Not that Sarah could exactly blame him for letting her go on assuming the couple were lovers rather than siblings; she had made that conclusion on only a few minutes’ acquaintance, and, after Griff's recent disillusionment, he must have just decided it was yet another kick in the teeth from a woman.
It was no good telling herself it wouldn't have happened at all if she hadn't been feeling so angry and frustrated by all the Forbes family. There was no excuse for the things she had said to Griff, for the assumption she had made; she had just been taking out her bad temper on him.
He must have been angry himself after the hurt and humiliation he had so recently been put through.
She put the newspaper down and stood up. ‘I—I think I'll just go out for a stroll,’ she announced to no one in particular, knowing that each member of this family was so self-engrossed that it wouldn't matter to any of them what she did—as long as none of them wanted something doing in her absence!
Clarissa looked up from the magazine she had been flicking through, a tall leggy redhead, still very beautiful, despite being in her early forties. ‘Don't be ridiculous, Sarah,’ she dismissed scathingly. ‘You'll get eaten alive by the bugs out there!'
‘Besides,’ the other woman added firmly, ‘Roger and I are going down to Cannes shortly, so I'll need you to stay here with the children.'
There were the usual protests at being called a child from Ben and Sally.
Sarah felt like protesting herself. She had spent almost every evening of their stay with the children while Clarissa and Roger went off to one night-spot or another. The couple usually arrived back in the early hours of the morning, and then spent the following day sleeping it off in the sunshine.
Roger himself gave a groan of protest at this proposal, a much less social person, but the protest was quickly talked down by his much more dominating wife.
Sarah knew she might as well give up any idea of going for a walk tonight.
‘Never mind, Sarah,’ Ben grinned at her, as darkly good-looking as his company-director father, but with more of his mother's vivacity for life, ‘you can beat us at dominoes if you like!'
That was the extent of her own night-life on this holiday!
But she gave a weary nod of acceptance as Sally flounced off to her bedroom after requesting to go into Cannes with her parents and being firmly refused.
Loud music soon blared out from her bedroom, and Sarah gave an inward plea for it not to wake Stephen—he would be awake half the night once he was disturbed. And, consequently, so would she!
But her mind was far from on the game of dominoes, the subject of Griff Morgan uppermost in her thoughts. She felt so awful about the way she had behaved with him now. And what sort of woman was Sandra Preston to do such a thing to him?
‘Don't wait up for us, Sarah,’ Clarissa told her coyly when she emerged from changing a short time later, her black dress clinging to her revealingly, her hair loose about her shoulders, her make-up heavier than she wore during the day. ‘We expect to be late!’ she added suggestively, clinging to Roger's arm as the couple left the villa.
No, Sarah frowned, she refused to believe there could be another woman like Clarissa. And yet Sandra Preston's behaviour seemed vaguely familiar in its selfishness…
She couldn't escape thoughts of Griff Morgan the next day either, wishing the time away until she could go over to the neighbouring villa, but knowing she would have to see the Forbes family settled in relative peace about the pool before excusing herself to go to the Major villa and water the plants.
It seemed a little out of place to use the key Mrs Major had left for her now; if Griff Morgan was still here—and she sincerely hoped he was!—then it could be a little awkward for both of them if she just walked in on him as she had the last time.
This time he might not even have got to the stage of wrapping the towel about his waist!
Sarah decided it might be wiser—and safer!—to knock on the door and wait to see if he answered it, moving restlessly on the doorstep as she waited for a response to her knock.
There wasn't one, and her disappointment was acute as she dejectedly let herself in with her key, coming to a startled halt as Griffin Morgan walked down the hallway towards her, wearing only a pair of bathing trunks this time!
‘Come in, Sarah Williams,’ he invited huskily, as she still stood in the doorway. ‘I've been expecting you.'
She swallowed hard, watching dazedly as he walked past her, the slight thud of the door closing behind her somehow seeming final—and irrevocable.
‘Sorry I didn't answer the door when you knocked.’ He moved to stand in front of her now. ‘I was lounging by the pool, and by the time I had realised it was actually someone knocking at the door you had already let yourself in.'
‘I'm sorry about that. I—I still have the key.’ She held it up for him to see, very conscious of the lean length of his body in the hip-hugging black bathing trunks, a gold medallion of St Christopher nestling in the dark hair on his chest today—and how apt that was, considering the amount of travelling around the world this man did. ‘Perhaps I should give you the key back while you're staying here,’ she suggested abruptly. ‘I really shouldn't have just walked in here this morning, uninvited.'
Griff smiled as he moved his hand dismissively, his eyes the colour of warm golden honey, a strange contrast to his dark hair and tanned skin. ‘You thought I was out,’ he excused. ‘Besides, I quite like having you just walk in. Do you realise you're the first person I've seen, apart from the gardener, since I arrived here two days ago? And his conversation is limited,’ he added with a grimace. ‘I'm sure my French isn't that bad!'
Sarah smiled. ‘He's actually a little deaf.'
Griff's expression cleared. ‘And I thought he was ignoring me!’ He gave a soft laugh. ‘I'll have to remember to talk louder the next time I see him.'
She nodded. ‘He's really very nice.'
He quirked dark brows. ‘How about the coffee we didn't manage the last time you were here?'
‘Don't refuse, Sarah,’ he cut in quickly. ‘I've been waiting for you to arrive all morning. I've already thrown away two pots of coffee that became stewed because I wasn't sure what time you would arrive today. Come on, Sarah, take pity on a fellow Brit, and accept,’ he encouraged huskily.
She was very much aware that it was loneliness that motivated the invitation, but nevertheless, when he put it like this, it was heady stuff. And there lay the danger.
‘Just to show you've forgiven me for yesterday,’ he added persuasively.
Her eyes widened at this. ‘That I've forgiven you? But you didn't do anything. I was the one who was offhand and pompous. I should never—–'
‘Offhand and pompous?’ Griff mocked lightly. ‘My, you are on a guilt trip, aren't you? So you found out about my fiasco of a wedding-day—–'
‘It was in all the English newspapers,’ she sympathised.
‘Finding out about that mess changes nothing.’ He gave a dismissive shrug of his shoulders. ‘I'm still the same person you were disgusted by yesterday.'
Sarah looked at him reprovingly. ‘Virginia Major is your sister.'
‘Ah, so you realised that too, did you?’ He nodded appreciatively. ‘Knowing my snobbish sister as I do, I don't think she would have been too thrilled by that other assumption you made about our relationship. Virginia is a great one for keeping up appearances,’ he added derisively. ‘Would have been scandalised that anyone could possibly think she would be involved in an affair. And especially one with a younger man!’ he drawled.