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The Sicilian's Innocent Mistress Carole Mortimer 2022/8/5 17:02:22

She had visited the city once on a school trip, when she was fifteen, and even at that tender age she had recognised it as one of the most romantic cities in the world. Luc Gambrelli and Paris could be an irresistible combination!

‘Why, indeed?’ Luc conceded dryly. ‘You’re right. I was going to invite you to accompany me—’

‘No!’ she told him adamantly. ‘No, no, no!’

He raised that arrogant eyebrow again. ‘One refusal would have been sufficient, Darci,’ he observed.

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She met his gaze unflinchingly. ‘No,’ she told him firmly.

‘But you haven’t heard the full invitation yet, Darci,’ he taunted.

‘I don’t need to.’ Her cheeks were flushed, her eyes sparkling deeply green. ‘There is no way I would ever agree to accompany you to Paris—or indeed anywhere else—for the weekend.’

‘Little prude,’ Luc drawled. ‘What if I were to promise you that the invitation does not include us sharing a bed, that my intentions are not in the least dishonourable?’

‘It isn’t a question of that…’

‘Isn’t it?’ he queried softly.

No, it really wasn’t. The truth was, no matter what Luc’s intentions—honourable or otherwise—it was herself she didn’t dare trust if she went to Paris with him at the weekend. Not when she was already in love with him….

‘Why do you want me to accompany you to Paris?’ she probed cautiously.

He sat back, regarding her with cool consideration. ‘I have a party to attend, and I would like you to go with me as my partner for the evening,’ he finally murmured slowly.

‘And you’re telling me that you can’t find someone else to go with you?’ she scoffed disbelievingly. ‘Someone who actually wants to be with you?’ she added pointedly.

She had courage, this little firebrand, Luc acknowledged admiringly, even as he considered her barb about taking a partner who felt positively towards him.

He was sure that most women in Darci’s position, having initially so wrong-footed themselves, would have been only too happy to make restitution for the mistake they had made. But not Darci.

He leant further back in his chair as their used plates were removed. ‘I have my own reasons for wanting it to be you who accompanies me,’ he told her levelly once they were alone again.

‘And those reasons are…?’

‘Entirely my own,’ he told her firmly. ‘But I can assure you they have absolutely nothing to do with a bedroom—either yours or mine!’ He paused as he could see he had failed to convince her. ‘Didn’t our last encounter prove to you that I don’t lose all control at the sight and touch of your delectable body?’ he whipped out harshly, angry all over again as her cheeks paled. With himself this time. For deliberately hurting her.

But what else was he to do when even now he knew he wanted to sweep all the glasses and cutlery from the table, lay Darci across its pristine white-clothed surface and bury himself deep inside her moist and welcoming body?

Maybe he would be courting unnecessary danger in taking Darci to Paris with him? The desire he felt whenever he was in her company would make it extremely difficult to keep to his promise not to share a bed with her.

But his visits to Cesare’s and Wolf’s homes during the last two days, and the pointed comments of their wives, Angel and Robin, about the eligibility of the guests—the female guests!—who were invited to his mother’s party on Saturday evening, had confirmed that his family, and his mother in particular, were still intent on finding him a bride of his own.

After receiving Darci’s invitation to dinner this evening Luc had realised that he might have found a way of avoiding that matchmaking—at least as far as the party on Saturday evening was concerned….

He would take his own partner for the evening. A woman he could parade in front of his family, but one who knew better than to expect anything from him at the end of it!

Darci frowned across the table at Luc, wishing she could read something in his face, but only seeing herself reflected back in those enigmatic brown eyes as he kept his expression deliberately bland, easily meeting her probing gaze.