Caleb slowly eased himself back, holding her horrified gaze with steady intensity. ‘Get out of here, Luke,’ he instructed coldly, not even turning to look at his son.
‘I said get out!’ He didn't raise his voice, and he still didn't turn towards the door as his body partly shielded Cat's, but the icy anger was obvious in the tersely spoken order, every muscle in his body tensed in challenge of his authority. ‘We'll talk about this later.’ There was a threat rather than apology in his voice.
‘OK,’ Luke Steele sighed, the soft click of the door telling them he had obeyed the first instruction, too.
Cat's eyes were squeezed tightly shut as she denied the reflection of her nakedness, not in the mirrors this time, but in coal-black depths. Caleb Steele's eyes. She didn't know what had possessed her, what had possessed him; she wasn't exactly his usual type. She was too young to be one of his women; he had publicly stated on more than one occasion that any woman under thirty didn't have the experience or maturity he liked. Surely at twenty-four she was too young!
What was she doing lying here assuring herself she was too young for him? She had just spent the night with him, had been lost in his arms again seconds ago when his son burst in.
She felt the bed ease beside her as he stood up, the gentle caress of the silk sheet as it was placed over her. But still her eyes remained squeezed shut.
‘It's all right, Cat.’ That silky rough voice spoke softly. ‘He's gone now.'
She moistened her lips, lying rigidly still, feeling his presence as he stood beside the bed looking down at her, even though she couldn't see him!
‘But I haven't, hmm?’ Caleb read her mind, ‘Isn't it a little late to feel embarrassment in front of me?’ he derided.
It was that amusement in his voice that made her lids fly open, and she turned to glare at him. ‘I'm sure that you're used to waking up in bed next to a different woman every day of the week,’ she snapped. ‘But I'm not used to this at all!'
He wasn't in the least moved by her show of temper. ‘Every day of the week sounds a little excessive,’ he drawled mockingly. ‘Even I like to rest on Sundays.'
God, why was she even bothering to talk to this man when all she wanted to do was to get dressed and get out of here—or did she mean crawl out of here? She had arrived with such plans the night before, had hoped to get the information she needed; now she knew she would have to start all over again. She doubted Caleb Steele would appreciate her request when she had literally fallen into bed with him; it smacked too much like payment for the night! She might write what most people would consider ‘lightweight’ stuff but she took her job seriously, and trying in any way to influence a person to give her information was not the way she worked. She realised that after last night she would have to work doubly hard to convince Caleb Steele of that.
She sat up, holding the sheet to her. ‘Then as this is a Sunday I'm sure you would like to begin doing that,’ she encouraged firmly.
Black brows arched. ‘Would you be ordering me out of my own bedroom?'
‘I would be—asking you to think about it,’ she grimaced.
The stern mouth actually quirked this time, although he didn't show his teeth in a smile. Perhaps he never did actually smile or laugh; any photographs she had seen of him had always shown him grim-faced. She had assumed that to be because he considered the photographer to be infringing on his privacy. Now she wasn't so sure.
‘I've thought about it,’ he derided. ‘I'm quite happy where I am for the moment.'
‘I—your breakfast,’ she reminded a little desperately, not at all happy with ‘where he was'.
He gave an inclination of his head. ‘I've changed my mind about that. I think I'll order us something in here while you take a shower.'
Cat swallowed hard, judging the distance between the bed and the bathroom door. It was too far! Wide green eyes turned back to him, and she was sure they were panic-stricken.
He looked a little impatient with this display of modesty. ‘Take the sheet with you,’ he advised wearily.
‘Take the—oh. Yes.’ Her expression cleared.
But wrapping a sheet around herself that was both way too big and extremely slippery proved much more difficult than she had anticipated. It always seemed to be so elegantly done in films and on television, but after several minutes she still hadn't managed to get the sheet about her with any degree of safety.
‘Here.’ Caleb Steele finally took pity on her struggles, draping the loose sheet over her free arm while securing the end of it between her breasts. ‘Relax,’ he instructed drily without looking up from his task as she flinched at the intimacy. ‘Don't you know that this sort of modesty is a thing of the past? It's very well done, though,’ he drawled, stepping back to look at her with dispassionate eyes. ‘Maybe I could find a part for you. Did you have anything in mind?'
‘In mind?’ She was standing now, aware that she barely reached this man's shoulder in her bare feet, also aware that the two-inch heels on her shoes wouldn't make that much difference either.
He pulled a face. ‘The casting-couch may be long dead, but the bed isn't.’ He gave the latter a derisive look, its tumbled look showing evidence of their presence there together.
Cat swallowed hard. ‘You think—that is—you believe—–'
He once again crossed his arms in front of his powerful chest. ‘Did the director prove difficult?' he mocked. ‘If it was Maurice Goodson I'm not surprised.’ His mouth twisted. ‘He's a happily married man and never touches other women.'
‘I'm glad to hear it,’ she bit out tautly. ‘Maybe some of his scruples will rub off on you—–'
‘I'm not married,’ he told her coldly. ‘And not intending to be.’ He studied her between narrowed lids. ‘So if that's the role you're after, kid, forget it.'
She didn't know whether she was more angry at being called ‘kid’ or at the way he assumed she had gone to bed with him because she had in mind being the next Mrs Caleb Steele. She decided the latter more urgently needed rebuttal. ‘You flatter yourself if you think I would even consider marrying someone as cold and arrogant as you,’ she dismissed hardly. ‘And contrary to what you think there's more to life, my life, than using people for gain. The real world isn't like that!'
‘The real world is exactly like that,’ he derided pityingly.
‘Not my world,’ she insisted. ‘I don't want anything from you, Mr Steele. Whatever happened between us last night was not planned. I don't want payment, in any way, shape, or form for it. You—–'
‘You know,’ he remarked softly, almost conversationally, ‘it's as well we didn't get to do too much talking last night; I can't stand women that nag.'
‘Go take your shower, Cat,’ he dismissed in a bored voice. ‘And take this with you.'
‘This’ was the shimmering green dress she had worn the evening before and which he had just picked up from the bedroom floor, reminding her more forcefully than anything else could have done that she had casually spent the night with this man. She felt as if she didn't know herself any more, so why should Caleb Steele!
She snatched the dress from his hand, looking around for the lace panties that were all she had worn beneath the clinging material, her cheeks colouring anew as she saw Caleb Steele was holding those out to her, too. They were really just the minutest scrap of pale green lace, and she crushed it within her hand.
‘We'll talk as soon as you've had your shower,’ he told her confidently, picking up the telephone at the end of the statement, talking crisply into the receiver as he ordered a full breakfast for both of them.