To Love Again

By: Carole Mortimer

CHAPTER ONE


CHRISTI stared in horror at the man who took up most of the open doorway to her

flat, holding her hands up defensively. ‘Whatever you do, don’t come in here!’ she warned

fiercely.

To her chagrin he smiled, although he made no effort to come further into the room.

‘What are you doing on the floor?’ he drawled unconcernedly.

Christi came up off her hands and leant back on her knees. ‘I—oh, no!’ she groaned as a

brown and grey bullet entered the room, finding herself almost knocked over as the tiny creature

leapt up and down in front of her face, trying to lick her nose. ‘No, Henry.’ She desperately



tried to stil the movements of her excited Yorkshire terrier. ‘Henry Oh, damn!’ She gave in with

a resigned groan, taking the dog into her arms to receive the ecstatic greeting.

‘He’s missed you.’ Lucas made the understatement mockingly, grinning his

amusement as Christi gave him a censorious frown.

‘I’ve only been gone a couple of days,’ she dismissed distractedly, her attention once

again on the carpet in front of her now that Henry had calmed down enough to sit relatively still

in her arms. ‘Take him, will you?’ She reached out to hold the dog up to Lucas. ‘But don’t come

any closer,’ she warned as Lucas strode forcefully into the room, having let himself into the

apartment with the key she had given him.

He gave a weary sigh, coming to an abrupt halt. ‘Make up your mind, Christi,’ he said drily.

‘Either I can come in, or I can’t. Is there a man in your bedroom? Is that it?’ He quirked

dark brows interestedly.

Christi shot him a look that clearly told him the question was beneath contempt. ‘I happen

to have lost a contact lens

‘Not again,’ Lucas groaned impatiently. ‘Last time you lost one of them it was down

your

‘I know where it was,’ she put in hastily, blushing.

‘Well, have you looked down there this time?’ He looked speculatively at the creamy

perfection of her cleavage, which was visible above the open neckline of her blouse. ‘I could

always help you if you haven’t,’ he flirted easily.

That was the trouble with Lucas; he flirted with lazy ease, having a constant stream of

women in his life, who seemed to remain his friend even after the relationship had ended. He

and Christi seemed to have skipped the first part and gone straight on to the friendship,

Lucas’s teasing of her just that. It was rather depressing to be thought of as just a ‘pal’ by a

man like Lucas! Everyone she had ever introduced him to had envied the fact that she

actually had him living in the flat next door to her own. And that wasn’t so surprising, for Lucas

was devastating to look at; tall and dark, with piercing grey eyes that could be dark with

laughter or glittering silver with anger, his body of the type that looked beautifully elegant in the

superbly tailored suits he wore, or obviously masculine in the shorts he wore when he played

tennis. He possessed a sense of humour that enchanted, a honeyed charm that enthralled,

and a raw sexuality that acted like a magnet to any woman in the vicinity.

But he was also thirty-seven to her almost twenty-two, and had taken her under his

protective wing since she had moved into this flat almost four years ago, acting more like her

uncle than her real uncle did! He had also helped her find her missing contact lenses more times

than she cared to think about, had taken care of her pets when she’d been away, and had

fed her lemon juice when she had been flat out in bed with a cold, doing a good impersonation

of Rudolf! No wonder he had never looked on her as anything more than ‘the kid next door’—

she was the kid next door!

‘Just take Henry, will you?’ She sighed her irritation. ‘I haven’t had the best of

weekends, and if I can’t find my lens I won’t be able to go for that audition this afternoon.’

Lucas held the dog lightly in his arms as Christi resumed her search, her two Siamese

cats entwining themselves about his long legs. He reached down to absently stroke Josephine and

Gladys, straightening as Christi gave a triumphant cry, holding the truant lens as she