When they got back to the chateau, they entertained the twins for an hour. After that, Venus and Mars had their tea and Bertille helped Star to bathe them. By the time the children were tucked into their cots Star was hungry, and, since Luc was now home again, she went to change for dinner. Clad in a floaty lemon dress that skimmed her ankles, she went downstairs and joined Luc in the drawing room.
To her surprise, Luc wasn’t wearing his usual formal evening dress. Dressed in beautifully cut khaki chinos and a toning shirt, he looked very elegant, yet very much more casual than she was accustomed to seeing him. In that split-second first encounter with his brilliant dark gaze, her tummy clenched and her pulses quickened. Her awareness of his devastating masculinity intensified to a degree that made her suddenly self-conscious.
‘Where’s your dinner jacket?’ she muttered in a rush to fill in the silence, shifting from one foot to the other, her cheeks warming as she hurriedly lowered her eyes from the downright lure of his.
‘Do you remember telling me that when I wore a dinner jacket I reminded you of the men who appear in old black and white movies?’ Luc enquired gently. ‘Since then, for some reason, I’ve never felt quite the same about dressing up for dinner.’
‘Well, times do change, although they never did here, did they?’ Star started talking in mile-a-minute mode. ‘Your father was a real old stick-in-the-mud for living the way your ancestors did. The last time I stayed here it was like I’d strayed back into the eighteenth century and was living history!’
Luc scanned her simple dress with its delicate embroidery. ‘But in spite of that, you’re now dressing for dinner.’
Star just grinned; she couldn’t help it: it was just typical that they should be out of step. But as she connected with his magnetic dark eyes a second time, that thought drifted from her again, more elemental responses taking over. All she really wanted was to be in his arms, and she felt she ought to have more control over herself.
‘You do look gorgeous in that dress,’ Luc extended softly. ‘And it’s going to be the perfect foil for my present.’
Luc swept a gift-wrapped box from the table behind him and settled it into her hands.
In genuine surprise, Star sat down hurriedly to open the box. When she lifted out a chakra necklace, she studied it in total shock. She only recognised what it was because she had once seen one in a book. Each different gemstone and crystal had been exquisitely cut and framed in intricate settings, the whole joined by delicate gold links.
Stunned, Star looked up and stared at Luc in amazement. ‘It’s just gorgeous…where did you get it?’
‘I had it made for you while I was in Singapore. A practitioner skilled in the healing qualities of crystals and gemstones helped me to decide what to include.’
Star slowly swallowed. ‘B-but you—’
Luc touched the first gemstone. ‘Amber for calm, amethyst for spiritual peace, aquamarine for communication…’ he enumerated steadily. ‘Azurite to help you find your life path and to trust in your intuition, topaz to protect you through life changes, opal for meditation, tourmaline to heal past traumas, lapis lazuli to change negative views into positive ones…and a rose quartz pendulum for powerful healing energy.’
‘I just can’t believe this…’ Star mumbled, examining each gem with close interest backed by growing appreciation and excitement at the meaning of so very personalised a present. ‘This means so much to me, Luc…and that you should have taken the trouble, made the effort when you don’t even believe in—’
‘There is a scientific basis to your convictions. Now that I know that, I can handle the concept better.’
‘You mean you don’t think I’m a crackpot any more?’ Star asked hopefully.
‘I never said you were a crackpot.’
‘It must have cost you a fortune…not that that counts for anything, with your wealth…but this is just one of those very, very special gifts that speaks so loud…’ At that point, Star got up and flung her arms round him, her heart singing like a thousand violins reaching a crescendo. ‘You are turning into a really wonderful guy, Luc!’