He inhaled a deep, totally rationalising breath of extremely frosty air. It was just the hit he needed. Hell, what was she doing to him?
‘Hey, Ana,’ he called as she stepped through the door. ‘Who’s the pirate now?’
SEB knocked harder on the door of Phil’s apartment, finally heard Ana’s thumping footsteps and grumbles as she opened it up. He raised his brows at her appearance. Somehow her tan had got sallower overnight; dark circles ringed her eyes.
‘Your hangover’s that bad?’ He walked straight in.
He’d spent the whole night awake reliving those frantic moments in the car when she’d ravished him. His heart still thundered with the recollection, making the blood surge vitally through his veins. For the first time in days he felt alive. Whereas she looked queasy. That made him nervous.
‘Why are you here?’
‘Have you eaten?’ He ignored her bald question. He’d deal with that once she had some sustenance.
She shook her head, looking pinched at the suggestion. He didn’t think she’d had that much to drink at all. ‘You should—’
‘No, thanks, Seb.’
At the very least she was having a coffee. He went to the kitchen and started fiddling with Phil’s espresso machine.
She sank onto the sofa and stared at the black boots on the floor in front of her. ‘Why are you here?’
He sat next to her, tapped his finger on his knee and figured he might as well get it over with. ‘I don’t know if you realise this, Ana, but we didn’t use a condom last night.’
To his intense surprise she laughed. ‘Oh, don’t worry about that.’
Don’t worry about it? After what she’d been through?
She shook her head. ‘I’m on the Pill, Seb. I’m fanatical about it. Besides, I’m down one tube—there’s less chance of a successful pregnancy.’
Oh. OK. The Pill. Good. That was good. She was safe. And he didn’t need to feel as if there were needles being rammed in him all sides over.
But he did.
Less chance of a successful pregnancy.
The silence grew. He watched as she slowly shrank deeper into the sofa. All of a sudden he knew he had to get out—and that he had to get her out. To fresh air and salt water—to where he could clear his head and she could hers. ‘Come on, we’re going for a drive.’
‘I don’t want to go for a drive.’
It wasn’t the result of too much alcohol making Ana feel queasy at all. She’d only drunk a couple of glasses of bubbly. But she’d let Seb think it was a hangover—that way she could explain away that hussy moment on drink rather than desperate desire.
She’d thrown herself at him. Literally launched herself aboard and stolen a ride. One that hadn’t been enough. And that was what was really making her sick. She still wanted more. One look at him in his jeans and charcoal jersey and she was all warm mush inside and longing for things neither of them wanted. Seb wasn’t into for ever and she was building her business—so she could build her life around that. And that was why she had to do this now.
She had to stop seeing Seb.
Today was the day.
Yet somehow she was walking out with him. Feeling her cheeks flush as she slid into his car. He lightened the drive with idle chat, chat and more chat. It was amazing how he could keep a conversation going all by himself.
‘Are you still alive?’
OK, so he was clued into her quietness. She smiled. ‘I’m enjoying your waffle.’
It wasn’t all she enjoyed about him. And that was her problem, wasn’t it? It wasn’t just the sex that she liked—she liked him all round. And, knowing him the way she did now, she knew that was doubly dangerous for her.
They finally arrived at the seaside. Walked for an age on the sand—not speaking, just stretching legs and listening to the seagulls. Ordinarily such exercise would soothe her. But she was too anxious for it to work today.
‘Let’s get an ice cream.’ He looked so vital—his face full of colour and humour.
‘Seb, it’s freezing.’
‘Ice cream usually is.’
‘No, I mean the weather.’
‘But we’re at the beach and when at the beach—’
‘We need to stop this, Seb,’ she said quickly.
He stopped talking and walking. Their eyes met.
‘Was a mistake.’ She interrupted him again. ‘We need to stop.’
She needed to stop.
She turned and walked back towards the car. There was nothing more to say. Nothing more she could say because the side of her head was suddenly pounding as if a hundred tribesmen were beating drums inside it. She needed to close her eyes. She needed to lie down. Why was the car so far away?