Totally disbelieving the evidence of her own ears, Star very slowly picked her head up and attempted to focus on Luc across the depth of the room. ‘S-sorry?’ she stammered helplessly.
Luc hauled himself off the pillows with one powerful hand. ‘Don’t you dare play games with me,’ he warned in low-pitched but forceful continuance. ‘I’m not in the mood for what you fondly imagine figures as verbal foreplay!’
Star sat up with a jerk, clutching the bedspread to herself. The pool of light round the vast bed illuminated the hard cast of his stunning dark features, the perceptible tension in the knotted muscles of his wide brown shoulders. The sheet was at his waist, startlingly white against his magnificent torso. He looked startlingly handsome and startlingly intimidating. Angry too. About what? She could feel that anger. Why was he so angry? What had she done?
‘You seem to have the idea that I’ve been angling for some sort of approach,’ Star breathed with hot cheeks, her annoyance with him somewhat tempered by the fear that she had somehow been putting out sexually inviting vibes as easily read as placards. ‘But I honestly haven’t been…at least, not knowingly.’
‘You are as hungry for me as I am for you, mon ange,’ Luc breathed in impatient interruption.
Star tore her dismayed eyes from his challenging scrutiny. ‘You’re very up-front about this sort of stuff, aren’t you? Can I use an analogy here? If I ate as much chocolate as I’d like to, I wouldn’t fit my clothes, so I control myself. Wanting to rip your clothes off all the time…well, it’s much the same thing.’
‘Mon Dieu…God give me strength,’ Luc growled half under his breath.
‘It is, whether you can see it or not,’ Star persisted, pleating the spread between her restive, taut fingers and not looking at him lest she lose the thread of what she was trying to say. ‘Last night we should just leave in the past—’
Luc groaned out loud.
‘You’re like too much chocolate, you’re bad for me, and I really don’t want to be tempted to do what’s bad for me…and bad for you too.’
Luc sprang out of bed. As he crossed the room, Star kept her head down and talked faster than ever. ‘Now I could be really angry with you for phrasing your invitation to join you the way you did…but I’m making allowance for the fact that maybe you’re annoyed with me for still seeming attractive to you. And maybe you’re tired and just not used to having to ask with all these women throwing themselves at you…what are you doing?’ she squealed in disconcertion.
Luc clamped his hands to her waist and lifted her off the sofa to hold her in mid-air. ‘I am not bad for you. I am probably the sanest man you ever shared a bedroom with. Whether I’ll still be sane at the end of the summer is anybody’s guess. Think of me as a chocoholic, wholly at the mercy of ungovernable greed. Be compassionate,’ he urged thickly.
Star remembered wanting him on his knees with lust for her. Her own feet were dangling a good foot and a half off the floor. He wasn’t quite begging but he was certainly on the road to very, very keen. And there was something in those stunning dark frustrated eyes that just filled her to overflowing with sympathy and longing and…?
As he interpreted the dreamy look in her aquamarine eyes with the instant recognition of a male who had once seen no other expression but that in her gaze, a blazing smile of satisfaction flashed across his lean strong face. Her heart literally tilted on its axis.
‘Indulge yourself with me, mon ange,’ Luc invited in a husky tone that made every nerve-ending in her treacherous body sit up and sing.
Common sense made a mighty and praiseworthy attempt to be heard inside her head. ‘I can’t…I mustn’t!’
Luc laid her down on the bed with the sort of achingly tender care she had not experienced since his accidental consummation of their marriage. The thoughts in her head started seeming detached from reality.
Luc gazed down at her with glittering dark eyes of hunger and then stilled, a more grave expression forming on his darkly handsome features. ‘Obviously I will look after you and the twins for as long as you need me to do so.’