For the sake of our children? Concentrate on our marriage? Those were the only two phrases which Star absorbed from that speech. All the rest of what he said might as well have been directed at a brick wall. A heady mix of anguished pain and humiliation engulfed her like a drowning tidal wave. So that was what he was after now! Total possession of Venus and Mars, with her as a useful adjunct on the home front. Violent hurt shuddered through Star. All of a sudden Luc didn’t want a divorce any more. But she herself had played no part in his change of heart! What she had wanted and prayed for through eighteen endless months he was ready to give after spending only half an hour with their children! That was an unbelievable cruelty.
‘Are you cold?’ Luc demanded anxiously. ‘Why are you shaking?’
‘You insensitive toad!’ Star hurled rawly, her head flying up, aquamarine eyes blazing with outraged pain as she jerked free of him and stalked towards the door. ‘How dare you ask that of me after all you’ve put me through? You know, you may be the cat’s whiskers of a brain at the bank, but I don’t think you know diddly-squat about anything else in life!’
Luc reached the door first and slammed it fast, while he attempted to identify what he had said wrong. He had worked out that speech while he was playing with the twins, satisfied that it covered every potential rock on which he might run aground. He could have told her he thought she was like a butterfly, lighting on whichever male was within closest reach at any given time. He could have told her that her great love for Rory would enjoy as much longevity as her love for himself evidently had. And that when it came to loyalty in love she was horrendously unstable, and that for as long as he was her husband, he wouldn’t be trusting her out of his sight. But he had carefully avoided voicing a single superior or deflating opinion, and he really couldn’t understand why she was all wild-eyed and going over the edge screaming at him.
‘Calm down,’ Luc instructed steadily.
‘Get away from that door or I’ll throw something at you!’
‘If wilful destruction gives you a juvenile thrill, go ahead,’ Luc invited.
That provocative response sent such a flame of fury hurtling through Star she shuddered again. ‘You’re worse than a revolving door—’
‘A revolving…door?’ Stunning dark eyes rested on her with galling cool. ‘Come on, don’t leave me in suspense, mon ange. In what way do I remind you of a revolving door?’
‘One minute you’re there, the next you’re not and then you’re back again…you keep changing your mind and my head’s spinning!’ Star cried in shaking condemnation. ‘I don’t think you know what you want, but the minute I start wanting you back, you push me away again—’
‘Control yourself,’ Luc commanded.
‘Control myself?’ Star echoed, a whole octave higher. ‘Gosh, that’s a good one! Control yourself, but don’t do it in bed. Do you think I want to end up a buttoned-down control freak like you are? I don’t think you even know what goes on inside your own stupid head. I think around me you’re totally controlled by your over-active male hormones! And you don’t like that, do you? That gives me a certain power, doesn’t it? And that annoys the hell out of you, Luc Sarrazin!’
She saw the sheer rage in his eyes and it went to her head like pure alcohol, because at last she had hit home and, if not hurt, had outraged him, which was probably as close as she could get to getting a rise out of Luc. In an abrupt movement, he stepped away from the door.
Assuming he was backing off, shocked rigid by the kind of verbal attack he had never dreamt of receiving from her corner, and feeling incredibly triumphant, Star sashayed out through the door. She paused then, and sent him a shimmering glance of naked incitement over one slight shoulder. ‘And it didn’t take me to be tall, blonde and sophisticated either, did it? That gets you most of all, doesn’t it?’
‘If you want to hear what I really think, keep on talking,’ Luc ground out.
Star moved out into the hall and turned back again. ‘I bet you could have swallowed me as a wife if I’d—’