“I will make sure you are still pampered,” he assured her.
“What about you?”
“What about me?” he asked, not following.
“Don’t you think you could do with a bit of pampering?”
“I will avail myself of the spa services.”
“To check their quality standard, I bet.”
“So, you’re something of a workaholic,” she clarified.
“As are you.”
“I love my business.” But she wasn’t really a workaholic. Once her business was established, she had every intention of cutting back her hours to make room for other things. “I never intended it to be everything in my life.”
“Then why do you consider the prospect of parenting the dissolution of your dreams?”
Shocked at his interpretation of her earlier words, she jerked in startlement. “I didn’t mean my business.”
He didn’t look like he believed her. “What did you mean, then?”
“It’s not something I want to discuss right now.” Really. Truly. It would do neither of them any good to hash over her old dream of building a life with a man who loved her, and the more recently acknowledged dream of having Zephyr be that loving man.
He opened his mouth to say something, but before he got a chance, a masculine voice from behind them said, “You’ve arrived. Finally.”
They both turned to face an attractive black man.
Zephyr stepped forward with his hand out. “Ah, Jean-René. Good to see you.”
He turned back to Piper. “Pethi mou, this is our architect, Jean-René Tilieu. Jean-René, this is Piper Madison, our designer.”
Jean-René’s smile was white-white and full of charm as he bent over Piper’s extended hand, rather than shaking it. “An exceptional pleasure, mademoiselle.”
“Merci. I’m really looking forward to working with you. I find your work both inspiring and impressive.”
“Ah, you know the way to a man’s heart is flattery, non?”
Zephyr stepped forward and put his arm around Piper’s waist. “Piper does not flatter, she always speaks the truth.”
Jean-René gave them a speculative look and then met her eyes, his expression serious. “Then I am doubly honored by your praise, mademoiselle.”
“That is an interesting name, n’est-ce pas?”
“I was named for one of my father’s mentors in the army,” she informed him.
Zephyr looked down at her. “You never told me that.”
“It’s a bit embarrassing, to be named after a grizzled army master sergeant who chewed tobacco and shot pistols with equal enthusiasm.”
“Piper is a feminine name, though, non? This master sergeant who chewed tobacco is a woman?” Jean-René asked.
Piper laughed. “No, Pipes is his nickname and I never asked how he got it.”
“That’s probably best,” Zephyr said, humor lacing his tone.
She smiled up at him. “That’s what I thought.”
“Two great minds.” Jean-René flashed that brilliant smile again. “Clearly this project is in sympathetic hands.”
“Without a doubt. I’ve studied your work in depth and I’ve worked on enough developments with Zephyr to know that our approaches are going to dovetail nicely.” Her only concern, and it was not strong, was how the Greek contractor would be to work with as he was a complete unknown to her.
“Très bien. Do you wish to discuss initial thoughts over dinner, or wait until tomorrow?” he asked Zephyr.
Zephyr turned his head so his and Piper’s gazes met. “What do you think?”
Why was he asking her? Maybe this was about watching the sunset. “Is the dining room on this side of the house?”
“No, but we can eat in here,” Zephyr replied.
“Mais oui, the view of the setting sun is magnifique. I saw the most glorious rays yesterday evening when I arrived.”
“Then it is settled.” She stepped away from both men and headed toward the stairs. “I’m happy to jump right in, as I’m sure you are both eager to do. Which room is mine?”
“I had the housekeeper put us in the master suite.” This time Zephyr did not ask her opinion and his expression dared her to disagree.
Like she was going to argue. She enjoyed sleeping with him. “I’ll see you upstairs, then.”
She went in search of the master suite, assuming it wouldn’t be difficult to find and she was right. The fact that she found a maid inside unpacking their cases was almost as big a clue as the giant four-poster bed that would have looked silly anywhere but a master bedroom.