A heart-stopping vision of French masculine elegance in an unstructured lightweight suit in palest grey, Luc strode off to vanish into the office area of the jet. Cool? Luc was acting like the beginning of a new Ice Age. Confused, Star sat on a moment or two before following him. Longing for the light-hearted mood he had been in earlier that day, she perched on the arm of the seat across the aisle from him.
‘I appreciate that I’ve been a bit of a drag since Rory visited—’
Luc kept his attention on the screen of his laptop, but his bold profile hardened.
‘I’ve been worrying about Mum,’ she confided.
For a split second a pained light flashed in Luc’s narrowed gaze. She wasn’t just a poor liar: she was a hopeless one. Having lit up with pure joy at one glimpse of Rory Martin, Star had sunk into silent misery the instant her former lover had departed in his boy-toy car. Friendship? All right, so he himself had never had time for close friends, but who did she think she was kidding? She couldn’t act for peanuts either. If swarming all over that skinny little twerp in his girly jeans was her idea of friendship, she would be very lonely in the friendship stakes in the future, Luc promised himself wrathfully.
Star cleared her throat awkwardly.
Luc still couldn’t bring himself to look at her.
‘Juno called Rory from Switzerland and I tried the number, but it was a guesthouse and she’d already moved on without leaving an address,’ Star volunteered tautly. ‘I know you think she’s a…a foolish woman at best and a schemer at worst, but I love her and naturally I’m concerned about her.’
‘Naturally,’ Luc echoed flatly. ‘But to be frank…your mother has a healthy survival instinct. If she’s in Switzerland, she must have a good reason for being there.’
‘I can’t think of any connection, except that that’s where she fell pregnant with me,’ Star confided.
Luc hadn’t known that, but he kept his attention rigidly on the screen.
‘You just want me to run along and play…don’t you?’ Star gathered tightly as the silence stretched.
‘Vraiment!’ Luc flung his arrogant dark head back and subjected her to a sizzling and derisive appraisal. ‘After the performance you put on with Rory this afternoon, what more do you expect?’
Her throat caught as she recognised his anger. ‘Performance?’
‘I have no wish to discuss it further,’ Luc ground out harshly.
Star contemplated his rigid profile and it was as if an alarm bell went off inside her head. ‘You were jealous…’ she whispered, in the tone of one making a fascinating discovery.
Luc slammed his laptop shut with such force it bounced on the desk. He sprang upright. Scorching dark eyes assailed hers in a look of rebuttal as physical as an assault. ‘Zut alors! What do you think I am? An adolescent? I found the sight of my wife being so familiar with another man very offensive! That is not jealousy.’
He was so much taller than she was that it took courage not to be intimidated. But Star was now angry too. Rising to her feet, she squared her slight shoulders. ‘Whatever you say…but when you’re annoyed with me, you’d better learn to face me with it. I won’t put up with the deep-freeze treatment. And by the way, if you saw anything offensive in my behaviour with Rory, it was in your own mind.’
‘You flaunted your intimacy with him,’ Luc condemned fiercely.
‘I’ve never been intimate with him…not intimate in the way you mean!’ Star returned tartly, infuriated with him. ‘And, since you’re not jealous…I wonder how it was that you imagined you saw sexual intimacy where it has never existed!’
Luc froze, shimmering dark eyes suddenly welding to her flushed face. ‘Never…?’
Turning on her heel, Star utilised the words he had used with her only a minute earlier. ‘I have no wish to discuss it further.’
A lean hand closed over her shoulder to stay her. ‘Star—’ Star pulled away. ‘No! I’m really annoyed with you. Why can’t you just admit that you have normal human emotions like everybody else? Instead you tried to put me down as if I’d done something wrong! That’s what I can’t forgive.’