Nice moves. Very nice.
What would she feel like naked under him? Would she writhe? Or just lie there? Damn, if she were his, he’d make her writhe.
His bossy mother’s predawn call had annoyed the hell out of him, even more than usual.
“I’m too excited to sleep,” she said. “It’s all over the Internet. You’re a free man. And…Mademoiselle Weatherbee stayed at her sister’s flat on Duke Street in St. James last night! And will stay there tonight, as well! Since you live so close, I thought maybe you could…check on her.”
“I have back-to-back commitments before I can leave London.”
“So far, she’s refused all our offers to buy Château Serene, and she seems to want to follow her aunt’s wishes about donating the Matisse.”
“Isn’t she on her way to France?”
“Well, then, negotiate when she gets there.”
“She’s in London to do a little shopping for her store. I thought maybe you could meet her and work a little of your magic. But don’t take it too far. She probably doesn’t follow Grand Prix headlines, and with any luck, she won’t check the Internet and the London papers will ignore you.”
“I met her once, you know.”
“Years ago. If she doesn’t recognize you, don’t tell her who you are. No telling what Tate told her about us. Or you.”
“This town’s enormous. If I can’t call her or knock on her door and introduce myself, how the hell can I meet her without scaring her away? What would be the point?”
“Improvise. I’m going to fax you a recent photograph of her and her sister’s address.”
“You want me to stalk her, hit on her and entice her into some pub?”
“But be careful. The last thing we need is more nasty headlines.”
When she hung up, Remy crushed his paper coffee cup and pitched it into the trash. No sooner did it hit the can than he heard the fax in his bedroom. Amelia Weatherbee was not someone he’d ever wanted to see again.
Even her photograph brought painful memories. Holding it to the light, he noted the same youthful wistfulness shining in her eyes. Only now, there was a bit of a lost look in them, too, a sadness, a resignation.
He’d met her only that once. What was it—seventeen years ago? He’d been eighteen, she around thirteen. She’d eavesdropped on a private conversation, and he’d vowed to hate her forever for it even though she’d been kind. Especially because she’d been kind. Dammit! Who was she to pity him?
Funny how that same vulnerability in her eyes and sweet smile seemed enchanting and made him feel protective now.
He’d forced himself to dress and walk over to her flat, where he’d waited outside, reading the Times. When the varnished doors trimmed in polished brass had finally swung open and she’d stepped out into the sunshine, he’d shrunk behind his paper. Bravely armed against the gray sky with her yellow umbrella, she’d looked bright and fresh in her faded cotton dress and scuffed sandals.
He’d been trotting all over the city after Mademoiselle Weatherbee’s yellow umbrella and cute butt ever since. He’d watched her shop at Camden Market and Covent Garden, then Harvey Nicks and last of all Harrods Food Hall. But had she eaten? Hell, no! So he hadn’t eaten, either. Because of her, he was starving and grumpy as hell.
Americans. What sort of barbarian instinct made her skip lunch, a sacred institution to any man with even a drop of French blood?
During the lunch hour she’d gone into a nail shop, where she’d had a pedicure and had gotten tips put on her ragged nails. A decided improvement. Still, she’d skipped lunch.
At the Camden Market, he’d felt like a damn pervert when she’d fingered dozens of bright, silky bras and panties, holding them up to herself as she tried to decide. In the end, she’d surprised him by choosing his favorites—the skimpiest and sheerest of the batch.
Why couldn’t she be the practical-schoolteacher sort who wore sensible cotton panties and bras?
When she’d paid the cashier, she’d suddenly looked up, straight into his eyes. He’d been visualizing her in the red, see-through thong, and her embarrassed glance had set off a frisson of heat inside him. Not good. Fortunately she’d scowled at him and had quickly thrown the tangle of lingerie into a sack and slapped her credit card on top of the mess. After that, he’d kept out of sight.
But she was nearly back to her flat. He had to do something and fast. He’d wasted way too much time already.
She was on Jermyn Street, a mere half block from her building, and he was running out of options when a cab rounded the corner.