His eyes didn’t leave hers as, keeping hold of his hand, she lay back on the pillows and demanded, ‘Do it again.’
‘Maximum pleasure.’ She closed her eyes.
Seb looked out the wide open door frame and watched her sitting cross-legged on the sand combing her hair. As beautiful as a siren tempting a sailor to his death. He wished he were combing her hair. He wished she were sitting astride his lap and he were sinking deep into her, and having that glorious hair trail across his face and those long legs wound round him.
She was an incredible lover. Hell, yes, she was incredible. He’d never felt so wanted, or felt such want for another in his life, had been surprised by her hunger and her aggression. Ana was assertive? Why, yes, she was now. If only he’d realised, he’d have come after her sooner.
Every fantasy he acted on he wanted an immediate repeat. And more ideas filled his brain, tantalising him. So now the siren called and he was helpless to resist. He walked out to the beach, took the comb from her hand and did what he’d been dreaming of.
The afternoon stretched long and lazy. He got a bao game and with Hamim’s help they learned how to play it. Her competitiveness came to the fore, especially when he proposed an adults-only kind of prize for the winner. He was intrigued by the way her mind worked, the way she skilfully strategised—and he wanted to know more. ‘You play chess?’
‘I used to play with Phil. And then at university—’ She broke off and coloured.
‘My ex-boyfriend thought he could play.’
‘You whipped him every time, huh?’ Because she was good, she was smart and there was much more to her than big blue eyes and intoxicating long legs.
She nodded. ‘He didn’t like it.’
‘What happened to ex-boyfriend?’
Her eyes dropped to the board. ‘He found someone else. Someone shorter. Someone blonde.’
So she’d been cheated on, huh? No wonder she didn’t believe him when he said he’d been single all this time. And there was that height thing again. ‘Someone crap at chess?’
She laughed. ‘I don’t know. Probably.’
‘That man was clearly an imbecile. When playing for this kind of reward it’s not a bad thing to lose to you.’
She looked at him slyly. ‘I thought you always played to win.’
‘Well, you have to admit this is a win-win situation.’
She dropped some kete into one of the grooves on the board. ‘What was it like winning the Robertson case?’
‘You know about that?’
‘It was in every national newspaper for weeks. Of course I know about it.’
The Robertson case had been ugly. The guy had let his TV talent show instant stardom go to his head. Had ditched his young wife of three years and their newborn babe and embraced the life of the rock star—and the starlet he’d met at the recording studio. He’d thought his newfound money and fame would swing it. Had appointed one of the biggest name divorce lawyers in the city—arguing his new wealth was his and not for sharing with his wife and child. His wife had appointed Seb. At the time it had been the biggest case of his career and had cemented his reputation. ‘Robertson had wanted his fight in court. He’d got it.’
‘And you won.’
‘There were no winners, not in a case like that,’ Seb still felt the anger. ‘There was a kid, Ana. A kid who when old enough will look back at that case and see that his father didn’t want him, didn’t want to know him, didn’t want to spend time with him and that he was forced by the court to pay money to help raise him. How’s that going to make him feel? And it happens all the time. Either the kids are rejected or they’re torn apart as the bargaining chip between two bitter parents.’
He always encouraged counselling, mediation, out-of-court settlements—anything to try to make it easier because those people had to deal with each other when they had kids. There was no end, no finality. All it was was a mess.
‘Was that what it was like for you, when your parents broke up?’
He froze. Should have known that was where she was headed. That was why he never usually discussed his parents with women—they always wanted to probe deeper than he liked to go. ‘I was the bargaining chip, I guess. They both fought for me, over me.’
But even though they’d both wanted him, he hadn’t been enough. Not enough to hold them together, not enough to make either of them happy. Most of their problems had been because they hadn’t been able to have another child. He—their one child—hadn’t fulfilled them.