Furious colour lashing her cheekbones, Star snatched in a ragged breath to steady herself. She wanted to shout back at him, but she didn’t want to waken the twins and distress them. ‘How dare you ask me that?’
Unmoved, Luc raised a winged brow. ‘Is that a yes or a no?’
‘Of course I know…and I deeply resent the suggestion that I might not have known!’ Star dragged her attention from him and focused instead on Venus and Mars. ‘But they weren’t conceived in what you might call a lasting relationship—’
‘You had a one-night stand,’ Luc assumed in derisive interruption.
Star breathed in so deep she wondered that she didn’t simply explode. ‘Yes, I suppose that would be the most apt description,’ she conceded unevenly. ‘The twins weren’t planned—’
‘So they just happened along, much like you did yourself? Doesn’t that strike you as a very irresponsible attitude?’
‘Their father was irresponsible too,’ Star pointed out dulcetly. ‘And the reason he’s not helping me to support the twins is that he doesn’t know that I got pregnant because I decided not to tell him.’
Luc shifted a broad shoulder. The slight, elegant Gallic shrug of dismissal suggested his waning interest in the subject.
Cut off in full swing, and feeling incredibly snubbed by his apparent lack of normal human curiosity, Star thrust up her chin. ‘I can’t fly to France this evening.’
‘You must,’ Luc contradicted. ‘You can pack what you need for tonight. I will have the rest of your possessions cleared and flown over tomorrow. We can’t afford to appear lukewarm about our reconciliation at this stage.’
‘It just gets worse and worse…’ Star groaned. ‘We’re getting sucked deeper and deeper in.’
‘I’m afraid there won’t be time for you to cook for Rory.’ Without the slightest warning, Luc’s wide mouth curved into a startlingly charismatic smile.
Her heart jumped like a bemused bird smashing itself against a windowpane. That so rare smile stole her breath from her throat and sent her treacherous pulses pounding. Her colour fluctuating, she collided unwarily with stunning dark eyes alight with amusement, and her sense of impending tragedy simply mushroomed. Her whole body was taut as a bow, every muscle so tight it hurt, and all Luc had done was smile, filling her with intense awareness of his masculinity and all the raw-edged emotions she had sworn to put behind her.
‘Unless you’ve been polishing up your catering skills since we last met, Rory may well live to be grateful for the cancellation,’ Luc extended silkily.
At that explanatory reference to an incident from their own past, Star’s over-taxed emotions responded by simply flooding her eyes with tears. ‘You are so insensitive!’
‘After last night, I could hardly be expected to appreciate that you are that keen on the guy,’ Luc murmured with cool, contemptuous clarity.
Humiliated by that rejoinder, Star’s hands knotted into fists and she twisted her bright head away, fighting to get herself back under control. He could think what he liked! And as usual he’d read her wrong! Eighteen months ago, in one of her many attempts to persuade Luc to see her as a proper wife, she had given the chateau chef a night off and made dinner one evening. And it had been an absolutely mortifying total fiasco. Anything that hadn’t been overcooked had been undercooked. And, worst of all, Luc had attempted to eat those pathetic edible offerings because he’d felt sorry for her.
‘My chauffeur will take you home to pack and bring you to the airport in time for the flight this evening,’ Luc drawled some minutes later.
Startled by that announcement, Star glanced up and registered that the limousine had already drawn to a smooth halt outside the Sarrazin bank in central London.
‘I have several appointments to keep.’ His brilliant dark deep-set eyes were cool as ice. ‘But, as requested, I’ve come up with a better explanation with which to satisfy Emilie when our charade of a marriage disintegrates all over again. On this occasion, you can just tell her the truth!’
Star studied him in bewilderment. ‘Sorry, I—’