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The Sicilian's Innocent Mistress Carole Mortimer 2022/8/5 17:02:20

That Luc had been the one telling her the truth after all….

Luc stared down at the message on top of the pile he had picked up from Reception on his way through the hotel to his suite.

Would you please meet me at Garstang’s at eight o’clock this evening?

There was no signature to the message. But there didn’t need to be.

Only Darci could have sent such a request, asking him to meet her at the same restaurant—at the same time—as he had arranged previously.

Luc read the message a second time as he stepped into the lift, torn between crushing the piece of paper to a pulp in his hand and a grudging feeling of admiration for the position Darci had deliberately put herself in.

Because she now knew he had been telling her the truth about her friend Mellie…?

That might be so, but nevertheless Darci had to know that by asking him to meet her at Garstang’s, of all places, she was leaving herself open to the same humiliation she had deliberately inflicted on him previously—that he might now be the one not to turn up for the date and leave her sitting at the table, squirming under the curious stares of the other diners.

Those visits had unfortunately also subjected Luc firsthand to his brother’s and his cousin’s marital happiness!

He had seen as little as possible of his brother and his cousin and their respective spouses these last three months. Not because he didn’t like the women Wolf and Cesare had married, but because he did.

His whole family now seemed bent on Luc being the next and the last of the Gambrellis to get married, to the extent that it seemed whenever he visited any of his family, there was always a couple of single women—highly marriageable women—included in the lunch or dinner party. His mother was the worst culprit, constantly presenting eligible heiresses for him to vet as wife material whenever he visited her at the Paris apartment where she had chosen to live after the death of their father.

But Luc only had to see Wolf and Cesare so much in love, so totally besotted with their respective wives, to reassure himself that marriage wasn’t for him.

He didn’t need to get married; Wolf had inherited the title of Count, and Angel was expecting their first child—the heir—in a few months’ time.

Besides which, Luc liked his life exactly the way it was. At the moment he was free to do exactly what he wanted, when he wanted, and the idea of giving up that freedom, of giving his whole heart into someone else’s keeping in the way that Wolf and Cesare had, sent a chill down his spine.

None of which answered the question as to whether or not he should meet Darci at Garstang’s this evening….

He really shouldn’t go—should leave Darci to her humiliation as a sign of his absolute contempt for the things she had believed of him, for the way she had behaved towards him….

Darci had never felt so nervous in her entire life as she did sitting at the table in the middle of the restaurant at eight o’clock that evening. As she waited to see if Luc would actually put in an appearance, or if his disgust with her ran so deeply he wasn’t even prepared to meet her here in order to let her apologise.

The restaurant was just as exclusive as she had thought it would be. The ma?tre d’, obviously not recognising her as one of the select clientele who usually dined here, had looked down his haughty nose at her as he’d shown her to the table. Compared with her own simple white dress and lack of jewellery, the other diners were all glamorously dressed and be-jewelled—although they nevertheless spared her the odd curious glance as they chatted loudly together.

The only consolation Darci had as she sat down to wait was that each table was given a certain amount of privacy by the select placement of potted plants and partitions, allowing her a brief respite from the curiosity of other customers if she wanted it for a few seconds.

What Darci really wanted was not to be here at all!

Not an option, Darci, she told herself firmly, even as she outstared a man seated across the restaurant as speculation showed in his admiring blue gaze. To make matters more embarrassing, Darci was sure she recognized him as a popular actor from a top television programme that she watched whenever she wasn’t working!