The Redemption of Darius Sterne(10)

By: Carole Mortimer


A voice he could easily imagine crying out his own name as they climaxed together.

‘Mind if I join you?’ he prompted as a waitress appeared and placed a fourth champagne glass on the table before quietly disappearing again.

Miranda raised blonde brows in the direction of that fourth glass. ‘It would appear that you already have.’

‘It would, wouldn’t it?’ Darius acknowledged as he made no move to sit down but instead moved to stand further inside the booth, his back to the room, at the same time as he blocked Miranda from looking at anything but him.

‘Do we have you to thank for the champagne?’ She held up her glass.

Darius nodded. ‘It’s the same champagne you were drinking with your meal earlier on this evening.’

A frown appeared between those magnificent green eyes. ‘You noticed that from across the room?’

‘I asked the sommelier on my way out of the restaurant,’ he admitted huskily as he slid into the leather seat opposite her, his gaze continuing to hold hers as he poured himself a glass of champagne.

A blush warmed her cheeks and she was the first to look away.

‘We were celebrating.’

‘Oh?’

She nodded. ‘It’s my birthday today.’

Darius found himself scowling. What were the chances of this woman’s birthday being the same day as his mother’s?

‘I’m twenty-three today,’ Miranda supplied abruptly, as if his continued silence unnerved her.

So she was ten years younger than his own thirty-three years, Darius realised—and a lifetime in experience. Yet another reason why he should just get up and walk away from this woman.

‘Would you like to dance?’ he heard himself say instead, his mind, or another, more demanding, part of his anatomy, obviously having other ideas on the subject.

The soft curve of her jaw instantly tensed. ‘No, thank you.’

‘That was a very definite no,’ Darius murmured.

‘I don’t dance in public.’ Those green eyes now met his probing gaze unblinkingly.

Darius looked at her searchingly, noting the increased tension in her shoulders, and the way her fingers had tightened about her champagne glass until the knuckles showed white. Of course, it could be that he made her nervous just by being here, but somehow he thought there was more to it than that.

‘Only in private?’ he prompted softly.

‘Not then, either.’

‘Why not?’ he demanded abruptly.

She blinked at his terseness, before just as quickly regaining her composure. ‘Maybe I’m just no good at it?’

Darius couldn’t believe that when everything about this woman spoke of grace and poise: the delicate arch of her throat, the way she held herself so elegantly, her fingers long and tapered, her legs slender and shapely. Even her feet and toes appeared graceful in those black strappy sandals. They were graceful and elegant toes he could all too easily imagine moving caressingly along the bare length of his thigh as he made love to her.

‘Now tell me the real reason,’ he bit out harshly.

Andy gave an inner start, not just at Darius’s perception, but also his ability to cut out all unnecessary conversation and just go straight to the point of what he wanted to know. No doubt that stood him in good stead in business, but she found it more than a little disconcerting on a personal level.

Everything about this man was disconcerting on a personal level. The perfect fit of his suit jacket over those wide and muscled shoulders. The flatness of his abdomen beneath the black shirt. The long, long length of his legs.

Those sharply arresting features, dominated by the intensity of that probing topaz gaze as it remained fixed on her so intently.

She forced a smile to her lips. ‘You appear to know my name, and have helped yourself to some of my birthday champagne,’ she added dryly, ‘but so far you haven’t even bothered to introduce yourself.’

‘Let’s not play games, Miranda; we’re both aware that you know exactly who I am.’

Yes, of course Andy knew who he was. She just had absolutely no idea what Darius was doing even talking to her, let alone engaging in what she felt sure was, for him, flirtation.

Just looking at that hard and chiselled face was enough to tell her that this wasn’t a man who would heap flowery compliments and charm on a woman in order to seduce her. That he was far too self-contained, too sure of his own attractiveness, to ever need or want to do that.

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