They shook hands and embraced again, even more fervently than before. Remy felt good that Pierre-Louis looked so much like his old self.
Remy showed him out and then raced down the hall to the elevator that went down to the underground parking garage. When the doors opened in the basement, he loped to his red, vintage Alfa Romeo Spider.
He started the engine and backed out, but when he hit the remote door opener and the garage doors rose, reporters who were bunched just outside on the sidewalk started shouting at him.
A tall man held up a grainy photograph from a front page of a notorious Paris tabloid.
Amelia—laughing as Remy led her from the Savoy.
Even though the shot was grainy, and her face was partially turned away from the camera, Remy’s stomach knotted.
“Who’s your new girl?” A cameraman shoved his camera against the sports car’s window. A flash burst in Remy’s face. More flashes and sordid questions demanding to know the details of the relationship followed.
Seething, Remy tapped the accelerator and inched forward. What he really felt like doing was hitting the brakes, leaping out of the car and throttling the bastards. But he’d slammed a fist into one reporter’s jaw last year, and they’d gotten all sorts of shots of that. Then they’d sued him and garnered more nasty headlines, all in an effort to exploit him to better their own bottom line.
He grabbed his wraparound sunglasses off the passenger seat and slammed them onto his face. Without waiting for a break in the traffic, he jammed his hand on the horn and tore into the traffic. Tires squealed. Brake lights flared as he shot ahead of them. Other drivers made lewd hand signals. He roared ahead of them, anyway.
As he sped off, a dozen motorcycles stuck to his tail while others swarmed like maddened bees on all sides of him.
He drove faster than the flow of traffic, and the paparazzi snapped pictures from their bikes the whole time. Long before he reached the grand old Hotel de Crillon on the Place de la Concorde, he was furious. Jumping out of his car, he flipped his keys and a thick wad of Euros into a doorman’s palm.
“Take good care of my biker buddies,” he muttered.
The doorman blew his whistle and reinforcements ran to help. Leaving the shouts behind him, Remy jogged briskly into the sanctuary of the Hotel de Crillon’s marble lobby. Not that he paid much attention to the opulent eighteenth-century Louis XV architecture and décor, which included sparkling mirrors and chandeliers.
The paparazzi were tenacious. He hated that they’d gotten a picture of her. Even though it was blurry and she wasn’t named and he didn’t plan to see her again, she might still be at risk. The last thing he wanted was that sweet girl to be hounded by the paparazzi because of him.
His mother’s cheeks were even brighter than the peachy marble walls of Les Ambassadeurs, which meant she was well into her second glass of Pinot grigio or maybe her third by the time he arrived at her table.While six waiters watched them in deferential silence, Remy leaned down to kiss his mother’s rosy cheek.
“Sorry I’m late,” he said as he sat down opposite her. “A friend dropped by the office at the last moment.”
She folded her menu. “Anybody I know?”
Her lips thinned. “Ah, yes. But I thought you said you were through with all that.”
Anything that had to do with Formula One had always been extremely distasteful to her. No wonder. Her lover, his biological father, had been killed racing Formula One. Their affair had destroyed her marriage. Remy had gone into Formula One as much to even the score with her as to get revenge on the comte for detesting him. After that dreadful afternoon when Remy had discovered that he was the bastard offspring of her illicit affair with Sando Montoya, the champion Grand Prix driver, Remy had hated her. But time and maturity had lessened those initial hot feelings. After all, she was his mother, and in her chilly way she adored him—if you could call her obsession with running his life adoration.
Well, those mistakes were in the past now, and like many people with regrets, they could do nothing but move on.
Her remarks on the subject of Pierre-Louis’s health were cool and dutifully polite. She was clearly impatient to move forward with her own agenda.
“I’ve invited Céline as I promised,” she said, her dark eyes sparkling.
He smiled, wishing he could postpone seeing Céline.
It was strange. Before Amelia, he’d been curious about Céline. Today he would have preferred to dine with his mother alone. For some reason he needed time to get past that night with Amelia in London. She’d left him shaken. And not because he’d probably made negotiating with her more difficult.