‘No, it is not OK!’ Luc thundered back at her. ‘You will have no further contact with him. And if you think for one moment that I intend to be put on trial as a stud for the summer, you are out of your crazy mind!’
Star felt frozen from neck to toe. She looked up at the superb ornate ceiling, exhaustion creeping over her. ‘I wouldn’t worry about that if I were you. I have no plans to ever sleep with you again, Luc Sarrazin. Are you going to apologise? Because if you’re not, you can leave.’
As the silence lingered, Luc closed his eyes and counted to ten, then to twenty. This terrible rage she evoked. He felt as if he was coming apart at the seams. He felt gutted. He strode into the dressing room and flipped the door shut. She loved Rory like a friend? She had to have slept with the guy. Of course she had! All those months when he himself had been…He just could not stand to think about that, rammed that thought train back down into his subconscious. It leapt out again like an evil genie. Who was the smartass who’d told her to experiment?
* * *
Star wakened a couple of hours later, amazed that she had just dropped off to sleep. There was a note on the pillow beside her. She lifted it with a frown, everything that had happened between her and Luc flooding back.
‘Urgent appointment to keep. Sorry, Luc,’ the note ran.
He was gone. She had chased him back to Paris. Her eyes stung like mad with tears. It had been thirty-six hours of mostly hell, but she couldn’t bear him that far away from her—especially after a violent row. All she had done was fight with him. What had got into her? He couldn’t stand scenes. All right, so it hadn’t been the most tempting invitation to stay married, but she could have been more tactful. He had been shocked when she’d announced that she would prefer to go for the trial reconciliation rather than the for ever and for ever challenge.
She didn’t even have the number of his mobile phone. She didn’t even know when he was coming back. Six lousy words, and one of those his own name. She buried her face in the pillow and sobbed her heart out.
BY THREE that afternoon, Star was dry-eyed. As Luc had promised, all the rest of her possessions had arrived and she was in the midst of organising a workroom for herself.
She had picked a room on the ground floor, where the light was particularly good and the view from the windows inspirational. The shop which had bought her first small embroidered canvases had indicated an interest in seeing more of her pictures. As she didn’t know what was likely to be happening between her and Luc at the end of the summer, she needed to be every bit as disciplined at forging a career as an artist as she had been at home. The ability to be self-supporting, whether it was necessary or not, was important to her self-esteem.
Her body had a slight, definite ache, which was as strong a reminder of Luc’s infuriating absence as it was of her own weak physical self. Of course Luc had been furious with her. Luc always thought he knew best. But he didn’t necessarily know what was best for her. Luc could be terrifyingly self-sufficient, and she needed more than she had naively wanted eighteen months earlier. She hadn’t even understood that herself until he had suggested staying together solely for the twins’ benefit.
Granted, Luc wasn’t ever going to fall madly in love with her: no longer did she wish for the moon. But if Luc couldn’t love her, he had to respect her, care for her well-being and stop treating her like an overgrown child who couldn’t be trusted to express a sensible opinion of her own.
A maid appeared at the door to tell her that there was a call for her.
Star swept up the phone.
Star stiffened, still furious at the unfeeling way he had vanished while she was asleep. ‘I know. Don’t tell me. You’re too busy to come home for dinner?’
‘I’m afraid that I somehow overlooked an emergency meeting on the current stockmarket crisis—’
She didn’t believe him. He never overlooked anything. He just didn’t want to come home. ‘So where’s the meeting?’ she enquired very coolly.
Singapore? Aghast, she studied her own white-knuckled grip on the phone. How many hours did it take to fly to Singapore? Was he even likely to make it back for dinner tomorrow evening? She didn’t think so. The fight went out of her. She went limp