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The Sicilian's Innocent Mistress Carole Mortimer 2022/8/5 17:02:25

He certainly hadn’t lingered downstairs for any longer than he absolutely had to, had he?

Luc saw Darci’s silhouette on the window seat as soon as his gaze had adjusted to the gloom of the unlit sitting-room. Her hair gleamed like fire against the bright moonlight behind her, and he was convinced by her wary stillness that the lack of light in the room was a deliberate move on her part.

That was okay with him; a blaze of bright lights wasn’t exactly conducive to what he had to say anyway.

And he should have known that Darci, once she had thought the situation over, no matter what she might have said to the contrary earlier, wouldn’t just go to bed and cower beneath the bedclothes, hoping Luc wouldn’t disturb her. After all, she was the type of woman who believed in facing a challenge head-on.

Except he was no longer the challenge—she was!

‘Darci,’ he greeted her quietly as he came across the room to join her. He was slightly disappointed that she had changed out of the scandalous black dress—he could imagine nothing more erotic than slowly peeling it from her delectable body!—but at the same time knew it would probably have been too much of a distraction. He had every intention of the two of them talking before—well, before anything else.

She steadily returned his gaze. ‘Luc,’ she returned economically.

No help there, he acknowledged ruefully. But no doubt she was still unsettled—upset—about what had happened on the terrace earlier.

Upset wasn’t quite the word Luc would have used concerning his own feelings about making love to Darci earlier. Enlightened probably best described how he now felt….

Why didn’t Luc just get this conversation over with? Darci fretted inwardly, as he remained silent while he continued to look down at her with those enigmatic dark eyes. Why didn’t Luc just make the offer of an affair she was sure he was going to make, hear her refusal, and then let her escape to the privacy of the bedroom?

Where she could bury her head under the bedcovers so that he shouldn’t hear her crying her heart out!

Especially as, now that she was with Luc again, a part of her—a large part of her—wished, longed to accept the offer!

It was going to be the hardest thing she had ever done in her life, loving Luc as she did, to turn and walk away from him.

But perhaps this was her punishment for all the times she had held herself aloof, apart, from any idea of emotional involvement? For all the times she had walked away without a second glance when a man she had agreed to go out with once or twice showed more than a passing interest in her? In some cases it had been a most decided interest, but she had remained immune, leaving a string of broken hearts behind her, as Kerry had once put it.

But Darci hadn’t deliberately set out to hurt any of those men. She had simply had her sights set on her career to the exclusion of all else….

Whatever her intention, it was obvious that the fates decreed that when she finally did fall in love, it would be with someone who was as elusive, as unobtainable, as she had been herself the last ten years!

Her mouth firmed and she shook her head. ‘I meant what I said earlier, Luc. I am not going to sleep with you tonight.’

‘I can assure you that sleep is the last thing I have on my mind,’ he drawled in amusement, as he moved to sit at the other end of the window seat.

She gave him a reproving look. ‘Don’t tease, Luc.’

He returned her gaze consideringly. ‘But it has become one of my pleasures in life to tease you, Darci,’ he murmured.

She glared. ‘It’s a pleasure you’ll have to forgo in future!’

‘You don’t want me?’ He frowned.

Darci was glad of the darkness to hide the blush in her cheeks. ‘I can hardly claim that after what happened earlier!’

‘Then where is the problem?’ he mused.

‘The problem is I don’t—’

‘Do affairs,’ he finished dryly.

‘Exactly,’ she said with satisfaction. ‘And as you don’t do anything else but affairs—Luc, what are you doing?’ she gasped, slightly breathless as his lean fingers slid caressingly along the bareness of her foot to her ankle and then back again, sending shivers of awareness along the length of her leg and up into her already sensitised groin.