“Her name’s Maggie. She was a…” he paused for a moment, “…a friend of my mother’s.”
She didn’t want him to have a mother with friends; it made him too human. She was determined to see him as nothing more than the monster she had called him. If only he looked like a monster. She put down her cup and jumped up. “I’m going to bed.”
He stood and caught her shoulder as she passed, her mind completely numb as he turned her toward him. She stared at his lips as he lowered his face slowly. It seemed to take forever, but finally his mouth came over hers, firm but gentle. His tongue slid gently into the moist recesses of her mouth, filling her with the taste of whiskey and warm man. It lasted the briefest of moments, and then he stepped back.
Luc tasted her sweetness. Briefly, he was tempted to push her beyond the limits she had already set out, but he could sense the tension radiating from her body. He made do with a question instead.
He almost smiled as she gave him a filthy look out of those beautiful, extremely expressive eyes. Then she turned and stalked off.
“Damn,” he muttered as the door slammed closed behind her. He ran a hand through his hair—he was in big trouble. Sighing, he sank down onto the cream leather sofa and tried not to think about the fact that he was so hot and hard it was painful. Or the fact that it was turning into a regular occurrence.
That wasn’t what worried him. He knew he could seduce her, but he was starting to realize that as far as Lia Brent was concerned, mere seduction wasn’t enough. He wanted her to come to him freely. And that bothered him. A lot. He still didn’t trust her, wasn’t sure he could ever trust Jimmy Brent’s daughter or forget what he owed the man.
He’d told himself Lia was business, purely a way of reaching her father and getting the revenge he craved. Told himself that the sex had been an added bonus, unimportant. He’d been lying. He wanted her again, had since that night, quite desperately, beyond reason.
Jimmy Brent had gone, no doubt, done his disappearing act because he knew Luc was after him, believed that Luc wouldn’t rest until he had made him pay. He was wrong. The choice had been a hard one, but in the end, he’d been happy to forget Jimmy. Now he wanted nothing more than the opportunity to forget him again. At least for the foreseeable future, until he had sated himself with Jimmy’s delectable daughter. He closed his eyes and imagined sinking once again into her silky depths.
With a groan, he rested his head against the back of the sofa. He needed a cold shower, or maybe a hot steamy one, where he could indulge in one of those fantasies. But he knew if he stayed here with Lia only a few feet away, no doubt curled up all warm and sweet in his spare room, then he might go seriously insane. He had to get out of there. In some ways, he’d been running from his past life. Maybe it was time to embrace it, blow off some steam, and he knew just the person to help him. He reached across and picked up his cell phone.
“What the fuck…it’s nearly midnight.”
Luc grinned. “Yeah, the night’s still young. You want a drink?”
Gary was silent for a second. “I’ll be outside in fifteen minutes.”
“Take a cab,” Luc advised. “You won’t be wanting to drive.”
He showered quickly, dressed in jeans, a black T-shirt, and a black leather jacket—a remnant from his misspent youth—and headed out of the building. Gary raised an eyebrow when he saw him, then grinned.
Gary was tall and sandy-haired, and looked mean enough to scare anything that might be wandering the streets of London after midnight. He’d also been Luc’s best friend while they were growing up. They’d terrorized the streets together, gone after the same girls, watched each other’s backs, and managed to keep one step ahead of the law.
Gary had joined the army when he was seventeen. Luc had very nearly joined with him, but his father hadn’t been long dead, and Luc had still been determined to make those responsible pay. Now, he couldn’t help but wonder what his life would have been like if he’d enlisted with his friend. It was amazing how a single decision could affect your whole life and the lives of those around you. Would his mother have gone back to her family if he hadn’t gotten into trouble? She’d always sworn she wouldn’t.
Gary had left the army six years ago after a bomb blast in Afghanistan had left him with a permanent limp. He’d been unable to find a job, and Luc had offered him the position of head of security for his company. Now, he was in charge of hiring and firing the security force, but also headed up any investigative work Luc needed doing. He was good at his job.
“I kept the cab,” Gary said. “You want to go west or east?”
“East,” Luc said. “I have an urge to visit our old haunts tonight.”
“I know of a few places that might still be open. I’ll take you on a pub crawl.”
They were silent as they drove through the quiet streets, but as they settled down in the darkened booth of the first pub, Gary sat back, one arm along the seat, and studied him. “So what’s brought on this bout of nostalgia? Or need I ask?”
Luc took a long pull of his beer while he considered what to say. Gary was the only one he’d talked to about Lia—Luc had asked him to do a standard background check on her, before he’d left for the States. “Lia’s staying at the apartment until this is sorted out.”
“You know you’re making a mistake not letting me handle this,” Gary said.
“Yeah, and you know how I know—because you’ve told me a hundred times.”
“You’re too close, and it’s my job. You should listen to me. She’s obviously a treacherous bitch, and you’re a fool to go anywhere near her, let alone let her into your apartment.”
Gary considered him for a moment. “Don’t take this wrong, but Harley reckons you’re thinking with your dick and not your head.”
Anger flashed through him, but he pushed it down. Gary was genuinely concerned. He might not have been around, but he knew the havoc Jimmy Brent had caused in his life. “You’ve spoken to Harley?”
“When I was preparing the report.”
“But you came up with nothing to suggest that she’s in contact with Jimmy?”
“Maybe not. All I’m saying is—don’t lose sight of who she is, and who her father is. Don’t trust her.”