‘Yesterday…you had this yesterday?’ Star frowned, wondering why he hadn’t shared it with her sooner.
Luc reached for her hand suddenly, and gripped it very tightly in his, his tension palpable. ‘I just have this very strong feeling that Bruno Vence is your father. I met him last year at a business conference. I noticed his eyes were like yours, a very distinctive and unique colour, but I never thought anything of it. Now I’m thinking…’
‘Luc, what’s wrong?’
‘Nothing is wrong,’ he stated almost aggressively.
‘Even if he is my father, and I really do think that’s a very far-fetched idea,’ Star told him gently, ‘I won’t be upset. Is that what you’re worrying about? All I care about is that he should be good to Mum. But, most of all, I don’t want anything to spoil this wonderful day.’
‘So far it’s been a shambles!’ Luc groaned.
‘No…no, I was very stupid, but nothing’s been spoilt for me because I still have you here beside me,’ Star swore soothingly, smoothing his tense fingers with her free hand. ‘And you are very, very special to me, and so is our marriage. I know now that I want to be with you for ever, Luc, and I’m sorry it took me so long to admit that.’
Luc was very still, and then he released his breath in a sudden hiss. Snapping his arms round her tiny waist, he took her into his arms and kissed her half senseless with an almost desperate passion that just blew her away. He was pleased. She got that message. Probably because he now had the assurance that she was never, ever going to take the children he adored away from him, she reflected, just a little sad that that was the main concern in his mind.
On the steps of the church, with a photographer snapping merrily away, Luc tried to tidy her mussed hair and Star wiped the lipstick off his mouth. It would be pretty obvious to their children some day that a major clinch had occurred on the way to the church.
Heartstoppingly cool, dark and handsome in his formal suit, Luc took her hand and walked her into the little Norman church. The simple blessing that followed recalled for Star her feelings on their wedding day, and by the time they turned from the altar she was feeling full of bridal joy. So intent had she been on the proceedings that she hadn’t taken the slightest interest in the fact that the church was packed with guests.
But no sooner did she turn round than her mother appeared in front of her. Comfortably under five feet tall, Juno’s youthfully pretty face was wreathed with excitement beneath her cropped blonde curls. ‘Star…I have someone here who very much wants to meet you.’
It wasn’t the time. It wasn’t the place. But then that was Juno, Star acknowledged, feeling Luc’s arm tighten round her like an iron band while wondering what on earth was still making her husband so very tense. Surely a church blessing didn’t fill a male with the same apprehension as a wedding ceremony?
In her heels, Star was looking eye to eye with the older man who had stepped forward to stand by her mother’s side. It was a sharp shock to meet those eyes so like her own, eyes which were unashamedly wet with tears. Bruno Vence shook his greying copper head in mute acknowledgement of his strong emotion before he reached out gratefully to grasp Star’s instinctively extended hands.
‘I believe you already know who I am…’ Her father breathed unevenly.
Five minutes later, in a whirl of confusion, Star found herself sitting in an unfamiliar stretch limousine with Juno and Bruno, not to mention Venus and Mars strapped into conveniently waiting car seats. However, the gathering mysteriously lacked Luc. Star frowned. ‘Where’s Luc?’
‘We can drive straight to the airport and both you and the children will be whisked onto my yacht and out of French territory before anyone can do anything to stop us,’ Bruno Vence informed her with impassive calm. ‘Your mother believes that your husband must’ve blackmailed you into agreeing to return to him and that he has used custody of your children as a threat over you.’
‘Are you trying to kidnap me?’ Star exclaimed in incredulous horror, quite impervious to the fact that Luc had both threatened and blackmailed her at one stage, as he was now entirely forgiven for those sins. ‘Juno, how could you do this to me? I want Luc…I want my husband!’