He shook his head. ‘The tabloid press simply write what the public wants to read,’ he dismissed unconcernedly.
That hadn’t been true concerning his relationship with Mellie, thank goodness, Darci thought. The last thing Darci would have wanted to read in the newspapers was how this man had broken her friend’s heart some weeks ago.
But, again, she couldn’t bring Mellie into this without betraying her friend’s confidence….
‘You’re totally missing my point, Luc,’ she told him impatiently.
‘That point being…?’ Once again he quirked that arrogant brow. A gesture that was beginning to irritate Darci immensely.
‘That, no matter what you may have assumed to the contrary, I do not go to bed with womanising playboys!’
He took another sip of his wine, not betraying his reaction to her deliberate insult by so much as a twitch of that annoying eyebrow. ‘That sounds like a very sensible philosophy to me,’ he finally reasoned.
Darci wasn’t fooled for a moment by the pleasantness of his tone; she could see the way his eyes had narrowed, and the very stillness of his leanly muscled body was a warning in itself.
A warning she decided not to heed. ‘I was referring to you!’ she told him defiantly, her whole body taut as she waited for his response.
He nodded. ‘Yes, I thought you were.’ He placed his wineglass down on the kitchen table, his movements slow and deliberate, before turning to walk around the table to where Darci stood, coming to a halt only inches away from her. ‘Perhaps, Darci, it would be better if you waited to be asked to share my bed before saying no?’
Darci stood her ground, glaring up at him, determined not to be intimidated by his close proximity.
For all Luc’s lazy elegance of movement, his ultra-calm expression, Darci could feel the danger, the threat swirling beneath that stillness, and knew that beneath the trappings of his casual clothing Luc’s body was taut with displeasure. Those dark eyes were no longer laughing, but glittering down at her with intent.
This man, she realised with wary clarity, was much more than he appeared on the surface!
Much more than the womanising playboy she had just accused him of being?
Yes, much more, she recognised, as an apprehensive quiver moved across her skin.
At this moment he was more than ever that sleeping tiger she knew she had awakened—and if she didn’t tread very carefully she was in danger of getting mauled!
She moistened her lips with the tip of her tongue, instantly stopping the movement when she saw the way Luc’s gaze darkened hungrily as it followed the progress of the pink tip of her tongue. Reminding her all too forcefully of the way his tongue had caressed her in the same way the evening before!
She made an impatient movement, thankfully breaking the momentary threat as Luc’s gaze returned enquiringly to her own.
‘Perhaps we should just cook dinner?’ she suggested wearily.
He remained unmoving for several long—tension-filled!—seconds, as his dark eyes roamed shrewdly over the paleness of her face, before he gave a terse inclination of his head and stepped away from her. ‘Perhaps we should,’ he allowed gruffly. ‘I am much…mellower when I have been fed,’ he assured her self-derisively. ‘Let’s hope that the same is also true of you.’
There was an implicit warning in his words that Darci knew she would be foolish to ignore. Very foolish. And, though she might be many things, foolish certainly wasn’t one of them.
Although she wasn’t exactly looking forward to coping with a mellower Luc Gambrelli once they had eaten dinner!
Dinner was surprisingly fun to cook—Luc proving himself to be a creative, as well as capable cook as he sautéed the prawns with garlic and then prepared a fresh, creamy mushroom sauce to go with the steak. Darci did the more basic cooking of the meat itself, as well as the potatoes and the preparation of a salad. Luc finished his contribution by preparing a vinegar and mustard dressing to go with the latter.
He sat across the kitchen table from Darci once they had finished eating their meal, looking at her from beneath lowered lids. The room felt comfortably informal, as he had guessed it might the evening before. Darci, he had been pleased to note, had relaxed a little herself as they’d prepared dinner together, showing none of the lack of appetite she had claimed earlier as they ate all the food and drank several more glasses of red wine.