She couldn’t join him as he chuckled. This wasn’t that funny for her—it was full on. But OK. He wanted to talk personal? Maybe she’d take the opportunity to do some digging—she had a few questions she’d like answered. ‘Do you ever really have a good time, James?’
He sobered instantly and placed his hand over hers. She had to concentrate extra hard to listen for the answer and not let her brain go fuzzy from the body contact.
‘What do you mean by that?’ He sounded surprised.
‘You’re never really in the gossip pages of the papers or magazines—even though your family is almost as well known in Sydney as mine is on Aristo. And sometimes you don’t look like you’re having so much fun.’
‘How do I look?’
She thought for a moment and then opted for the truth. ‘Intense.’ And definitely brooding. There had been times when she’d seen the serious look descend over the charming features and she figured he was thinking about something—some sort of bother. Was it work or was it a woman?
His voice was low and gently mocked. ‘I know how to have a good time, princess.’ He shot her a look that made her more than aware of the kind of fun he was thinking of right now.
Fantasies of dark nights swirled in her head once more.
‘Just because you like to party on the pages of the gossip magazines doesn’t mean the rest of us have to. I don’t need publicity to prove what a good time I’m having.’ His fingers tightened, stopping her from withdrawing her hand. ‘I prefer to keep my wild times private, not have them dissected in the papers.’
That one really rankled. It was one thing that her brothers really frowned on. It had been OK for them to get up to whatever in the good old days, but the minute there was wind of a story on her they came down hard. She curled her fingers away from his.
‘You shouldn’t believe everything you read.’
His expression darkened. ‘Really?’ He smoothed the palm of his hand along the ridge of her fist.
Liss watched as exactly the intense brooding look she’d meant descended on his features. Then she watched him take a deliberately deep breath, visibly aiming to relax. ‘Actually, I’ve been wondering about one salacious detail for some time.’
She raised a brow and tried to look as if she didn’t care that much. The papers wrote an awful lot of rubbish—recycled pictures and added tired old quotes from people she’d never met.
He leaned towards her, voice lowered. ‘Whether it’s true you usually go without underwear in your trademark slinky party dresses.’
She couldn’t help the smile at that, a bubble of laughter stirred and her flirt mood revived. ‘That’s for me to know.’ She couldn’t resist throwing him the challenge. ‘Think you’re going to find out?’
‘I’d be willing to bet on it.’ He shot the answer straight back.
It almost stopped her—but not quite. ‘I’m not a betting woman.’
‘Wise girl. In your shoes I wouldn’t be either.’ He grinned wickedly, reminding her of their race the other week. ‘Who’d be fool enough to bet against a dead certainty?’
She tried to think of something suitably cutting to say only her brain wasn’t working as fast as it usually did.
‘You’re very confident.’
‘I am,’ he agreed softly. ‘Want to know why?’
He lifted his hand from hers, took a pinch of her hair and tugged so she turned her head his way again. One look into those eyes again and she was mesmerised.
Utterly still she sat as he drew closer, blocking everything from her senses but him.
‘This is why,’ he muttered. He let go of her hair, but his hand didn’t leave her head. His fingers slipped down the side of her face, and he traced around the curve of her jaw. The smallest touch was sensational —it was as if tiny fireworks had been set off along his path and the next patch of skin demanded its share…but most especially it was her mouth that wanted his attention. She had to open it, just a little. She had…to… breathe. The small creases at the corners of his eyes deepened a fraction. He knew. And then he responded—his finger traced up from her chin and slowly, with delicate pressure, he rubbed the tip of it back and forth over her lips. They felt dry and full and needy. What she’d give for a drink right now—a drink straight from his mouth.
His slow, delicious, tormenting caresses didn’t stop. Just one finger, cruising the contours of her lips and she couldn’t look away from the promise of passion in his eyes. She forgot where they were, the low hum of the airplane faded to nothing—only conscious of the sound of her own breathing and the intensity of his attention.