Yelling for the taxi, he’d sprinted toward it, deliberately bumping Amelia so hard she stumbled. Her bags tumbled onto the sidewalk, spilling lacy bras and thongs.
All apologies, he dove for the woman, not the silky stuff. He caught her, his long limbs locking around hers at an impossibly intimate angle.
When body parts brushed, she fought a quivery smile and blushed. He felt a heady buzz of his own.
“I’m sorry,” he said, letting go of her instantly.
Those soft hazel eyes with spiky black lashes stared straight into his, and she turned as red as she had when he’d caught her buying the transparent underwear. All of a sudden she seemed almost beautiful.
“You! I saw you before…”
A shock went through him.
Then she said, “At Camden.”
He acted surprised. “Yes, how very strange. Do you live around here, too?”
“No. I’m visiting my sister. She has a flat just…” As if remembering he was a stranger, she stopped and knelt to pick up her bags and the bright bits of sheer lace and silk.
Quickly he knelt and gathered up bras and panties, too, tossing them into her bags but holding on to their handles.
Eyeing his hands on her underwear, she backed away from him a little.
He kept his distance. “If you’d like to have a drink, there’s a pub across the street, or there’s a tea shop around the corner.”
A passerby, a man, gave Remy and the black bra dripping from his right hand a sharp look.
“I’m really awfully tired,” she said.
“All right.” He dropped the lacy underwear into the appropriate bag and then handed her her things.
Her face again burned an adorable shade of red when she looked up at him from beneath those inky lashes, which were as sexy as her butt.
“In that case, I guess it’s goodbye,” he said.
“Yes, and alone. Big city. I prefer Paris.” Deliberately he allowed his accent to thicken.
“Of course. I love Paris, too. I’ve been there many times. With my…”
She looked wistful. Was she thinking of Tate? Her quick, sad smile struck a chord inside him. She’d probably loved Tate very much, he thought. His father damn sure had. He himself knew what it was to chase ghosts.
“Are you here on business?”
“Of a sort,” he replied.
“I like your accent. It’s elegant, but not snotty. You know, sometimes French people are so—”
“I like yours, too,” he said before she could insult the French, who were his people, after all, which might cause him to defend them. “You’re American?”
She nodded. “I’m on my way to France on rather a sad errand.”
The light left her beautiful hazel eyes. “A favorite aunt died. I—I used to spend every summer at her château.”
Her château? Like hell. Still, Tate must have been wonderful fun for a young niece, who had no reason to be jealous of her just because the comte had adored her instead of his own son. For all her faults, his outrageous, American stepmother had made his father happy. His own pretentious mother had not.
And he damn sure had not.
Remy’s teeth clenched, but when Amelia continued to stare at him, a stillness descended on him. Her nondescript face with those spiky lashes and naive gaze wasn’t beautiful. It wasn’t. But it was growing on him.
Why couldn’t he stop looking at her? Why did he feel so…so…
Aroused was the word he was trying to pluck from the ether.
Abruptly he looked away.
She sucked in a breath. “So, you’re French and I’m going to France,” she said lightly. “How’s that for a coincidence?”
“We meet in the market. And now here again. Why?”
No way could he admit he’d stalked the hell out of her. “I can’t imagine.”
“Maybe it’s fate.”
Fate. Horrible concept. He could tell her a thing or two about fate. Fate had made him the despised bastard of the father he’d adored. Fate had hurled him into André at 160 miles an hour and then into Pierre-Louis.
She was still rattling on as Remy remembered the long months of Pierre-Louis’s hospitalization after the amputation. But at least he’d…
“I mean London is so huge,” she was saying. “What is the chance of that?” When her shining eyes locked with his again, she must have sensed his darkening mood. Spiky lashes batted. “Is something wrong?”
Her soft voice and sympathetic gaze caused a powerful current to pass through his body.
He shook his head.
“Good.” Amelia smiled at him beguilingly. “Then maybe…maybe…I mean, if your offer’s still open, I think I will have that cup of tea, after all, even if we did just meet.”