Will the preconceived notions and stereotypes keep them apart or do opposites really attract?
Kasim has heard about a writer he thinks writes for a filthy rag, as he calls magazines that do personal stories. When he discovers that the daughter of the trainer his uncle is intending to use for his horses at Newmarket is that writer, he is scornful.
Cassie tries to persuade him she is fit to take over as a temporary trainer when her father needs time off for illness, but she isn't prepared for the love/hate relationship between them.
Can she convince Kasim that she isn't what he thinks – and can they overcome the differences between them?
"Please come in, Mr. Ahmed," Helen was saying. "We have been looking forward to your visit. I am terribly sorry that neither my husband nor I were here to greet you yesterday, and unfortunately, my husband has had to stay in hospital for a few days—but my daughter will look after you."
Cassie's eyes met the impostor's and the look she gave him made him blink. She held back the biting words until she could be certain of getting him alone, because he was offering to shake her mother's hand, introducing his lawyer as Ben Harrison, an Englishman whom he'd met at Oxford and who now worked for him on a permanent basis.
"I was concerned to hear that Josh was ill," he said, notching up another mark on Cassie's list for daring to use her father's name so familiarly. "I shall find time to visit him soon—how long will he be in the hospital?"
"A few days, no more," Helen said, smiling at him nervously. "I wondered if you and Mr. Harrison would have some lunch after you've had a look at the accounts? It is just a cold buffet, mostly salads and things."
"Yes, thank you," he accepted easily. "I expect to be checking records for some hours and it would be nice to eat in the office as we work—if that is all right with you, Mrs. Livingston? We can just help ourselves and pick. A dreadful habit, but I seldom have time to sit down for a meal."
"Oh, lovely," she said, feeling relieved because the thought of sitting through a formal meal with him was daunting. "I'll let you know when it's on the table—in about two hours—and then you can help yourselves."
Ben Harrison thanked her, asked if they could possibly have coffee now, and looked at Cassie. "You must be Miss Livingston," he said and gave her a friendly smile. "Are you ready to get started?"
"If I may, I should like a private word with Mr. Ahmed first?"
"Cassie?" Her mother looked at her in surprise.
"Yes, of course, Cassie. A message from your father I expect." The impostor was as cool as an iced cucumber and too fantastic-looking for her peace of mind—but that wouldn't save him, even if he did make her knees turn to jelly every time he looked at her.
"In his office if you don't mind."
Cassie's clipped tones would have warned any of her colleagues that a storm was brewing, but he seemed impervious—or maybe he was so damned sure of himself that he didn't care. He followed her into the office, leaving the door slightly ajar. Cassie closed it, turned, and gave him her best Cassandra look, calculated to slay at fifteen paces. He didn't turn a hair, damn him!
"And what do you call this?" She held the newspaper photograph out to him. "Why are you here, Mr. Mohamed? Or whatever your name is."
"I have a string of them," he replied mildly. "You chose to use Ahmed. I didn't correct you, because it is a name I am entitled to use though seldom do."
"But you're an impostor!" Cassie burst out. "You're not Sheikh Ali bin Ahmed. You're not the man my father intended to do business with—so why are you here? Was it to spy on Barmy?"
"Who or what is Barmy? I'm sorry. I have no idea what you're talking about."
"The two-year-old my father thinks is a future Classic winner. I suppose you think you can buy him on the cheap?"
"Ah yes, that horse—I might consider buying him," he said, a faint smile on his lips. "Tell me—why do you call him Barmy?"
"Don't try to charm me," Cassie said furiously. "I know you for what you are now and…"
She was in full flood, her voice rising when he suddenly took two steps towards her, grabbed her, and kissed her hard on the mouth. It was a cold, ruthless, punishing kiss with no tenderness intended and it took her breath away. When he let go of her she almost stumbled, and only her feeling of utter shock stopped her striking out in retaliation. She needed a few seconds to get her breath back, and a few more to bring her mind under control. The warm feel of his mouth on hers, even though hard and impersonal, had sent such a wave of desire through her that she felt as if she were caught in her dream again. Except that he had been smiling at her then; now he looked as if he wanted to break her neck.
"Why did you do that?"