First Love, Last Love(7)

By: Carole Mortimer

'That was quite an exhibition,' he remarked scornfully.

Her cheeks flamed at his insulting tone. 'It wasn't meant to be a peepshow,' she snapped, glaring up at him as he towered over her, his six feet in height reducing her to his shoulder height.

'I don't recall "peeping",' he mocked.

'No,' she agreed angrily. 'You had a damn good look, didn't you?'

'I could hardly do anything else,' he said coldly. 'And let me tell you that I'm unaccustomed to summoning the lift and finding two of my employees in a passionate clinch when the doors open.'

'It wasn't a passionate clinch,' she denied heatedly, her green eyes flashing.

'Then what would you call a passionate clinch?' he asked softly.

Lauri shrugged. 'I don't know. But that wasn't one.'

'Perhaps not,' he said calmly. 'How would you gauge this?'

Before she had had time to do more than gasp his arms were about her and his dark head swooped as his lips claimed hers in what was definitely a passionate clinch. His mouth moved persuasively against hers, parting her lips with the sensuous tip of his tongue, kissing her more intimately than anyone else had ever done, his hands molding her to the lean length of his body.

Lauri had never experienced anything like it before, feeling as if the world were spinning, and that all that mattered was that he should go on kissing her. That Alexander Blair should go on kissing her.

Suddenly she was free, and Alexander Blair looked for all the world as if that devastating kiss had never taken place, totally in command in the light grey suit and snowy white silk shirt that both looked as if they had been tailored on to him. His impeccable appearance made her own denims and jumper all the more conspicuous.

'Well?' he taunted.

'Well…?' she repeated dazedly. 'Oh,' she nodded. 'Er—yes.'

'Yes—what?'

'Just yes,' she said breathlessly.

He smiled, but it wasn't a pleasant smile. 'Do you always give in on such short acquaintance? If so I'm not surprised at your popularity with my male employees.'

His scorn shocked her out of the sensual enchantment she seemed to have fallen into. 'I wasn't saying yes to that!' she denied hotly. 'I was just saying that it—that that was a passionate embrace. And given by an expert, I have no doubt.'

'Insults, Lauri?'

'You deserve them. How dare you kiss me?'

He gave a throaty laugh. 'I dare. Your name,' he said thoughtfully. 'It isn't really Lauri?'

She frowned. 'No. Lauren.'

'Lauren,' he savored it. 'Mm, I like it.'

What did she care what he liked! 'I've always called Lauri,' she said defensively.

He nodded. 'That accounts for it.'

Long after she was back at her desk the question still plagued her—'accounted' for what?





CHAPTER TWO




Steve sat at the table watching Lauri as she prepared their evening meal. 'Had a good day?' he taunted, leaning forward on his elbows.

'Fantastic!' she drawled sarcastically. 'Really great. I crashed my uncle's car into my boss's Rolls this morning, had an argument with my boy-friend at lunch-time because I refused to go on his travels with him, and then—'

'Yes?' Steve prompted curiously. 'And then?'

Lauri's cheeks were bright red. 'And then the bus was fifteen minutes late tonight.' She had no intention of telling anyone about that unexpected kiss Alexander Blair had given her. After all, the kiss had been given as an insult, and although she might have reacted to it the insult had still gone home.

'Oh,' he nodded, 'I see. So Daryl's been trying to persuade you to take off with him, has he? I'm glad you've decided not to go with him.'

'I thought you liked him.' She placed a mug of tea in front of him.

'I do, he's a great chap, I just don't fancy him as a nephew-in-law.'

Lauri laughed, going back to her cooking. 'I don't think Daryl had marriage in mind.'

'Really? Then I wouldn't have let you go anyway.'

'You wouldn't?' She turned from checking the vegetables. 'You wouldn't have any say in it if I'd wanted to go. I make my own mind up about things like that.'

Steve shook his head. 'Not this time. You're still a kid, Lauri, only seventeen, much too young to make those sort of decisions.'

'And I suppose an old-timer like you knows all about these things?' They had always found the eight years' difference between them faintly amusing, more like brother and sister than uncle and niece.

'That's right.' He stood up to ruffle her red-gold curls into disorder, tapping her lightly on the end of her freckled snub nose. 'You're just a baby.'

She grinned. 'I'm old enough to have crashed your car for you.'

He sobered. 'So you are. I'm still waiting for Blair to get back to me on that.'

'Bit early, isn't it?'

Steve shrugged. 'I can't see him driving around in a dented car for long.'

Neither could Lauri. It didn't fit in with his impeccable appearance. Even after he had kissed her he had remained unruffled. But she didn't want to think of that kiss—or her reaction to it!