“Mr. Watson, it’s Lia Brent.”
He was silent for a moment, and Lia swallowed trying to clear the lump in her throat.
“Lia? What do you want?”
He sounded unfriendly, and Lia swallowed again and forced herself to go on.
“I want to see Luc. I thought you might know where he is. If he’s back in the country.”
“He’s back. He was here a couple of nights ago. Not in good shape.”
She didn’t know what to say to that and remained silent.
He sighed then spoke again. “Give me a bit of time and I’ll chase him down for you. Call you back.”
Lia released her breath then gave him her number. “Thanks,” she muttered.
“Just make sure you put things right.”
She was about to put the phone down when he spoke again. “Lia?”
“I’m sorry about your mum,” he said. “You should have told me.”
“And your dad.” He was silent for a moment. “Well, maybe I’m not sorry about him.”
Lia put down the phone slowly. Just talking to Harley seemed to bring Luc closer, and for the first time since they had parted she felt a sense of excitement.
Her mind refused to concentrate on anything after the phone call. Now that she had made the decision, she was in a frenzy of anticipation.
She had a lesson at two o’clock, and Harley hadn’t called. She got changed and still no phone call. If he didn’t call back by the time she finished work, she was going into London anyway. She would go to Luc’s office, to the apartment. She would hunt him down, and whatever he felt now, she would tell him she loved him, that she would trust her life to him.
Her pupil, Molly, was one Lia had worked with before, and she forced herself to concentrate, finally managing to immerse herself in the work. She heard a car drive up but ignored it.
She spun round. He was leaning on the wooden fence, dressed in a dark gray suit, white shirt, and red tie, incongruous in these surroundings, as though he had just stepped out of an office. For a moment, she wondered if she had conjured him up. His face was expressionless, his eyes hidden behind dark glasses, but she could sense him watching her.
“Harley said you phoned.”
“You wanted to see me. I drove down as soon as Harley called me.”
His voice was as expressionless as his face, but his hands gripped the railing, his knuckles tight with tension.
She walked slowly toward him, coming to a halt just in front of where he stood. Reaching up, she removed his glasses. She needed to see his eyes.
“I wanted to tell you I love you.”
He was silent, but his green eyes were searching hers, waiting for her to continue.
“I never actually told you, and it seemed important. I was going to come and see you tonight.” She shook her head. “I can’t believe you’re really here.”
He reached across the fence and picked up her hand, holding it against his chest. “So tell me,” he said.
She bit her lip. Her heart was thundering against her rib cage, and she took a deep breath. “I love you.”
There, it was done. And not so difficult. She searched his face for some sort of answer. It was clear in his expression. He opened his mouth, but they were interrupted by a loud cough from behind them. Lia turned. It was Molly, still sitting on her horse, waiting.
“Molly, I’m sorry, I...”
“Forgot me? Don’t worry, it’s entirely understandable.” She cast a quick glance at Luc. “But I think I’ll get off now and put Buster away. No need to come, I know where.”
Lia hurried over to the gate and opened it so Molly could lead the horse through.
When they were alone, she turned back to Luc. His gaze slid down over her body, lingering on the long length of her legs.
“I love that outfit,” he said, his voice low and husky, and shivers ran through her body.
She peered down at herself in confusion. “What?”
“The first time I saw you in it, I had an almost overwhelming urge to...” He paused. “Never mind. Anyway I’ve been having the most outrageous fantasies ever since.”
Lia licked her lips, felt his gaze follow the movement. “Fantasies?”
“Hmm…stables, bales of straw, you...”
She opened her mouth to speak, but her throat seemed to have dried up. She coughed, swallowed. “I know where there’s a stable. I could probably even find a few bales of hay.” Reaching out, she stroked her fingers down the scar on his cheek. “My father did this.”
Luc put his own hand over hers and pressed it to his cheek. “Not personally. Besides, it gives me an air of mystery. Helped me attract women when I was younger.”
Lia smiled at the thought of Luc ever having difficulties attracting women. “What about when you’re older?”
He pulled her hand down to his mouth and kissed her palm. “You tell me. You’re the only woman I’ll ever want.”
Lia melted at the words. Suddenly she needed to touch him, to feel him against her, convince herself this was really happening. She glanced around the yard. It looked deserted, only the horses watching from their stables. Still it was way too open for what she wanted to do.
“Come on,” she said.
“Where are we going?”
“To that stable of course.”
He took her arm in a hard grip. “Which one?”
Lia led him across the yard, almost hustling him into the empty stable, shutting the door firmly behind them. The stable was being used to store hay bales, and they were piled up against the walls. Luc smiled as he looked around.
Lia turned to face him, sliding her arms around him beneath his suit jacket, feeling the hard resilience of muscle beneath the smooth silk. Leaning close, she breathed in his scent, hot male and exotic aftershave. Her hands slid lower, down over the hard curve of his buttocks, and she pulled him to her. He was already rock hard, and she pressed her belly against the rigid line of him, heard him groan against her hair. His hands clasped her shoulders and he held her tight for a moment then put her from him slightly.
“We need to talk,” he said.
“We need to kiss.” She kissed his chest, then his neck. “We can talk afterward.”
He groaned again and pulled her to him, tilting her head so he could stare down into her eyes. He kissed her mouth, gentle at first, then harder as Lia melted against him.