“Hold on,” he growled, his nostrils flaring, his gaze narrowing on her through the mirror. “How do you know who Phoebe Cane is? Have you been talking to Ian about that time he walked in on us at Aurore?”
Lin blanched. “No. Of course not. Ian walked in on Phoebe and you?”
Kam’s mouth went hard. Lin thought of turning around and studying his face, but his reflection seemed easier to face somehow. Not safe, just safer.
“Not on purpose,” Kam eventually said. “And not just Phoebe and I. Phoebe and I . . . and one of her friends, Eloise,” he admitted bluntly.
Heat rushed through her face and chest in the silence that followed. Wonderful. This was even worse than she’d suspected. “You have two lovers in France?” she asked after a moment. “You’re . . . uh . . . involved in a ménage à trois?”
“No,” he insisted with quiet scorn. “I’m not involved in anything. I only saw Eloise that one time. She was visiting Phoebe from Germany. They pounced on me at Aurore one night with a case of beer. They’d been out partying earlier, and I was some kind of girls-night-out bet. We were just having a good time. Ian accidentally interrupted us, and took it as proof that I’m a sex-starved degenerate. Like he lived his life like an altar boy before he met Francesca,” he added derisively under his breath.
“I see,” Lin said hollowly. “But Phoebe doesn’t live far away. She’s in the village, isn’t that right?”
His face looked as hard as carved rock in the reflection in the mirror. His thumbs moved on her shoulders.
“Listen to me,” he said quietly. “I am not involved in a relationship with Phoebe Cane. If you want me to profess to being celibate, I can’t. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been honest with you. Yes. Phoebe lives in the village, and we’ve been known to get together on and off over the years. We’ve also both seen other people. Neither one of us is perfect, but at least we’re honest with each other about what we’re doing.”
“About the fact that you just want sex from each other,” Lin said in a hushed voice.
His eyes glittered. “Yeah. About the fact that we just want sex from each other.”
“She sounds very eager for you to return.”
“Why in the hell have you been talking to her?” he demanded, an incredulous expression spreading on his features. “Don’t tell me you’ve been doing more research for Ian.”
“No. It’s nothing like that. And I haven’t been speaking with Phoebe, not directly. Maria, one of our admins, speaks French much better than I do,” she said.
He did a small double take. Belatedly, she realized she was smiling. Could this situation be any odder? She was standing here nearly stark naked talking to Kam about his love affairs through a mirror. Strangely, she had no wild urge to cover herself. It was like a spell of honesty had come over her following her former unsuccessful subterfuge. There was something about Kam that just inspired honesty.
“We had a legitimate reason to get into contact with Phoebe,” she said softly. “It has nothing to do with spying on you. It was Ian’s idea, and his intentions were very good.”
“Tell me,” Kam demanded.
His eyebrows shot up at her firm refusal. Her small smile widened as a storm cloud crossed his bold features. “If it’s got to do with Phoebe, it must have to do with Angus. There’s no other good reason for you all to be contacting Phoebe. Is my dog all right?”
“As far as I know, Angus is doing very well.” He gave her a fierce look that she perfectly read as Well then, what’s the problem?
“It’s a surprise. And you’ll find out soon enough, so don’t badger me to tell you.” For a few taut seconds, his expression darkened. She raised her eyebrows in a cool challenge. Triumph soared through her when she saw his irritation melt. Her smugness was short lived, however. Her breath hitched when Kam’s hands slid lower. Had she forgotten she was standing in front of him wearing only a bra? No, it wasn’t that she’d forgotten. She’d been electrically aware of the fact the whole time. Being naked in front of him made her feel . . . not comfortable exactly. She was too excited for that. But it did feel right.
He molded her upper arms into his palms.
“So Phoebe isn’t a serious thing,” she said softly. “Has there ever been? Anyone serious?”
“Why?” he asked, his gaze dipping over her image in the mirror. Her nipples tightened into hard crests behind the fabric of her black silk bra.
“Because I’m curious about you,” Lin replied without a trace of defensiveness. His stare flicked from her belly to her hips, lingering on her pussy, before it returned to her face. How did just one of his glances set a spark to her blood?
“There was a woman named Diana,” he rasped. “In London. For almost four years.”
“Did you love her?”
For a few seconds, she thought he wasn’t going to respond.
“I thought I did. And she thought she loved me. Turned out, we were both in love with somebody that wasn’t really there.”
Lin nodded in silent understanding.
He stepped an inch closer so that she felt his hard torso through the fabric of his shirt and his fly bumped against her tailbone. She inhaled the smell of soap and male skin and something else.
“What about you?” he asked, his deep, rough voice a scraping caress on her neck.
“Have I ever been in love?” Lin clarified.