“It wasn’t of your choosing, though. You didn’t wake up one day and decide to take over her life. Sylvia—” He cut himself off when I looked over at him. His shoulders were tense, the line of his jaw harsh, turning the beauty of all those lines more brutal than warm.
I lifted the camera then, snapping a picture before I lost my nerve. He didn’t seem to mind.
“Don’t put that kind of guilt on yourself,” he said. “You didn’t make that choice.”
I knew what he was saying. Mom had made that choice, to replace the real Evie with me. She hadn’t needed to do that. A part of me thought it wasn’t wise to talk about Mom with him, especially after what happened the day before, but the words, the truth of it all, bubbled up. “She could’ve given me any other identity.”
“Yeah, she could’ve.” Luc held still as I slowly approached him. “Kind of makes you wonder why she did that.”
My fingers halted several inches from his face. “It does.” I drew in a shallow breath and then touched his chin. His entire body gave the slightest jerk, and I pulled my hand back. “Sorry. I was just going to—”
“No, it’s okay.” His eyes were a brighter shade of violet as he caught my hand and brought my fingers back to his chin.
Throat inexplicably dry, I tilted his head back and to the left so the sunlight caught the side of his face again. “I think she did it because she missed the real Evie.”
“People do the strangest things for love.”
Carefully, I brushed a thick lock of hair back from his face. His eyes closed as the tips of my fingers grazed his forehead. Warmth crept into my cheeks as I stepped back. “Don’t move.”
“Your wish is my command.”
My lips twitched as I lifted my camera, adjusting the focus until I snapped a picture of him. I took several as I moved toward the foot of the bed, attempting to capture all the striking angles while feeling incredibly self-conscious.
Lowering the camera, I walked back to him, turning his chin so he was looking straight at me. I wanted to ask him to smile, but I was too embarrassed to do so.
“Are you going to look at the ones you just took?” he asked.
I shook my head. “Not until I’m done.”
My gaze lifted to his, and I saw that he was smiling. Not a big one. That kind was rare for Luc, but this was a lopsided grin, and when those strands of hair flopped back onto his forehead, there was this adorable rakish look to him.
I snapped a pic.
“From before, I mean,” he clarified. “You’d look at every picture after you took it. But you never took portraits. Do you take a lot of them now?”
“Not a lot, but I’ve taken photos of Zoe and Heidi, even James. But more candid shots, you know? Like when they’re not paying attention to me.” I switched the mode to black-and-white. “I guess that’s something that is all me.”
Smiling, I lifted the camera and took another shot of him in black-and-white, and then I went over to him to readjust his angle.
Luc caught my fingers as he snagged my gaze, and my entire body locked up. He dragged them over the line of his jaw, to his parted lips. His warm breath danced over the tips of my fingers. He pressed a kiss to one finger. A tight, hot shiver curled low.
“I like this,” he said, kissing my next finger.
“Like what?” Did I sound as breathless as I felt?
“You taking pictures.” Another kiss on another finger. “I like that you’re involving me in something you like to do.”
An incredible whooshing sensation swept through my chest, more than a flutter, like an impossibly sweet swelling. “I like…”
He stared up at me through thick lashes, his mouth centimeters from my last finger. “What?”
I felt warm and dizzy as he held my gaze. “I like you … being involved.”
One side of his mouth kicked up. “I know,” he said, and then before I could respond, he nipped at my pinkie, a quick bite that sent a bolt of awareness through me.
My stomach hollowed as I sucked in air that seemed to do nothing to alleviate the sudden, intense throbbing.
Luc’s smile turned downright wicked as he lowered my hand. His gaze flicked over my shoulder. “We’ll have to take more later.”
I opened my mouth, but a knock at the door silenced me. I stared at him dumbly as he rose, still holding on to my hand. “How do you do that? Know when someone is about to knock?”
“I’m that special.” Luc led me down the step and into his living room. “Like a snowflake, unique and pure.”
I snickered as he let go of my hand and went to the door. From where I stood, I saw Kent’s blue mohawk when Luc opened the door.