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The Sicilian's Innocent Mistress Carole Mortimer 2022/8/5 17:02:18

Darci didn’t. She knew, from the cold waves of anger emanating from Luc as he maintained that hold on her arm to march her up the stairs to her flat, that she had pushed him beyond the limit of his patience—that he was now going to demand some answers from her. And, as he said, they had better be truthful ones.

He had no intention of going anywhere until she gave them to him….

THE man she faced across her sitting-room a few minutes later wasn’t Luc Gambrelli the seductive charmer, the man Darci had known up until now, or the businesslike film producer Grant claimed him to be. No, this man was something else entirely. A cold, icy stranger who had no intention of giving her any quarter whatsoever.

Sorry, Mellie. She made a mental apology to her friend, knowing that there was no way she was going to be able to get through this present conversation without bringing the other woman into it. And never had it been truer than at this moment that attack was the best form of defence…

‘Mellie Chandler,’ she bit out tersely.

Luc continued to look, at her with cold, unblinking eyes, the harshness of his expression unchanging.

‘Melanie Chandler.’ She impatiently used her friend’s full, professional name.

There was still no sign of recognition in Luc’s face—not even a raise of that arrogant eyebrow.

‘Oh, come on, Luc,’ Darci snapped shortly as she threw her handbag down onto one of the armchairs. ‘I know it’s been a few weeks, but surely you haven’t forgotten Mellie already?’

Luc had already gathered by Darci’s aggressive repetition of the name Mellie—Melanie Chandler—that it was supposed to mean something to him.

Except that it didn’t.

He had never even heard the name before, let alone forgotten the woman!

‘What about her?’ he prompted guardedly.

Darci eyed him scathingly. ‘She’s a friend of mine. And Grant’s, incidentally,’ she added challengingly. ‘In fact, she’s the absent flatmate I told you about,’ she reminded him. ‘She’s an actress, and currently living in LA,’ she added impatiently, as Luc continued to look blank.

‘And you pursued her until you caught her, took her to your silk-sheeted bed with promises of furthering her acting career and then you dumped her!’ Darci accused disgustedly.

To his certain knowledge Luc had never viewed promises of furthering an acting career as a means of seducing any woman into his ‘silk-sheeted bed’.

Despite the amount of women who were supposed to have shared that bed, he never forgot the names of the women he had been intimately involved with. He was absolutely certain Melanie Chandler had not been one of them.

Certainly not in the last few weeks. He hadn’t been involved with any woman but Darci herself in the three months since Wolf’s wedding!

‘I did?’ Luc looked completely puzzled.

‘You know you did!’ Darci snapped resentfully.

‘Exactly when did I do this?’ he prompted softly. ‘A few weeks ago, I believe you said…?’

‘Oh, for goodness’ sake, Luc,’ Darci threw at him as she began to restlessly pace the room. ‘Mellie is a very close friend, and I know exactly what happened between the two of you, so you might just as well stop this pretence now.’

Really—did the man think she was totally stupid? Or was he just playing for time, giving himself a chance to come up with an acceptable excuse for the callous way he had treated Mellie? If he was, he was wasting his time!

‘When, Darci?’ he demanded, in a tone that brooked no argument.

He really was rather intimidating in this mood, Darci acknowledged with an inward grimace. His irresistible charm was completely erased from the face of this coldly determined stranger.

She shook her head. ‘You began pursuing her eight weeks ago, showering her with flowers and compliments, promises of getting her a part in the latest film you were producing, and then you dumped her two weeks later, after she had shared your bed!’

Luc’s mouth tightened. ‘And I did this after “showering her with flowers and compliments, promises of getting her a part in the film I was producing”?’ he repeated with a pained wince. ‘Let me assure you, Darci, that I have never needed to use such empty promises to persuade a woman into sharing my bed.’