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'This is really not a good idea, Paul!'
Luccy glared up at him as he pinned her against the wall in the hallway outside the hotel restaurant where she had earlier wined and dined him and another senior executive from Wow magazine.
Time was when Luccy would have been the one taken out to dinner, but there were too many excellent fashion photographers out there nowadays, all of them hungry for work. With only one prestigious contract with PAN Cosmetics, a subsidiary company of the mega-big Sinclair Industries, to recommend hera contract that she couldn't be sure would be renewed in three months' time when a photographer like Roy Bailey had decided he also wanted itLuccy badly needed this assignment with Wow if she didn't want to be reduced to taking photographs of babies and weddings.
But she certainly didn't need the assignment with Wowwith anyone!badly enough to go to bed with one of its senior executives to get it.
Admittedly, Paul Bridger, the younger of the two men, had made several suggestive remarks to her during the eveningdespite the fact that he had also mentioned having a wife and two children at home in Hampshire. However, Luccy had thought she had fended off those remarks without too much injury to pride on either side and both men had excused themselves after the meal with the promise that they would be in touch.
Except Paul had doubled back and was now propositioning her after she'd left the restaurant having paid a huge restaurant bill Harper-O'Neill Ltd could ill afford.
'Oh, come on,' he cajoled now as he pressed closer. 'You know you've been giving me the come-on all evening.' Paul smiledconfidently as he moved his thighs suggestively against hers.
Luccy inwardly squirmed with distaste. What she should do was slap Paul's face and tell him exactly what she thought of him! What she had to do, in order not to cause a complete scene in a public place, was put an end to this situation as quietly and quickly as possible
She gave what she hoped was a light-hearted little laugh as she pushed him away playfully. 'I really don't think your wife would approve, do you?'
Blue eyes narrowed in a face that wasn't unattractivejust married! 'My wife isn't going to know about it. Or is she?' he added suspiciously, his hands now painful on her shoulders as he pinned her even more firmly against the wall.
Luccy moistened suddenly dry lips. 'That depends'
'On what?' Paul snarled.
'Excuse me ?'
Luccy's face flamed with embarrassment as she realised that she and Paul were blocking the hallway outside the restaurant, and one of the other diners was now waiting to go past them.
Luccy gave him a quick glance, noticing the man's height first, as he was well over six feet. He was probably aged in his mid-thirties, with styled overlong dark hair, and eyes of piercing silver-grey, the suntan and attractive American drawlstating that he originated from much warmer climes than England in this wet and overcast June. His black, expensively tailored evening suit and snowy white silk shirt emphasised the broad width of his shoulders, as well as his muscled chest, slim waist, powerful thighs and long, long legs.
The slightly disgusted expression in that piercing grey gaze as it swept over Luccy and Paul wasn't exactly encouraging. But, Luccy decided quickly, she could deal with that laterright now she needed rescuing!
'David! How lovely to see you again!' She gave the man a glowing smile as she took advantage of Paul Bridger's momentary distraction at the interruption to duck under his arm and step away from him, moving to link her arm with the tall American's. 'Paul was just leaving. Weren't you, Paul?' she added pointedly.
'I' He blinked, scowling darkly as he looked from Luccy to the tall man who stood so arrogantly disdainful at her side. 'Yes, I was just leaving,' he snapped, shooting Luccy one last narrow-eyed glare before striding down the hallway towards the front entrance of the hotel.
Luccy's legs felt strangely weak once Paul had gone, and for a few seconds all she could do was cling to the arm of the man now standing beside her. A man she had never seen before in her life!
A man who now looked down at her with raised brows. '"David"?' he asked dryly.
Luccy gave an apologetic grimace. 'I'm really sorry about all that. Aa work colleague who got out of hand,' she explainedalthough she seriously doubted, from Paul's last glaring look, that she would ever get any work with Wow magazine now! 'Erdo we know each other?' she added. For some reason, the man looked vaguely familiar to her.
As far as Sin was aware he had never met this woman before. He would most certainly have remembered if he had!
