The next time Joel and Derek ran into each other was at the horse races. Dominique had gone with
Joel and Fiona, Derek with David and Phillip. It surprised Dominique that not once since Derek and
Allison parted ways had he been seen in public with another woman. It was whispered that Derek had
truly loved Allison and wasn’t yet over her. A touch of female vanity pricked Dominique’s conscience,
however, making her wonder if it was because he actually had genuine feelings for her rather than
He hadn’t pressed her any further after his pretty speech in the dress shop. But Dominique knew
instinctively that Derek was waiting for her reply, though he was not the type of man to wait for long.
She had to make a decision. Married life with Joel? Or a life with Derek, even though he’d not promised
anything specifically. For all she knew, he may have been referring to keeping her as mistress. It
wouldn’t be the first time he had tried selling that bill of goods. She didn’t remember Derek ever voicing
those most important words aloud, I love you. He had hinted at it, but never committed himself
completely. Surely he didn’t expect her to reject Joel and all he offered on the whim that Derek might do
right by her? He had to realize Dominique needed to hear something more certain.
This might be the chance she was looking for. Derek was headed straight toward them. At some
point during the afternoon Dominique would have to get Derek to herself and ask him point blank what
his intentions were.
Derek’s eyes locked with Dominique’s briefly, a sensual smile coming to his lips. Her eyebrows
raised as she knew immediately what he was thinking of––the last time they’d shared a few moments
alone at this very racetrack. Flustered, she looked away, turning her attention to the race that had just
After the first race ended, Fiona grabbed Dominique by the arm and informed Joel they were going
to walk around and see who was with whom, and who was wearing what. Chuckling at his sister’s
exuberance, he told them to have fun but to meet them back in the same spot not more than an hour
The Foursome carried on like old times, making bets among themselves on the next few races. As
David and Phillip got sidetracked talking to some other friends that happened by, Joel turned serious, his
words only for Derek’s ears.
“Did you ever speak with Dominique?”
“Yes, we had an interesting conversation.”
“Meaning?” Joel asked, forcing himself to keep an appearance of confidence, when inside he was
worried Derek had talked Dominique out of considering his proposal.”
“Meaning I offered Dominique an alternative to your marriage proposal.”
“What the bloody hell does that mean?” Joel bit out, turning his angry gaze toward Derek.