Pregnant With The De Rossi Heir(8)

By: Maggie Cox

The admission did not help improve his mood. Frustration had been building in him ever since Katherine had walked into his office, and although his desire seemed to be acting independently of his will he was wary of being made a fool of by her a second time. He cleared his throat and Hassan glanced back at him, completely at ease and not at all abashed at being caught out ogling Luca’s PA.

‘You were saying, Luca?’ He smiled.

Briefly catching Katherine’s eye in silent rebuke, as if it were all her fault that the other man was so frankly appraising her, Luca seamlessly resumed from where he had left off. But he had to seriously tamp down an almost irresistible urge to wish the meeting at an end so he could whisk her back to the office, where he could at least be alone with her again.

Knowing he was feeling both predatory and possessive, he should have despised himself for a weakness that could only bring him more of the bitter pain he had been living with for too long—but his ego urged Luca not to let Katherine run out on him a second time before exacting some kind of payment in kind from her for her unexpected desertion that morning….

An hour later, the meeting at an end and Luca’s friend’s concerns and questions about the proposed new hotel satisfactorily appeased, the wealthy Arab took the younger man aside in the elegant lobby of the hotel. ‘Luca…I have to ask. Your secretary…she is a single woman?’ He glanced over at Katherine, standing patiently near the exit, waiting for Luca to finish his business and join her. ‘I observed no wedding ring on her finger.’

For a stricken moment the most unwelcome thought of all shook Luca out of any semblance of equilibrium left to him. He had considered it before, of course, and now he was forced to consider it again. What if Katherine was married, and that was why she had left him without explanation in Milan, leaving no way for him to contact her? Had she regretted her adultery with him and, overwhelmed with guilt, fled before he could discover any personal details with which to incriminate her? He sensed himself frown deeply, felt his stomach tied in knots.

‘No,’ he said clearly, hoping fervently it was the truth. ‘She is not married.’

‘Then is there a man in her life? Someone serious, I mean?’

Feeling the twisting knots in his insides lock tighter, Luca kept his expression as impassive as he was able. ‘I am not aware that Katherine is seeing anyone else, my friend, but I can tell you that she and I do have some unfinished business shall we say? Does that answer your question?’

The Arab’s large coal-black eyes widened in surprise. Beneath his elegant designer suit he shrugged his massive shoulders and grinned. ‘I can see you are indeed the dark horse, my friend!

But then your interest in her does not surprise me! Who could blame you for taking advantage of the chance to be with such innocent loveliness?’

In unison, both men moved their gaze to where Katherine still stood. Her slender yet shapely figure in her navy blue polka-dot dress, her beautiful eyes and dark gleaming hair were drawing other admiring glances besides their own, Luca observed with another helpless flash of jealousy.

‘I would give much to experience just one night with such a woman!’ Hassan slapped Luca heartily on the back. ‘No offence intended, my friend,’ he added quickly, seeing that the Italian’s mouth had firmed in what was clearly disapproval. ‘You are a lucky, lucky man!’

That was a matter of opinion, Luca thought in bittersweet reflection, glancing across at Katherine.

‘That aside,’ Hassan continued cheerfully, ‘I look forward to seeing you tonight at the little party you have most kindly arranged at your house for me and my business associates from Riyadh. They are most keen to talk to you about the incredible work you do, and if I am not mistaken, and things go well, you will no doubt have another valuable commission by the end of the evening!’

* * *

Unable to ignore the pangs of hunger that gripped her for another minute, and having forgotten to pack the dry biscuits she’d grown accustomed to carrying with her of late, Kate knocked lightly on the opened door between her office and Luca’s to get his attention.

‘What is it?’

His less than friendly response might have been intimidating if Kate wasn’t already getting used to it. Stepping inside the larger room, she saw that he was poring over some architectural drawings on the huge desk in front of him. The knot of his dark silk tie had been pulled a good three inches away from his pristine white shirt collar, and the tousled appearance of his thick dark hair also suggested that the work he faced was perhaps momentarily getting the better of him. The man worked like a Trojan, Kate observed. It was half past two in the afternoon and she’d seen no indication of him being even close to stopping for lunch or even a cup of coffee.