She swallowed hard before moistening passion-swollen lips. ‘I don’t intend being added to your list of conquests,’ she told him disgustedly.
Luc didn’t move, his eyes, his dark, expressive eyes, still hidden beneath his upraised arm. ‘No?’ he breathed harshly.
Darci could hear the heavy rise and fall of his chest, and she moved up on her elbows to look down at him, feeling the friction of her T-shirt against her nipples, which were still hard with recent arousal.
‘No,’ she assured him, with more firmness than conviction—she had wanted him so badly a few minutes ago that she had completely forgotten who and what he was! ‘So you may as well call off the hunt as far as I’m concerned.’
Luc raised his arm to look up at her with narrowed eyes. ‘Is that how you feel?’ His mouth twisted. ‘Hunted?’
She wasn’t sure how she felt! Luc brought out a hunger in her, a yearning, aching need that she had never known before. She had no experience to deal with it.
This was Luc Gambrelli—the man she had sworn would never get past her defences, the man she had only spoken to at all on Thursday evening because of Mellie, because she’d wanted to let him know that not every woman was susceptible to his lethal charm.
So much for that claim!
Her face fell. ‘I can assure you that I’m in absolutely no danger of falling in love with you!’ she told him scathingly.
‘That’s good—because love doesn’t enter into my future plans, either,’ he came back mockingly.
Oh, she knew that. She was only too well aware of what his intentions were after the way he had behaved with Mellie. The way he would behave with her, too, if she let him. And she seemed to be giving him every opportunity to do that….
‘I meant with a man like you,’ Darci came back tartly.
His mouth tightened, his gaze glacial. ‘I’m not sure I like your implication,’ he rasped.
‘Oh, come on, Luc,’ Darci retorted. ‘Any woman falling in love with you would simply be stupid!’
Love had never entered into any of his plans, Luc admitted—in fact, he had spent a lifetime avoiding the emotion…avoiding that damned Gambrelli Curse.
But no woman had ever dismissed him in this derogatory way before. Darci seemed to have taken delight in doing exactly that several times in the last few days.
He turned on his side, knowing by the way Darci stiffened and moved slightly away from him that she wasn’t as immune to his close proximity as she claimed to be.
A hard, humourless smile curved his lips. ‘Very stupid,’ he agreed. ‘But lust is something else entirely,’ he elaborated. ‘I wouldn’t object at all if you were to fall in lust with me.’
Her eyes widened angrily. ‘I’ll just bet that you wouldn’t!’ she cried, before scrambling to her feet, her face flushed with the same anger as she looked down at him. ‘Well, that isn’t going to happen, either!’
‘No?’ Luc challenged softly.
‘Most definitely not!’ she snapped.
Luc smiled confidently as he got to his feet in a leisurely fashion. ‘You’re a doctor, Darci—what do you think just now was about if it wasn’t lust?’
Darci was afraid to even think what it had been about!
And she didn’t want to talk about it, either….
‘I think it’s time we drove back to town,’ she told him firmly, and she shook the pine needles off the blanket before folding it up and placing it under her arm.
Only to look up and find that Luc hadn’t moved, that his dark gaze was still levelled on her consideringly.
‘What?’ she exclaimed defensively.
‘I was just wondering…’
Yes? What had he been wondering?
‘Well?’ she persisted angrily, as he made no effort to continue.
He let out a ragged breath. ‘Nothing important,’ he dismissed, bending down to pick up the picnic basket. ‘As you said, it’s time for us to leave.’ He made a grand sweep with his arm that indicated she should precede him down the pathway.
Leaving Darci uncomfortably aware of his dark eyes on her as she walked ahead of him.
Never again, she decided to herself. She didn’t care what leverage Luc used—let him come to the hospital in search of her if that was what he chose to do!—she would not agree to go out with him again. Would never again put herself in the position of being vulnerable to the unprecedented desire this man ignited in her.