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The Sicilian's Innocent Mistress Carole Mortimer 2022/8/5 17:02:17

Luc Gambrelli, of all men!

And the worst of it was, if she hadn’t already known of his complete aversion to any sort of commitment to a relationship—given his media reputation and his ruthless pursuit of Mellie, quickly followed by his disappearance out of her friend’s life completely once he had made his conquest—then Darci knew she might just have fallen in love with him herself!

She might be a little in love with him anyway….

She stumbled slightly at that realisation, and immediately felt strong fingers move steadyingly about the top of her arm as Luc reached forward to stop her from falling.

‘Don’t touch me!’ she turned to snap coldly, and she wrenched her arm out of his grasp. Probably bruising herself in the process, but not caring, only knowing that she couldn’t bear to have Luc touch her when she was feeling so emotionally vulnerable.

Luc drew in a harsh breath as he teetered on the edge of losing his usual self-control.

All of the Gambrelli men had a temper—a red-hot temper that burned so deeply it became icy and steely—but that cold control often gave the impression that they were without emotion at all.

Darci’s show of contempt for him was in serious danger of evoking that extreme reaction.

And Luc would guarantee that she wouldn’t like it if it did!

He released her to draw in several more controlling breaths. ‘You did not seem to find my touch so abhorrent a few minutes ago—in fact, the opposite!’ he reminded her frostily, aware that his English had become stilted—a definite sign that he was in danger of losing his temper!

It was something that he had no choice but to turn in on himself, as he saw the way his deliberate cruelty had made Darci’s cheeks pale.

But, dammit, why did she have to keep fighting him, fighting herself, when it had to be as obvious to her as it was to him that minutes ago she had wanted—almost begged him—to make love to her?

Why did Darci keep fighting him, fighting the desire that ignited between them every time they were together?

One possibility had occurred to him a few minutes ago—a possibility that he had dismissed the moment Darci had asked him what he was thinking about. Because there was no way, beautiful as she was, and at the age of twenty-eight, that Darci could possibly still be a virgin.

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But if she was, then she was completely unknown territory to him.

Territory he would run a mile to avoid!

‘You,’ she spat out with feeling, the angry colour returning to her cheeks, ‘are not a gentleman!’

Luc gave a wince. ‘Thankfully, no,’ he acknowledged mockingly. ‘As I discovered long ago, gentlemen have a lot less fun than I do!’

Darci frowned at him disgruntledly; he didn’t have to sound so proud of the fact!

‘You’re impossible!’ she told him disgustedly, before turning and continuing to walk down the pathway. They were almost back to the car, thank goodness.

‘So my long-suffering nanny informed me twenty years ago,’ he told her unconcernedly as he fell into step beside her.

Her eyes widened. ‘You had a nanny?’

‘Of course,’ he confirmed. ‘It’s the way of things in the Gambrelli family.’ He looked unconcerned at her questioning look. ‘Besides,’ he added hardly as he strode forcefully across the car park towards the car, ‘my mother and father were too busy, too engrossed with each other, to see to the day-to-day needs of their two wild, uncontrollable sons.’

Darci gave him a glance from beneath lowered lashes, sensing there was a lot more beneath that statement than Luc would be willing to admit—possibly a deep-buried hurt. If his parents had been too engrossed with each other to deal with ‘the day-to-day needs of their two wild, uncontrollable sons’, had they possibly totally excluded their sons…?

Her own parents had a happy, loving marriage, but it wasn’t a relationship that had ever excluded either Grant or Darci. However, that didn’t sound the case with Luc’s parents.

Perhaps that was a possible explanation for Luc’s own lack of emotional commitment?

Darci wasn’t a psychiatrist, but she had studied mental health during her general training to become a doctor, and there surely had to be some reason for Luc’s total lack of a permanent commitment to any woman. He was thirty-four years old, for goodness’ sake; surely he must have fallen in love at least once during those years?