‘Look after me?’ Reality was retreating so fast for Star that nothing short of a lightning strike was likely to bring it back. She was trembling, her pulses racing. The gloriously familiar scent of him was washing over her. After the emotional devastation which had followed their lovemaking the night before, there was now a sharper, needier, more desperate edge inside her; she had given him up and now he was back. She couldn’t help but be caught up in a sense of how precious that was.

‘Naturellement…I also believe that I can find you a house to live in here in France,’ Luc mused with growling sensual huskiness, a whisper’s breadth from her parted lips.

Her braincells surged together on the belief that something enormously important was being said. Was he teasing her? A house in France? My goodness, how stupid she was being! Was he…could he be asking her to stay on at Chateau Fontaine? What else could he be doing? A tide of pure joy roared up through Star and left her feeling totally intoxicated. Her fingers slid into his luxuriant black hair and curved down to his magnificent cheekbones.

‘House here in France?’ she echoed like an obedient child, eager to encourage further revelations but scared of the big prize being withdrawn if she seemed too pushy or greedy or impatient.

‘You’d like that…’ Luc gathered, lowering his proud dark head to sensually taste her full lips.

Liked that, liked everything! The hunger he expressed with one kiss sent heat hurtling through her at storm-force potency. She kissed him back with all her heart and soul and let her palms rove with wondering delight over his powerful shoulders. Mine, mine, mine, she wanted to yell to the rooftops, but she also wanted to live out every fantasy of eighteen months away from him.

She pushed at his shoulders with as much force as she could muster, grateful enthusiasm leaping through her. She wanted to show him just how much she could learn if he would only give her the opportunity and the time to pick up more experience. Then he would never, ever think that he needed a mistress like Gabrielle Joly in his life again.

Luc fell back against the pillows, a slight hint of disconcertion in his intent dark gaze. ‘What’s wrong?’

‘Nothing…absolutely nothing!’ Star was just a little shy now, on the spot, as it were, with all those lights on while being aware that Luc was very much a sophisticate. She was absolutely terrified of doing something wrong and spoiling the moment. After all, sex had to be of crucial importance to Luc if just one night with her could persuade him to ask her to forget that theirs was supposed to be a fake reconciliation and make it a real one instead.

‘Star…?’ Luc curved a hand to her downbent head. ‘I want you to be happy. I want to make you happy—’

‘Oh…you’re making me s-super-happy, because I—’ Just adore you. She swallowed it back hastily, not wishing to show herself too keen too fast. Goodness knows, that hadn’t got her very far before. Luc needed to believe that he had to make an effort to get those kind of results.

‘You need someone like me.’ Letting his fingers lace into her hair, Luc claimed a devouring kiss that left her quivering.

Intent on ensuring that he needed her even more, Star let an uncertain hand slide down over his taut stomach, fascinated by the way his muscles suddenly clenched and his equally sudden exhalation. She shifted position and bent her head, and let the tip of her tongue trace the intriguing little furrow of hair that ran down over his stomach and disappeared beneath the sheet. He jerked with satisfying responsiveness. Damp answering warmth surged at the very heart of her.

‘Later…’ His eyes blazing gold with desire, he tugged her up to him again, a ragged edge to his dark drawl. ‘But now there’s a couple of conditions to this arrangement that I need to be sure you understand and accept.’

Arrangement? In the act of drifting down to meet that wide sensual mouth like a programmed doll, Star found herself unexpectedly stayed by Luc’s hands on her arms. ‘Conditions?’

‘I expect total fidelity from you for the duration.’

Her lashes fluttered over bewildered eyes. She was really fighting to concentrate now, because Luc was wearing that deadly serious look which always intimidated her into listening.

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