He had been deeply annoyed at their conversation before dinner, but it was an annoyance he recognised as being slightly illogical. Because he knew he had earned his reputation—even if he wouldn’t have quite put it in the term of being a womanising playboy!
He certainly didn’t like the idea that that was what Darci thought him to be!
He was thirty-four years old, had been sexually active since the age of sixteen and had never married, and so of course there had been women in his life. He didn’t regret any of those affairs, either.
Especially when it was the very experience he had gained that had enabled him to give Darci such pleasure the evening before….
‘So tell me,’ he prompted lazily as they lingered over the cheese course, ‘what made you decide to become a doctor?’
He had spent a lot of the time as they prepared dinner together in surreptitiously watching Darci as she worked. He had noted the slenderness of her wrists and her long hands, her economy of movement, and had known that she was the sort of woman who took a pride in doing something well. It was also clear that she would bring the same economy and efficiency of movement to her chosen profession.
And to her lovemaking…?
It was a long time since Luc had fantasised about making love with any woman—since he had needed to!—but as he’d watched Darci he hadn’t been able to stop himself from imagining those slender fingers on his body, as she touched and caressed him, and had almost been able to feel her stroking him.
Darci thought awhile, not exactly mellowed by the food she had eaten and the wine she had drunk, but certainly not as tense as she had been earlier, either. Which was due, in part, she knew, to the fact that Luc had been decidedly unthreatening—deliberately so?—as they’d prepared dinner together.
‘Why did you become a film producer?’ she came back dryly.
Luc shook his head. ‘It isn’t the same. Medicine isn’t something you enter into on a whim. It takes dedication and a lot of hard work.’
Darci quirked one auburn brow. ‘And is that what you did? Became a film producer on a whim?’ she explained, at his questioning look.
She was turning this conversation back on him, Luc knew. In an effort not to talk about herself?
Probably, he acknowledged, recognising that, like him, Darci didn’t enjoy talking about her private life. And as a doctor, there to listen to a patient’s symptoms before making a diagnosis, she’d get away with keeping her privacy most of the time, too.
He gave a rueful smile. ‘My cousin Cesare owns the Gambrelli chain of hotels, a recording studio and an airline, as well as numerous other business endeavours. My brother, Wolf, is into property ownership and development worldwide, and, as Count Gambrelli, he also deals with the running of the family estates in Italy.’ He paused. ‘Younger brothers—the “spare”, I believe they are called in this country—have a tough time of it trying to find their niche in life.’
Darci gave him a considering look, instinctively knowing that no matter how Luc might choose to make light of it, younger brother or not, he would be good at whatever he chose to do.
Including as a lover…?
Especially as a lover, she accepted, with a hardening of her resolve not to fall under this man’s spell.
Something she was in danger of doing now, as the evening progressed—all the time aware of Luc’s raw energy beneath that easygoing fa?ade, of the sensual lure of his body, of the muscles that rippled beneath that black T-shirt when he moved. Even the aftershave he wore had invaded her senses….
Possibly, she allowed grudgingly.
Definitely, she admitted self-disgustedly.
She was more aware of Luc Gambrelli—sexually, as well as otherwise—than she had ever been of a man in her life before!
‘Well, you certainly found your niche,’ she said. ‘Both in and out of the film studio,’ she added cheekily, and then stood up abruptly and began to clear the table.
Luc watched her, aware that she was trying to antagonise him once again. That something—some thought, perhaps?—had put Darci back on the defensive.