Sinful Nights(7)By: Penny Jordan
Her heart thumping, her body tense Sapphire waited. She had known him immediately, and was shaken by her childish desire to keep silent; to run from him.
“Sapphire?’ He called her name again and then cursed under his breath.
She was being stupid, Sapphire told herself, and added to that she was beginning to feel distinctly odd. Blake’s shadowy figure seemed to shift in patterns of mist, the sound of her own heartbeats one moment loud the next very faint.
‘Blake … over here.’ How weak her voice sounded but he heard it. He came towards her with the certainty of a man who knows his way blindfolded. As he got closer Sapphire could see the droplets of moisture clinging to his dark hair. His face was tanned, his eyes the same disturbing gold she remembered so vividly. He was so close to her now that she could feel his breath against her skin.
‘So you decided to come after all.’ He voice was the same; that slight mocking drawl which had once so fascinated her was still there. ‘I began to think you’d chickened out … What’s the boyfriend going to say when he knows you’ve ruined his car?’
Not one word of concern for her. Not one solicitous phrase; not one comforting touch … nothing. She knew she had to say something, but all she could manage was a pitiful sound like a weak kitten, her senses acutely attuned to everything about him. She could feel the leashed energy emanating from his body; smell the clean cold scent of his skin. She shivered feeling reality recede and darkness wash over her. As she slid forward she felt Blake’s arms catch and then lift her.
‘Well, well,’ he murmured laconically. ‘Here you are back in my arms. The last place you swore you’d ever be again. Remember?’
She tried to tell him that she had never been properly in his arms; that she had never known them as those of a lover, but it was too much effort. It was simpler by far to close her eyes and absorb the delicious warmth emanating from his body, letting her senses desert her.
‘COME ON SAPPHIRE, the shock can’t have been that great.’ The coolly mocking words broke against her senses like tiny darts of ice as she started to come round. She was sitting in a chair in the kitchen of Sefton House, and that chair was drawn up to the warmth of the open fire. The flames should have comforted her, but they weren’t powerful enough to penetrate the chill of Blake’s contempt. ‘Flaws Valley females don’t go round fainting at the first hint of adversity,’ he taunted, watching her with a cynical smile. ‘That’s a London trick you’ve learned. Or was your faint simply a way of avoiding the unpalatable fact of our meeting?’
She had forgotten this side of him; this dangerous cynical side that could maim and destroy.
‘I knew when I came up here that we were bound to meet, Blake.’ She was proud of her composure, of the way she was able to meet the golden eyes. ‘My faint was caused simply by shock—I hadn’t expected the weather to be so bad.’ She glanced round the kitchen, meticulously avoiding looking directly at him. She lifted her hand to touch her aching temple, relieved to discover the cut had healed. ‘Don’t worry,’ Blake tormented, ‘it’s only a scratch!’
She had either forgotten or never fully realised, the intensity of the masculine aura he carried around him. It seemed to fill the large kitchen, dominantly. Droplets of moisture clung to the thick wool of his sweater, his hair thick and dark where it met the collar. His face and hands were tanned, his face leaner than she remembered, the proud hard-boned Celtic features clearly discernible.
The gold eyes flickered and Sapphire tensed, realising that she had been staring. ‘What’s the matter?’ Blake taunted, ‘Having second thoughts? Wishing you hadn’t run out on me?’
‘No.’ Her denial came too quickly; too fervently; and she tensed beneath the anger she saw simmering in his eyes. The kitchen was immaculately clean; Blake had always been a tidy man but Sapphire sensed a woman’s presence in the room.
‘Do you live here alone?’
She cursed herself for asking the impulsive question when she saw his dark eyebrows lift.
‘Now why should that interest you? As a matter of fact I do,’ he added carelessly, ‘although sometimes Molly stays over if it’s been a particularly long day.’
‘Molly?’ She hoped her voice sounded disinterested, but she daren’t take the risk of looking at Blake. What was the matter with her? She had been the one to leave Blake; she had been the one to sue for a divorce, so why should she feel so distressed now on learning that there might possibly be someone else in his life? After all he had never loved her. Never made any pretence of loving her. But she had loved him … so much that she could still feel the echoes of that old pain, but echoes were all they were. She no longer loved Blake, she had put all that behind her when she left the valley.
‘Molly Jessop,’ Blake elucidated laconically, ‘You probably remember her as Molly Sutcliffe. She married Will Jessop, but he was killed in a car accident just after you left. Molly looks after the house for me; she also helps out with the office work.’
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