‘Are you satisfied now, my love?’ Bruno Vence asked her anxious mother with a wry smile. ‘You see, Star loves Luc. I told you that it looked that way in the church. Our grandchildren are very fortunate to have loving parents.’
‘But I wanted to take her and the children away with us,’ Juno confided tearfully.
‘I’d like to take my daughter away too, so that I could get to know her better,’ Bruno murmured with a rueful glance at Star’s frowning face. ‘But she’s an adult now, with a life of her own, and it would be very much simpler if we just made regular visits.’
Star’s tension evaporated. ‘You gave me quite a fright…’
‘Your mother must accept that you are happy in your marriage,’ he pointed out apologetically. ‘In-laws who are troublemakers are rarely welcome.’
Star leant forward and kissed his cheek without hesitation. ‘I think I’ll be very happy to get to know you as a father.’ She then shifted over beside her disappointed mother and hugged her tight in consolation. ‘Now I’d like to hear about your marriage, and don’t you dare skip a single detail!’ she warned.
Twenty-one years earlier, in Gstaad, Juno had been confronted—not by Bruno’s fiancée, as the woman had claimed, but by a possessive ex-girlfriend.
‘I tried very hard to trace Juno in London,’ Bruno shared heavily, holding her mother’s hand in his. ‘But I failed, because within a couple of months of leaving Gstaad she had impulsively married Phillip Roussel and gone abroad with him.’
‘I’ve always known where Bruno was, but I just assumed he was a married man. Then, the day I had to give up the art gallery, I read a piece in a gossip column that mentioned he was single.’ Juno blushed and lowered her lashes. ‘But I really only flew out to ask him for a loan, because I was so upset and ashamed at getting Emilie into such a pickle.’
Star immediately knew that the only thing on Juno’s mind on that flight to Switzerland had been seeing Bruno again, and she hid a smile.
Bruno was surveying his wife with immense pride and pleasure. ‘When your mother walked into my office, I was transfixed. Juno was and is the love of my life. I want you to know that, Star.’
‘Your father proposed over lunch an hour later,’ Juno proffered. ‘It was so romantic, and, you know, twenty years ago he said he wasn’t a romantic man—but he just couldn’t wait to get me to the altar!’
When Star stepped out of the limousine at Chateau Fontaine, Luc was standing on the bridge, seemingly deaf and blind to the greetings of arriving guests.
‘We’ll see to the children…’ Juno called after Star.
For once, the twins were not first in Star’s mind. She threaded her passage through the sea of parked cars and headed like a homing pigeon for Luc. The instant he saw her he strode forward, impervious to all onlookers, and pulled her straight into his arms. ‘Where the hell have you been?’ he breathed raggedly. ‘And don’t you dare tell me you’ve only come home to pack!’
‘No, I’m staying until I’m a skeleton in the family vault.’
‘Not funny,’ Luc growled, his dark drawl quivering.
‘I got to know my father a little. Nice guy, but tough—perfect for Mum. Knows her inside out, adores her, can’t believe his luck…they’re like a couple of teenagers,’ she shared breathlessly.
Luc possessed himself of her hand. ‘You won’t believe what I was thinking,’ he muttered tautly. ‘When you and the twins suddenly vanished into that bloody big limo, I suddenly thought I was never going to see you again. I know how your mother feels about me—’
‘Luc…’ A female voice interposed uncertainly.
Luc swung round and then lowered his gaze to focus on his tiny mother-in-law. He froze.
‘If Star says you didn’t carry on with that Gabrielle on your wedding night, that’s good enough for me.’
‘We agreed you weren’t going to say that,’ Bruno groaned from behind Juno.
‘But Luc needs to know that I don’t believe that any more, and that I intend to like him from now on!’ Juno argued.