‘I thought you would’ve been in bed by now,’ Luc drawled with the most staggering lack of expression. He said it lightly, casually, as if they had been sharing a bedroom for years.
Star spun round. Her brow furrowed, her eyes bewildered as she ran that sentence back through her brain. ‘You think I’m going to sleep in here…with you?’
A very faint smile tugged at the edges of Luc’s wide, sensual mouth. ‘Why so shocked?’
STAR gaped at Luc, aquamarine eyes at their widest. She could not credit that he could actually expect her to share a bedroom with him.
‘No more drama, please…’ Luc urged with soft, silken derision as he loosened his well-cut jacket and shrugged out of it to stroll in the direction of the dressing room.
‘We’d both be very uncomfortable in the same room!’ Star folded her arms together in a jerky movement. ‘I’ll use one of the rooms next door—’
‘J’insiste,’ Luc responded very, very quietly.
The sheer appalling arrogance of that assurance that he would not take no for an answer shook Star. ‘It’s quite unnecessary for us to—’
Brilliant dark eyes cool as ice, Luc swung back from about thirty feet away and moved back towards her at a leisurely pace that was oddly intimidating. ‘Ecoutes-moi…listen to me,’ he commanded with natural authority. ‘As I will not be here very often this summer, the very least we can do in support of this charade is occupy the same room. When it is time to demonstrate waning enthusiasm for that intimacy, you can move out, but not before that point.’
‘Emilie would never dream of enquiring into our sleeping arrangements!’ Star argued.
‘But she will certainly notice them. I am not a demonstrative man. I am no actor,’ Luc disclaimed with growing impatience. ‘That we sleep in the same bed is likely to be the sole evidence she sees of our supposed reconciliation!’
Star’s chin came up. ‘I’d rather settle for you bringing flowers home on Friday evenings. Surely even you could manage that!’
Luc sent her a gleaming glance. ‘The flowers are your department. I got a dozen red roses every day of the six weeks we were together. They were delivered to the very door of my office with cute little handwritten cards attached. My staff took extraordinary steps to get the chance to read those cards before I did. Surely you don’t think I could have forgotten that experience?’
A crimson blush now flamed over Star’s taut cheekbones.
‘Should you be thinking of repeating that romantic gesture, do you think it would be possible for you to put the cards into sealed envelopes?’
Fury and intense mortification were licking like flames through Star’s slender length. ‘Don’t worry about it…I’ll never ever send you flowers again!’
‘And while we’re on the subject, you’re not getting my mobile phone number until you assure me that it will only be used in an emergency.’
‘I’ve grown out of any desire to keep hourly tabs on your whereabouts!’ Star bit out between gritted teeth, eager to escape the dialogue and turning away. ‘Well, if I’m going to be stuck in here with you, I’m sleeping on the sofa.’
Luc surveyed the gilded sofa which had been in the family since the late eighteenth century. He said nothing. He knew a marble slab would have offered as much comfort.
Star stalked into the dressing room and rattled and banged through loads of drawers and closets before she found her own small stock of clothing. Gathering up nightwear, she headed for the bathroom. Stripping off her clothes with trembling hands of angry frustration, she switched on the shower. She yelped as enervating jets of water hit her tense body from all directions. Her hair soaked, she threw herself down on the seat in the corner. It was typical of Luc to have a shower with more confusing controls than a rocket ship!
She pictured him as she had last seen him in the bedroom. Tailored silk shirt partially unbuttoned to show a riveting triangle of golden brown skin, taut, flat stomach, lean hips and long hard thighs encased in charcoal-grey trousers cut to enhance every lithe masculine line of his tightly muscled length. A treacherous burst of warmth low in her belly made her tense up even more. She clenched her teeth, hating herself for being so weak. She’d stood there arguing with him and burning for him at the same time. It was sick, indecent.