His throat tightened. Everyone loved Johnny. It was impossible not to. He was beautiful, sweet-tempered, generous...
Too generous, he thought, stalking back into the bedroom. Yanking back the heavy curtains, he glared down at the turbulent grey sea outside. And some people—unscrupulous, self-serving people, like Frankie Fox—took advantage of that generosity.
He swore softly. Why was he even still thinking about that woman?
But he knew why.
He flexed his fingers, remembering the moment when their hands had touched. It had been more than skin on skin. It had felt oddly intimate. As if it had been their lips touching. There had been a charge of something electric.
They had both felt it...
Felt what? An imbalance of protons and electrons?
He scowled. It had probably been that silk thing she was wearing.
Great. Now he was back to thinking about her semi-naked.
Gritting his teeth, he reached down and stroked Nero’s head, as if the action might erase the way her touch had jolted through his body.
Last night he’d been exhausted...disorientated.
Look at how it had taken tripping over her suitcase for him even to realise someone was in the house. If he’d been even halfway up to speed, he would have sensed that the moment he’d walked in the front door.
He ran a hand across his face, registering the slight resistance as his fingers grazed the scar on his cheek.
It wasn’t just tiredness playing tricks with his mind. The truth was that since his marriage had imploded, he’d spent way too long on his own—and by choice.
He should never have got involved with Harriet in the first place.
Love, relationships, women...all of them came under the heading of ‘Random, Imprecise, and Illogical’. In other words, everything he distrusted. So, aside from the occasional dalliance, he’d kept women at arm’s length since.
And then, boom, out of nowhere there was Frankie Fox. Not just in his house but in his bed.
No wonder he’d got momentarily knocked off-balance. But whatever he’d imagined had happened in those few seconds had been just that. A figment of his imagination.
His lip curled.
Frankie, though, was real, and she was here in his home. And, despite her capitulation last night, he wasn’t totally convinced that she would leave without a little persuasion.
Remembering the look she’d given him as she stalked out of the room, he felt his shoulders tighten.
Maybe if what had happened hadn’t happened, he might have let her stay. There was obviously room and it wasn’t as if he was in any danger. She might look like a living flame, but he’d put his hand in the fire once and that was enough for him to learn his lesson.
But he was here to work, and he didn’t need any distractions. He didn’t need to spend any more time with Frankie to know she would be a distraction with a capital D.
Constance could book her into a hotel for a couple of days and he’d offer to drive her to the station...
There was a low rumble of thunder and, glancing up at the darkening sky, he frowned.
He’d best get on with it.
This storm was going to be a big one.
* * *
Exactly six minutes later, he strode into the kitchen. He stared with satisfaction at the cream tiled walls and limed oak worktops.
After his father had retreated from the world much of the house had fallen into disrepair. The kitchen had been the first room he had renovated and, despite lacking the glamour and opulence of the drawing room, in many ways it was still his favourite.