A mile down the road, she began to shake so hard she didn’t feel she could drive without endangering innocent strangers, so she pulled over.

She had always loved Fletcher. To her, he was still as gorgeous as he’d been in high school. But this wasn’t high school.

She flipped her visor down and stared at herself in its mirror much too critically. Normally when she wasn’t comparing herself to naked teenagers with Barbie Doll hair and pole-dancer bodies, she didn’t feel that old.

Today she’d been too busy because of her sale to bother with her makeup and hair. The wind and humidity hadn’t helped. Her brown hair hung in strings. Grief hadn’t helped, either. Her hazel eyes were red, and her mascara was running.

Images from the past swept her. She’d gotten a crush on Fletcher in kindergarten. By the sixth grade, maybe because he’d failed a year, he’d been almost as tall and cute and golden as he was now. Back then he’d been reckless and daring and the most popular boy in school, while she, Nan and Liz had been bookworms. Only, one day he’d run up to them at recess and painted a mock tattoo of a heart on Amy’s left arm. Then he’d kissed her cheek and stolen her book.

Amy had felt like Cinderella at the ball with her prince. Her cheek was still burning when he’d returned her book three hours later and kissed her again. He’d teased her like that for a few more years. Then they’d become serious in high school. Or, at least, she had. She’d told herself she could wait.

She was still waiting.

But not anymore!


Three days later

Promise me you won’t sleep with her.When a man is thirty-five and famous—make that infamous, especially with women—he is likely to resent such a command, especially from his mother. Even if she is a countess.

Without warning the slim young woman his mother wanted him to keep in his sights—for business reasons only—sprinted across the street.

Not wanting to alarm her, Remy waited a few seconds before loping after her.

He frowned. His mother had nothing to worry about. The wholesome Miss Weatherbee wasn’t his type.

Brown hair, thickly braided. Hazel eyes. Not ugly. But not beautiful. Nondescript really, except for…His gaze drifted to her swaying hips again. Then he remembered all the sexy lingerie he’d watched her buy and wished she weren’t forbidden because that made her infinitely more fascinating.

From birth, Remy de Fournier, or rather the Comte de Fournier, had had a taste for the forbidden. His mother and his older, brilliant sisters only had to tell him not to do a thing and he’d do it. As an adult he’d liked his cars fast and his women even faster—until the accident a year ago at the Circuit de Nevers at Magny-Cours had turned his life into a nightmare. Ever since, except for brief trips to Paris, he’d been living in self-imposed exile in London.

Yesterday the highest courts in France had decided not to charge him with manslaughter. As soon as he could make the arrangements he would be going home, which was the reason his mother had given for calling him. She wanted to set up a celebratory lunch in Paris with him and his first serious girlfriend, Céline, whom he hadn’t seen in years.

He should have felt relieved that he’d been exonerated, that his mother would even speak to him. Instead, last night he’d dreamed of the crash and of his steering wheel jamming. Again he’d felt that horrible rush of adrenaline as he’d fought the curve and the car and lost, hurtling into that wall at 160 mph before ricocheting into André’s car and then into Pierre-Louis’s.

With the memory of André’s terrified black eyes burning a hole in his soul, Remy had dressed and bolted out of his flat at four in the morning to buy coffee, returning to work on the family’s portfolio on his computer. Hours later he’d still been in a cold mood when his mother had called to discuss Céline and her lunch plans and to put him on to Mademoiselle Weatherbee, who was even now sashaying, her cute butt wiggling, glossy red shopping bags swinging against her thighs, toward her sister’s flat on Duke Street in St. James.

Why was it that the longer he trailed that ample bottom, the more appealing it became?

Usually he chose leggy blond models or busty socialites and princesses, sophisticated women, who knew how to dress. Céline was his type. Mademoiselle Weatherbee with her wide, trusting doe eyes and thick brown braid was not. Deliver him from naive Americans with no sense of style.

Still, it was growing easier and easier to look at her. The worn faded blue stripes of her vintage cotton sundress made her look innocent even as it showed off her slim shoulders, narrow waist and, okay, hell, emphasized that pert and rather large ass of hers and its moves.

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