She turned away from the mirror ruefully and swept her silver mesh purse off the bed.

Maisie was more positive about it when she met Maggie at the door of the sub-penthouse.

‘Maggie,’ she said affectionately—they’d become good friends, ‘you look fantastic!’

‘I second that.’ Jack loomed up behind Maisie and Maggie took an unexpected little breath.

She hadn’t seen him for a week, but it was more than that. He wore a dinner suit and the beautifully tailored black suit and white shirt highlighted his tall, strong lines and broad shoulders. It shot through her mind that she loved him however he looked.

Windblown and with blue shadows on his jaw, wearing an old football jersey with the sleeves cut off as he’d often been at Cape Gloucester—but this Jack was electrifying.

She swallowed something in her throat. ‘Thanks, you two! You sure know how to make a very pregnant lady feel better.’

It was a buffet dinner for about twenty people and because it was a calm, warm night there were tables set out on the veranda high above Runaway Bay and overlooking the Broadwater and the ocean beyond.

The food was inspired and fine wine flowed although Maggie didn’t partake of the wine and she ate sparingly. But the company was pleasant, she knew everyone and she enjoyed herself.

All the same, she attempted to leave a little early. She was making her explanations to Maisie when Jack’s hand closed round her wrist. ‘Stay a bit longer,’ he said quietly. ‘It won’t be long before the party breaks up. Then I can drive you home.’

‘But I drove myself here,’ she objected.

‘Doesn’t matter. You shouldn’t be out and about on your own at this time of night.’

‘That’s true,’ Maisie agreed.

‘I am a little tired, though,’ Maggie said and stifled a yawn.

‘How about I settle you in the den where you can put your feet up and bring you a cuppa?’ Maisie offered.

‘Oh, thank you!’ Maggie said gratefully. ‘My shoes are killing me.’

Maggie had never seen the den and it brought a slight smile to her lips. There was definitely a nautical flavour to it.

There were gold-framed ships on the walls; there was a wonderful antique globe of the world and a polished brass sextant on the coffee-table. There were also deep, inviting buttoned leather armchairs…

‘And this one,’ said Maisie triumphantly as she pushed a lever on the side of the chair, ‘is a recliner chair.’

‘Just what I need!’ Maggie slipped off her shoes and sank down into it gratefully.

‘Tea’s on the way!’

Maggie had her tea, then she stretched out in the chair, to find she couldn’t keep her eyes open.

Half an hour later something woke her from the gentle slumber she’d fallen into. Her lashes lifted, and Jack was standing beside the chair looking down at her, Jack looking austere but divine with his streaky fair hair tamed tonight and that wonderful physique highlighted by his dinner suit.

Her lips parted as their gazes caught and held, then she struggled upright.

He held out his hand and helped her to her feet.

She opened her mouth to thank him, but the words died on her lips because he was studying her—in a way she knew well, a way that was anything but austere—from top to toe. The sleep-flushed curves of her face, the glorious disarray of her hair, her mouth and throat, her full, rich breasts beneath the fine navy georgette, the mound of his child…

His gaze was intent and heavy-lidded and the pressure of his fingers on hers grew.

He still wants me, Maggie thought chaotically as her colour fluctuated and her breathing grew ragged. That’s how he used to look at me before he made love to me, just like this… So that the power of his gaze was almost like having his hands on me.

Have I not been the only one to suffer from the unassuaged ache of being physically deprived of him? Not the only one plagued by so many memories of our lovemaking? she wondered wildly. But what does it mean? I was so sure that he’d stopped wanting me.

She was destined not to know what it meant. A phone rang softly on the desk.

He turned his head at last to look at it, a hard, irritable look, then as it rang on he shrugged and walked over to it. Copyright 2016 - 2024