working at the Texas Cattleman’s Club. But now, she realized her nervousness had been unfounded. Apparently Lori had never mentioned her by name and thanks to the blackout curtains her sister preferred, neither of them had been able to see the other that night. Deciding he was either a good enough actor to deserve an Academy Award or he had no idea who she was, her confidence returned.

“As the director, I’m here to ask the committee to consider appropriating additional funds for the day care center,” she stated, surprised her voice sounded strong and steady in spite of her earlier case of jangled nerves.

“What for?” Beau Hacket demanded. “We’ve already budgeted more than is necessary to babysit a bunch of little kids.”

“I can’t believe you just said that,” the middle-aged woman seated to Josh’s right said, glaring at Beau.

Kiley watched Josh give the man a disapproving glare before he turned his attention back to her. “What do you think you need the additional funds for, Ms. Roberts?”

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