‘You,’ she practically spat. ‘How else do you think my dad was able to pull so many women and use them so badly? He’s a charmer, just like you are.’
‘I am nothing like your father.’ His vehemence was the most emphatic she had ever heard him.
‘You use women for your own gratification with no thoughts of them as real people.’
‘That is utter rubbish. I have never cheated on anyone. Ever.’ An ugly tone curdled his words. ‘I despise cheats.’
‘You still use women.’
‘I do not use women. I am never anything but honest with my lovers. Do not kid yourself into believing they are in my bed under false pretences.’
‘You used me. I thought you wanted me in your bed because you wanted me. I had no idea you wanted to get your hands on my stupid phone and not my body.’
It was Pepe’s turn to suck in a breath. ‘I accept that I used you, Cara. I am not proud of what I did but it had to be done. My brother was a man on the verge of a breakdown. It doesn’t change the fact that I found you as sexy as hell. I still do. I wanted to make love to you regardless of the circumstances.’
‘You still used me. You can tell me until you’re blue in the face that you’re nothing like my father but I know better. You’re two of a kind. You make love to women and then dump them, leaving them to deal with the emotional fallout. And the unwanted after-effects. Like babies,’ she couldn’t resist adding.
A screech of brakes and a swerve of the wheels as he brought the Mercedes to a shuddering halt on the verge.
Pepe turned the engine off, his breathing ragged.
Cara took little consolation that she had finally pierced his charming armour.
For long moments the only sound was their breathing.
‘I am going to start driving again in a moment,’ he said grimly. ‘Unless you want me to leave you to make your own way back to Paris, I suggest you do not speak to me, other than to say if you’re feeling ill.’
From the tone of his voice, she knew he meant every word.
IT WAS NO USE. Sleep really had no intention of coming. She could count as many sheep as she liked but they might as well be blowing big fat raspberries at her for all the use they were at getting her off to slumber.
Cara climbed out of bed and reached for her new robe, which was more of a kimono. However much she might tell herself that she was itching to get her well-worn flannelette dressing gown back, there was no getting around the fact this scarlet silk kimono was utterly gorgeous and felt like liquid on her skin.
After three days in Pepe’s Parisian home she still wasn’t as familiar with the layout as she should be, but she knew her way to the kitchen.
She hadn’t seen much of him since their drive back from the Loire Valley. Instead of keeping her chained to him, he’d had a change of heart and now insisted she be chained to Monique the housekeeper instead. Okay, maybe that was a slight exaggeration. What he had actually said, when they’d arrived back at the house after almost three hours of ice between them, was that all his meetings for the rest of the week were in Paris and that she was free to stay at home if she would prefer. Just as she’d thought he was becoming a more reasonable human being, he’d qualified it with, ‘Monique is around during the day. She can accompany you if you need to go anywhere.’
‘Where is there for me to go?’ she’d shot back. ‘I don’t speak the language and I don’t have any money to do anything. Parisian prices are stupidly high.’
He’d shrugged without looking at her. ‘I have a swimming pool and spa—you’re welcome to use them whenever you wish. Besides, if the paternity test proves your child is mine then you’ll have more money than you know how to spend.’
She’d responded by calling him a name that would have made the nuns from the convent she’d attended before moving to England blush.
The following morning he’d made matters even worse by having a top-of-the-range laptop, smartphone and e-reader delivered to the house for her. The e-reader had, from what she’d been able to ascertain, unlimited credit installed. She’d taken a perverse pleasure in downloading as many books as she could, all featuring the most unheroic, misogynistic protagonists that she could find. Hopefully Pepe would receive an itemised bill with all the titles listed for him.
She hated that he would do something thoughtful. It was the same as when he’d driven her home rather than make her fly back in the helicopter. She didn’t want him to be nice. She wasn’t going to be like her mother and forgive deplorable behaviour because of a stupid gift.