Page 24 of The Secret Father

‘What are you thinking about?’

‘You.’ Turning her head to meet the sleepy, sexy stare, Lindy didn’t have time to wonder whether the truth might inflate his ego to unmanageable proportions.

‘Fascinating subject.’

‘Smug, egotistical—’ She broke off, laughing as he hooked one arm underneath her and, one hand firmly curved around her behind, shifted her onto her side. The gurgle of amusement faded as she found herself nose to nose with him.

‘You were saying?’ he murmured, watching her from under the sweep of those ludicrously long lashes.

‘You’re delicious,’ she said. It wasn’t a situation where defences or half-truths would do.

‘Delicious?’ He queried her use of adjective with a quirk of his mobile lips.

‘Uh-huh,’ she confirmed. ‘Like one of those delicious, sugary works of art it always seems criminal to eat.’

He closed his eyes and whistled softly. ‘What a sinful picture.’

‘What is?’ she whispered, running her fingers over the hard curve of his angular jaw. Her touch met with the faint resistance of a slight covering of stubble. The sinfully suggestive surge of his body against her distracted Lindy from this fascinating discovery—everything about Sam was fascinating!

‘That very pretty mouth nibbling me.’

She drew a sharp, startled gasp. ‘Oh, my goodness!’ Vivid images danced across her vision.

‘My very thought,’ he rumbled, amusement echoing in the vault of his chest. ‘God, but I love you!’ He was still laughing when he claimed her parted lips.

Lindy gave herself up to the spiralling excitement. She wouldn’t read anything into a term which people around her seemed to use with reckless abandon. Like a missing piece in a jigsaw, something clicked in her brain. It was easy to blot out the truth when her senses were filled with the taste, touch and smell of Sam.

‘Sweet and slow this time?’ His voice was warm and rich with anticipation.

‘It sounds fine to me,’ she agreed faintly.

It was.

‘Well, what do you think?’

He sounded as if he really cared about her opinion. ‘I think she’s beautiful, Sam.’ That he loved every gleaming inch of the forty-eight-foot boat had been obvious as he’d shown her over the Jennifer, his pride concealed behind an endearingly offhand manner.

He seemed to relax a little after scrutinising her expression with a strange intensity. Lindy had the feeling she’d passed some sort of test.

‘We’ll motor out to sea and then you can feel what sail power is all about,’ he promised.

Sam’s enthusiasm was infectious, but all the same the feeling of raw power when the white sails unfurled filled her with a totally unexpected sense of awe and delight.

She wasn’t alone long before Sam came to join her. Not used to the pitch of the deck, she caught hold of his arm to steady herself as she took the few steps to his side.

‘It’s incredible,’ she shouted, laughing up at him. Exhilaration sparkled in her eyes.

‘It’s home,’ he said simply. ‘Nothing else gives the same sense of freedom.’ His blue eyes were fixed on the distant horizon.

Lindy frowned; for a moment his abstraction alienated her. He was so totally at home in this environment. She shrugged to banish the transitory feeling. She didn’t want anything to spoil the day. She had him all to herself. Work occupied such a lot of Sam’s energy and she’d been anticipating these two days with impatient delight. Now it was here she wanted the time to last for ever. She was glad that Hope had refused Sam’s invitation to join them, and she hoped she had hidden her unsisterly chagrin at the casual inclusion.

The ever present worry that Sam Rourke was an addiction she was going to find hard to break when the time came surfaced, only to be banished once more to the back of her mind. She saw him every day on set, but his behaviour there gave no hint of their private relationship. Whilst she didn’t want to be the object of gossip and conjecture, sometimes Lindy did find the situation frustrating. When she listened to yet another speculative comment about whom Sam might be seeing she wanted to scream, No, it’s not her, it’s me he’s with! She would stop short, shocked by the thoughts in her head. It was as if they belonged to a stranger.

Content to ride the white-crested waves in silence, she leant back against him. For the first time in days the tension that had lain coiled just below the surface was absent from his body. He was pushing himself, if not to the limit—because she already knew his endurance was formidable—pushing himself hard. Lindy traced a pattern with her rope-soled shoe on the teak deck. No rich man’s plaything, this craft. Sam had made it quite plain that this was a working yacht, a steel-hulled ketch capable of crossing oceans.