‘We’ll discuss that downstairs,’ Luc informed her, and strode out.
I just bet we will, Star thought, resenting the way Luc automatically assumed charge and closing out the little voice that warned that she was being mean and nasty. After all, just at that minute she felt like being horribly mean and nasty. It felt better than dwelling on the physical ache of painful yearning which Luc could rouse in her just by being in the same room. She could even justify nastiness as a necessary defense mechanism against a male who had hurt her as much as Luc had hurt her during the early hours of the morning…
First wanting her, then rejecting her, but not before he had picked out every one of her failings and held them up to her, so that she could know what an awful person she was. That seemed to be a pattern with Luc too. It was as if every time he felt he might be getting too close to her he just instantly switched off again and dragged up every reason under the sun to keep his distance.
And what she had said about Rory was true…up to a point, she reasoned. Rory was fond of the twins, but he really saw them as an extension of Star, while Luc had instinctively responded to their son and daughter as individuals and had awarded them and not Star his full attention. Was that a sin or a virtue? she asked herself bitterly.
Coffee had been laid out in the main salon when Star finally came downstairs again. While he’d entertained Venus and Mars, Luc had appeared more relaxed than she had ever seen him. Now she absorbed his cool and distant expression and veiled eyes. In a split second her nervous tension mushroomed. So Luc had accepted the existence of his children and had spent some time with them, but that certainly didn’t mean he was pleased that the wife he was planning to divorce had made him a father.
And if Luc was about to throw recriminations, Star wanted them over with as soon as possible. ‘Well?’ she said baldly, giving him the opening.
‘Coffee?’ Luc proffered smoothly.
‘Coffee makes me sick when I’m nervous!’
Luc poured himself a cup with the kind of cool that set her teeth on edge.
‘Well?’ she prompted a second time. ‘Just go on. Say it!’
Luc raised a politely enquiring brow. ‘What is it you wish me to say?’
In a whirl of sand-washed silk and frustration, Star spun away again, bangles jangling on her slender wrist in tinkling accompaniment. ‘If I hadn’t sneaked into bed with you, you wouldn’t be a father now!’
‘I knew what I was doing, mon ange.’
Star whirled round again, aquamarine eyes confused.
‘Did you notice me struggling?’ Luc enquired drily.
Her cheeks warmed.
‘Naturally not,’ Luc answered for himself. ‘I was enjoying myself far too much to call a halt, and I didn’t protect you from pregnancy. The responsibility for the conception of our children is undoubtedly all mine.’
His absolute self-command disconcerted Star just as much as what he was saying. After all, the enemy tank he had likened her to had taken surprise hostages. And possibly Luc was still in shock at that development.
‘You don’t have to take the blame,’ she began, sounding more like her usually fair self. ‘I knew—’
‘You knew nothing,’ Luc stressed with a wry twist of his sensual mouth. ‘Isn’t that the definitive point?’
Her face burned at that incontrovertible fact. She might have known about the birds and the bees the night the twins had been conceived, but the combination of boarding school and Emilie’s careful supervision had given Star little opportunity to experiment. A few over-enthusiastic clinches with teenage boys had not prepared her for the distinct but delicious shock of sharing a bed with a fully grown adult male possessed of the ability to give her the ultimate in pleasure.
Luc moved to lift the birth certificates which she had last seen in the dining room from the magnificent mantelpiece. Although only he could have been responsible for having moved them, he perused the certificates afresh with a decided hint of fascination. ‘Viviene and Maximilian…Viviene and Max Sarrazin,’ he sounded out softly.
‘Known as Venus and Mars,’ Star stressed, pausing in her restive movements round the room.