A brilliant idea occurs to me. “And you’d better go now because the owner is here. He’s inside.”
I still can’t see his face, but somehow, I know he’s amused. My impression is confirmed when he says, “Really?” with a great deal of lively scepticism.
“Oh yes.” I shift from one foot to the other rather awkwardly. I’m used to being naked in front of men, but more pleasurable things are usually on the agenda. “He’s my lover, and he’s gone to make drinks. Then he’ll be out here, and there’ll be hell to play.”
“Oh, dear. That does sound worrying. Is he dangerous?”
His beautiful French accent lingers on the last word, and I’m lost for a second. Then I rally.
“Oh, very,” I say airily. “He’ll kill anyone who looks twice at me.”
“He must be a very busy man.”
The compliment disarms me. “Oh well, of course,” I say, regaining my composure. “Thank you. You’re quite right, stranger who is not an axe man.”
“I am definitely not that. I don’t think I could fit an axe in my shorts’ pockets, no?”
“You’d be surprised. I’ve met a few men who’ve got enough room down there to stock the contents of B and Q,” I say unthinkingly.
He throws his head back, laughing. It’s a very attractive sound.
“You should go,” I say wistfully. This is the most exciting thing that’s happened to me since my ex shagged me in a glass lift.
“Ah, because your lover will emerge soon, yes?”
“And your lover is?” he asks.
“Oh.” My thoughts immediately spin towards the enigmatic brother of my boss. “He’s Olivier Durand.”
I raise my eyebrow. “He’s insanely possessive of me.” I wave a hand down my body. “And who can blame him?”
I narrow my eyes. “I can’t help feeling you don’t believe me, stranger danger.”
He steps forward, and a torch sheds light on his face. I stiffen. It’s a face I last saw in a photo in the kitchen—the picture that showed him smiling with my boss’s arm over his shoulders.
“Shit,” I say morosely.
Olivier Durand chuckles, his eyes dancing. “I do believe you. You are incredibly convincing, but now I am in a quandary.”
“So painful, because I’m afraid I will now have to visit a doctor.”
“Why?” I ask faintly.
“For my memory loss, of course. Here was I thinking myself a hale, fairly hearty, and very single young man, when pouf, I am the victim of amnesia and cannot remember the name of my beautiful young lover. And after that, I shall have to get my shotgun ready to begin shooting your many suitors in a fit of insane rage.”
He starts to laugh again. “It is Pip, yes?”
I put my hands on my hips. “Who else?”