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

‘To you, maybe,’ she replied tentatively, as the porter opened the door for them and ushered them inside the suite.

Luc dealt with the porter, before closing the door softly behind the other man as he left, and then strolled further into the suite to join Darci in the sitting-room.

Despite being familiar with the chain owned by his cousin, to Luc this hotel was just like every other top establishment he had ever stayed in in the world: very luxurious, but extremely impersonal.

Although not quite as impersonal as usual, with Darci standing there, her flaming red hair cascading loosely over her shoulders and down the long length of her spine, dressed in tight-fitting denims and a white T-shirt that showed off the lean length of her thighs and legs and emphasised the firm thrust of her breasts!

‘I think I would like to take a shower and freshen up,’ she announced. ‘What time are we leaving for the party?’

‘We aren’t leaving the hotel, Darci,’ Luc answered. ‘The party is taking place in one of the reception rooms downstairs,’ he elaborated at her bewildered look.

He had deliberately remained aloof from Darci after collecting her from her apartment and during the drive to the airport and their flight. But that didn’t mean that he hadn’t been completely aware of her the whole time they had been together in the back of the car and then on the plane.

Too aware of her for comfort, he acknowledged.

‘My brother, Wolf, and his wife will be joining us here for drinks at seven o’clock, before we all go downstairs at seven-forty-five to join Cesare and Robin,’ he added casually.

Darci’s eyes widened at this piece of news. Luc’s brother and his cousin and their wives were going to be at the party, too?

Maybe the black dress she had brought with her—the sexily vampish one she had modelled for Kerry last week—wasn’t the right choice for this evening, after all?

She had thought—assumed—that the guest list for the party this evening would be mainly actors and actresses, and had chosen her dress accordingly.

‘What sort of party is this, Luc?’ she prompted.

‘My mother moved to Paris after the death of my father more than ten years ago. Every year since, she has hosted her own birthday party—’

‘This is your mother’s party?’ Darci echoed disbelievingly.

The sexy black dress definitely hadn’t been the right choice!

Thank goodness she had included a black silk wrap, in case the evening was cool and they had some distance to travel to the occasion.

But this evening was a birthday party for Luc’s mother….

‘What’s this all about, Luc?’ she demanded. ‘And please don’t fob me off by telling me that it’s all in my own head,’ she warned, as he would have spoken. ‘I think, now that we’re actually here, I have a right to know what’s going on.’

Luc looked at her consideringly, weighing up the pros and cons of taking Darci into his confidence.

On the one hand she didn’t need to know his reasons for bringing her here.

But on the other Darci would probably be able to play her part as a buffer between him and the women he knew, from talking to Angel and Robin, his mother had deliberately invited for him to meet tonight more convincingly if she did know the truth.

He sighed. ‘Both Wolf and Cesare have married in the last year.’

Darci eyed him warily. ‘Yes…?’

Luc hesitated. ‘The general consensus of my family seems to be that it’s time I joined their ranks,’ he admitted reluctantly.

Darci continued to look at him consideringly for several long seconds, and then a look of unholy glee entered those beautiful moss-green eyes. ‘You have a matchmaking mama!’ she exclaimed laughingly.

Luc gave her a look of intense irritation at such blatant humour at his expense. ‘Yes, I do.’ He grimaced. ‘And, whilst I wish I could share your humour on the subject, I most assuredly don’t! My family, and especially my mother, have presented a number of likely candidates for the role of my future wife during the last three months—to the point where I have avoided even having dinner with a woman during that time!’

Except with her, Darci realised. But perhaps she didn’t count?