Sin had been sitting alone at his table by the window in the hotel restaurant earlier when he'd seen this young woman enter, his attention snared as he'd watched her pause briefly in the doorway to look around the full restaurant before making her way decisively to the table where two men had sat talking together. Sin's mouth had tightened with displeasure as he had acknowledged that his wasn't the only male gaze drawn to the sensual sway of her hips as she walked.
She was probably aged in her late twenties, about five eight in height, Sin would have guessed, with very long silky black hair that gleamed with midnight-blue lights as it swung softly onto her shoulders and curled down the long length of her spine. The deep blue of her eyes was surrounded by long, long lashes of the same ebony colour, her skin a perfect unblemished magnolia, her nose small and straight, and the fullness of her lips glossed the same vibrant red as the knee-length dress she wore. High breasts and that sensuous sway of her hips as she walked seemed to give the impression that was all she was wearing!
Sin's gaze had continued to be drawn to her throughout the evening as she had conversed animatedly with the two men as they ate their meal. He didn't usually stare at women he had never met, but there had been something about this woman, something that had drawn his gaze back to her time and time again. Not that it had been his intention of approaching or talking to her, but then he hadn't been the one to approach or talk to her now, had he?
He shrugged. 'Maybe you recognise me from the restaurant?'
Luccy nodded. Now that he mentioned it, she did remember seeing him sitting alone in the restaurant when she'd arrived earlier; with his looks it was impossible not to notice him! But with her future on the line Luccy had dismissed him from her mind as she had focused all of her attention on the two executives from Wow.
'I really do appreciate your help just now.' She gave him a bright, dismissive smile.
His hand closed lightly over hers before she could step away from him. 'You're trembling.' He frowned darkly.
Was she? Yes, she was. But was that because of Paul Bridger's behaviour just now, or because she was so aware of the man standing beside her, his hand cool and yet firm as it covered hers?
Luccy gave a shaky laugh. 'So I am.' She grimaced. 'I just wasn't expectingthat.' She gestured to where the disgruntled Paul had just left.
The tall American gave her a quizzical look. 'Perhaps you should sit down for a while? A brandy might help.'
Luccy was starting to feel a little ridiculous; after all, Paul had only been trying his luck just now. He wouldn't actually have forced her. Would he ?
'You are upset.' The American scowled fiercely as Luccy gave another shiver of reaction. 'I have a bottle of brandy upstairs in my suiteI'm only offering to give you a medicinal brandy,' he added dryly as he obviously saw Luccy's dismayed expression. 'I think you've probably been propositioned enough for one evening, don't you?'
'Sorry!' Luccy exclaimed, knowing she was overreacting. After all, this man needn't have come to her rescue; he could just as easily have exposed her as being a complete stranger to him. 'Luccy,' she invited huskily.
'My name's Luccy.'
Ah.' He nodded. 'Just Luccy?'
'Just Luccy.' This evening was enough of a mess already, without it becoming publicly known that the photographer Lucinda Harper-O'Neill, contracted to PAN Cosmetics, had been involved in an unpleasant scene in a hotel as prestigious as The Harmony!
Dark brows rose over those pale grey eyes as the American answered her. 'Then I suppose I'm just Sin,' he drawled softly.
Her smile was rueful now. 'Interesting name.'
Sin studied the delicate perfection of Luccy's profilethe deep, unfathomable blue of her eyes, like a flawless sapphire with the light shining behind it, that short nose, the fullness of her mouth, her small pointed chinbefore allowing his gaze to move discreetly lower to the creamy swell of her breasts visible above the fitted red gown, her nipples clearly outlined against the flimsy material, as was the slope of her waist and the curve of her hips and thighs.
'Maybe I should just call it a night.' Long dark lashes lowered onto her creamy cheeks. 'Much as I appreciate your help just now, I'm not sure it would be sensible on my part to go up to your hotel suite with you.'
To hell with whether or not it was sensiblenow that circumstances had allowed him to talk to her, to hear the husky sensuality of her voice, Sin wanted to know this woman better. A whole lot better!
His mouth quirked. 'I'm sure I could get two character references if you're willing to wait here'
'Now you're making me sound childish!' Luccy protested.
He raised dark brows. 'What do you think? Will you risk it?'
