‘Was she one of the ones that lost her head?’ he derided, dealing with his unruly hair now as he stood in front of the mirror gracing the big oak dressing-table, looking more like the photographs Cat had seen of him: the film mogul that made even the most temperamental director or actor quake in their shoes.
She had attended the party given by this man's son with such high hopes after Luke Steele told her his father was going to ‘show up’ some time during the evening, knowing that Caleb Steele was probably the only man who could get her an interview with his father, Lucien Steele, the writer. Maybe if she had satisfied him in bed he still could, she thought bitterly.
‘Yes,’ she snapped, knowing that history claimed Henry the Eighth's fifth wife had even been guilty of the adultery he had accused her of, unlike a couple of the others, who had just outlived their attraction. ‘Was I—satisfactory?’ she asked with much more bravado than she felt. They said that your subconscious would only let you do what you really wanted to do; had she wanted to go to bed with this man that caused a shiver of apprehension down her spine even though he had only been casually mocking?
He slowly replaced the brush on the dressing-table before turning to look at her, arching one dark brow, the black eyes unfathomable. ‘Don't you know?’ he asked softly, that black gaze looking at her with new interest, playing over the tumble of honey-blonde hair, deep green eyes shadowed with embarrassment now, the small classical nose, and wide kissable mouth, only her shoulders bared to his view now as she clutched the sheet tightly to her, although the warmth of his gaze as it moved to meet hers seemed to say he approved of what he could see.
Cat moistened her mouth nervously. ‘I—er—I think someone must have put something in one of my drinks.’ Her throat was getting easier now, although she knew the reason for its dryness only too well. ‘I only drink orange juice, you see.’ She became flushed at his sceptical snort. ‘It's true,’ she insisted indignantly. ‘I'm allergic to alcohol!'
‘What happens when you drink it?’ His eyes were narrowed now.
She grimaced. ‘I pass out.'
He gave a derisive inclination of his head. ‘That would seem to be what you did.'
Before or after? She swallowed down her growing feelings of panic. ‘I tell you my drinks must have been tampered with,’ she defended, her cheeks still red. ‘I haven't drunk alcohol since I found out it puts me flat on my back.’ She drew in an angry breath at his knowing look. ‘I meant it makes me lose consciousness! After it happened to me the first couple of times I went to a doctor and he told me my body just won't accept alcohol.'
‘I would say that's a pretty shrewd analysis,’ Caleb Steele mocked arrogantly.
She glared at him. ‘You needn't sound so damned disapproving,’ she snapped. ‘You were the one that took an unconscious woman to bed!’ She gasped once she had made the accusation, although Caleb Steele didn't move a muscle.
‘You responded OK when I touched you,’ he drawled uninterestedly.
Her cry of horror was preceded only by the return of the heated colour to her cheeks. She had gone to bed with this man, made love with him. Oh God!
Caleb Steele showed little concern for her disturbed state. ‘What did you do the last couple of times it happened?’ he asked drily, leaning one hip against the dressing-table, completely relaxed, his arms crossed in front of his powerful chest.
Cat's gaze dropped from the bored interest she could read in his eyes as he waited for her answer. ‘I was with friends—–'
‘And this time you weren't.’ He straightened, the casual movement causing Cat to press back against the pillows, the sudden gleam in those fathomless black eyes mocking her nervousness. ‘This time the little cat was left amongst the wolves!’ he scorned contemptuously.
Wolf! She would lay odds on this man being the only wolf at the party last night, for all that it had turned out to be a little wild; and now that he had had her he was spitting her out again!
His eyes narrowed on her flushed face. ‘You aren't one of Luke's college friends, are you?’ He sounded as if that thought didn't please him at all.
‘No, I—–’ She broke off, the real reason she had gone to the party the previous evening, the remembered wish to make a good impression on this man, still paramount. She couldn't blurt it all out now, not when she had just spent the night with him. ‘I'm just an acquaintance, really,’ she amended.
He gave a slow nod. ‘And do you usually look this good in the mornings?'
She gazed back at him in alarm. Surely he hadn't changed his mind and was now in the mood to repeat what had happened between them last night? She clutched the sheet even tighter to her.
‘Relax, Cat,’ he drawled, the amusement back in his eyes, even if his mouth only showed a cynical twist. ‘I was referring to the fact that most women I know can't wait to run to the mascara bottle in the mornings.'
Most women he knew! She would bet that amounted to several hundred. Caleb Steele was known for the short and not always sweet affairs he had had since his divorce from his wife fifteen years ago. Any of those women showing the least sign of wanting permanence in his life was out like an old pair of shoes. Any women that tried to take on this man, even temporarily, was a braver one than she!
‘You have naturally black lashes, hmm?’ he mused as she made no answer.
‘No,’ she denied abruptly. ‘I have them dyed.'
‘You do?’ He didn't even bother to try to hide his surprise.
She nodded, all the time conscious of that reflected image above her, hating the mirrors, feeling as if she had no place to hide. ‘At the hairdressers,’ she supplied. ‘It's done all the time,’ she claimed at his cynical expression.
‘I know that,’ he derided, shaking his head in disgust. ‘I just didn't think you—there soon won't be many parts of a woman's body that are completely natural!’ he rasped.
His scorn irritated her. ‘The rest of me is real!’ she snapped. ‘Although what you said earlier isn't true; my body is far from perfect. My legs are too long for one thing—–'
‘I wouldn't know,’ he mocked. ‘I'm a breast man myself. And yours are a pair of the finest I've ever seen. Not too big, but not too small either, with a dusky rose nip—–'
‘Please!’ she groaned her dismay at his familiarity with her body.
‘Oh I did.’ He moved forward with a feline grace, sitting down on the bed, one arm resting on the bed across her, the other beside her. ‘Do you have any idea of the pleasure a man can get from the taste of your breasts, the soft little moans you give in your throat as your nipples are kissed and caressed to—–'
‘Please!’ He was making her feel giddy, his proximity alarming, what he was saying even more so, a mental picture of them the way he was describing burning in her brain, able to imagine his dark head bent over her as he sipped from those life-giving peaks, as she cradled him to her and—–
‘Yes, Cat.’ His black gaze held hers as he gently released the sheet from her suddenly relaxed fingers, as he softly pulled the sheet down to throw it back on the floor, leaving Cat's naked body exposed to him in all its silken glory. ‘It was just like that,’ he murmured huskily as his head slowly lowered and that hard mouth claimed one taut nipple with surprising softness and warmth, the rough rasp of his tongue sending aching pleasure down between her thighs.
Her head fell back, and as it did so she could see him in the mirror above exactly as she had imagined him, her skin creamy white in contrast to his black hair, her hand moving up even now so that her fingers could entwine in his hair as she held him against her, groaning anew as he moved to claim the other dusky nipple, drinking his fill of that one, too, Cat unable to look away from the beauty of their reflections above.
‘Dad, I—bloody hell!'
The shocked English-accented voice of this man's son as he burst into the room unannounced was what brought her back to her senses, gasping her dismay at what had happened, and at