The temperature’s rising when the knight comes into Kendra’s room.
Kendra is cat-sitting for her cousin when temperatures soar and a knight comes into her room and takes off his armour. With no more than a brief phone-coaching session from her cousin’s lover, Kendra has anything but chivalry on her mind.
From the age of nineteen, Kendra and Frances were in the same romantic boat.
Kendra visualised that boat as the lifeboat that failed to launch, or the one that was up shit creek without a paddle. She and Frances even laughed about it now and then.
I know where all the good men are... (pause) Wherever we’re not!
That always made them giggle is a wry kind of way.
Frances was stunning, with red hair that naturally fell into ombre waves, and long, elegant hands. Kendra’s hair was almost black, cut short and spiky to match her pert features. She was shorter and rounder than Frances, with olive skin in contrast to Frances’s milk-and cinnamon redhead’s complexion. They agreed, without vanity, that they were a super-uber-hot pair.
Men loved them. They were never short of a date.
“Lucky we live in different states,” Kendra declared during one drunken Skype catch-up when they were twenty-one.
“Yeah, the two of us in the same town...” Frances gestured with her right hand, almost spilling her drink. “The men would have no chance, baby.”
“So,” they said together, “how’s it going with what’shisname?”
Then two hands lifted, Frances’s right and Kendra’s left, and made emphatic thumbs-down gestures.
Frances did spill her drink, effectively ending the call and almost her antiquated laptop.
As Kendra went through her twenties, the what’shisnames piled up, toppled, and fell behind in the wake of the romantic boat. They were all dicks, but it was okay. If gorgeous Frances couldn’t take a trick (or find an unencumbered dick, as she put it) the problem lay in the dicks, not in Kendra and Frances. It was obvious.
That was the situation. There had to be decent men out there, but where?
Wherever the cousins weren’t.
One Christmas, Kendra went to dinner with her aunt and uncle, surrogate parents since her own passed. Frances said she wouldn’t be there... she was off on a cruise with her what’shisname dejour. This was the only weekend he could get away.
He’s so married, thought Kendra, though Frances declared he was separated. His wife’s away. Obviously. Typical.
So, Kendra went to Christmas Dinner with her aunt and uncle, to find Frances there after all, accompanied by a what’shisname who turned out to be something other. His name was Niall Le Fay, (it would be) and he had green eyes, dark hair, an upbeat manner and a gorgeous body. Kendra could live with that and keep on smiling. It was his obvious love for Frances that made her feel cold and shrivelled. There were no PDAs. It was just there in the way he looked at her and the way she curved like a sunflower towards him.
As they cleared up the kitchen, Kendra said, trying to keep the envy out of her voice, “Where’d you find him?”
“Um...” Frances came out of her happy daze to push a long red curl back from her face. She laughed. “I didn’t find him. I bought him for a fiver at Thrifty Buys on Christmas Eve.”
Kendra blinked. “Christmas Eve?” A fiver?
“As in yesterday?”
“Last night, technically,” said Frances with a reminiscent smile.
“You met him last night in Sydney. You brought him to Brisbane today.”
“He brought me.” Frances looked dreamily into the washing up water. “He made the booking because my phone is trashed. It fell in the boiling custard.”
Oh. Only Frances could say that without feeling the need to explain.
“I thought you were going on a cruise with—what’shisname.”
“We broke up,” said Frances.
Frances lost interest in the piled-up suds and smiled at Kendra. “Last night. Right before I bought Niall.”
The smile broadened and Frances held her finger to her lips. “Shh. I know what you’re thinking, and how it looks. I would explain but you couldn’t possibly understand.”