Luccy thought that the way she had completely misread Paul Bridger had shown her just how naïve she was when it came to men. By accepting this man's invitation she could just be jumping out of the frying pan directly into the fire.
She might be well on her way to thirty, but that didn't mean she was in the least sophisticated when it came to reading men. There had only ever been one man in her life in an intimate way, when she was at university seven years ago, and that certainly hadn't been very exciting. So much so that she hadn't been particularly interested in repeating the experience since.
Yet just looking at this mana man called Sin, for goodness' sake!was exciting!
Oh, for goodness' sake, Luccy, she instantly chided herself again. The Harmony hotel was one of the most exclusive and expensive in London, and this man was a guest here, not a mass murderer. Besides, he was only offering her a glass of brandy to settle her shaken nerves, not a night of unbridled sexand if by some strange chance he should offer the latter, she could always say no; unlike Paul, this man didn't look the type of man who needed to force a woman into his bed!
Nevertheless 'Just a glass of brandy?'
He smiled. 'Sure.'
Luccy still hesitated, half of her intrigued by this man, the other half
'There really is no need to be scared, Luccy,' Sin reassured her ruefully.
Luccy bristled resentfully as she realised some of her thoughts must have shown on her face. 'My caution has nothing to do with being scared,' she denied sharply. 'I've just escaped from one awkward situation'
'You believe I'm trying to get you up to my suite in order to seduce you?' He raised arrogant brows.
'No, of course not!' Luccy's cheeks blazed with embarrassed colour; what a way to treat the man after he had come to her rescue! 'I'm just not in the habit of going to the hotel room of a man I've only just met.' Especially considering the circumstances under which they had met.
The man called Sin shrugged broad shoulders. 'All I'm suggesting is a reviving glass of brandy.'
Was he? Was his invitation really that innocent?
'It's a hotel suite, Luccy,' he added impatiently. 'With its own lounge, and not a bed in sight, I promise.'
Now he was starting to make her feel naïve and unsophisticated. 'Okay, then, I'll come,' she decided, her eyes taking on a glittering determination as she saw the amused slant to that sculptured mouth.
'After you ' Sin indicated for her to precede him to the lifts, his gaze appreciative as the red silk of her gown clung to the thrust of her breasts and the gentle
curve of her hips, her red strappy sandals adding to the length of her silkily long legs. Her beauty was all the more stunning because she seemed so completely unaware of just how sexily attractive she was.
But Sin was aware of it. Totally. Especially once they had stepped into the confines of the private lift together, the mirrored walls reflecting back numerous images of Luccy.
'Mmm, nice,' she murmured appreciatively seconds later as they stepped straight out into the luxurious sitting-room of the penthouse suite. 'Are you sure you're just an ordinary hotel guest?' she added teas-ingly.
'Pretty sure.' Sin nodded. As it happened, he wasn't just a hotel guest at allhe owned the hotel. Or, at least, his family did. As well as owning several more such exclusive hotels around the world, and businesses too numerous to mention.
Not that he had any intention of mentioning his family or their businesses to Luccy. In fact, he had been quite happy to fall in with the anonymity of their single name introduction; it was pleasant knowing that this chance meeting with Luccy held no hidden agenda after years of being surrounded by women who might or might not be attracted to him, but who definitely had their covetous eye on his name and wealth.
There had been many women in Sin's life the last eighteen years or so. Beautiful, enticing, intelligent women. But this woman, beautiful, warm, and incredibly sexy, was all the more enticing to him because she obviously had no idea of his real identity
Luccy's eyes were wide as she looked around the opulent luxury of the room. She was sure that the paintings on the walls were originals, and that the gold decoration on the coving above was genuine, as were the tasteful ornaments placed so casually on the antique furniture. The two huge sofas were plushly upholstered, and she thought the blue patterned carpet was probably Persian.
Staying a single night in a suite like this one probably cost as much as she earned in a weekno, a month!
This manSinseemed different in these opulent surroundings too, exuding a powerful sexual magnetism that made Luccy's insides quiver, the quiet strength of his movements as he crossed the room to a tray of drinks giving him the appearance of an elegant predator.