From the book
XAVIER dangled the skimpy pair of panties from an out-stretched finger and raised a quizzical black brow at the pouting blonde.
"Aren't you forgetting something, cherie?" he murmured, in the outrageously sexy accent which some-times caused people to ask whether he did radio voice-overs in his spare time. The answer, of course, was no--Xavier de Maistre did not need to dabble in the media to supplement his already vast income.
Only once had he exploited his sensually beauti-been talent-spotted as a teenager, walking down the Champs Elysées. He had been paid a fortune to ad-vertise an aftershave, but had astonished the world by turning down the many lucrative offers which had followed the campaign's massive success. Instead, he had taken the money and used it to found his property empire, which was now one of the biggest in the world.
The blonde parted her lips. "Don't you want to play that game any more?" she questioned huskily.
Xavier's cool expression did not waver. Did she imagine that nothing had changed since their affair had ended last year, and that he would have stayed the same instead of moving on? That he was turned on by the fact that she had arrived--supposedly for coffee and a "catch up'--and then left the most intimate item of her under-wear in an exquisite heap on the polished floor of his Parisian apartment?
His mouth curved in derision. Ex-lovers could be so boring. Could anything be less of a turn-on than the thought of having sex with a woman you had tired of?
Yet, when she had telephoned him yesterday, he had readily agreed to a meeting. A year had elapsed, and so he had assumed they'd be able to have the civilised drink she'd suggested. But from the moment he had seen her--the expression in her eyes and the oh-so-obvious way she had sat squirming and drinking coffee--he had guessed what she wanted. He sighed. Some women just never let up
"I think we exhausted all the possibilities of that game a long time ago, don't you?" he replied evenly, his black eyes glinting. "Nice try, cherie--but maybe you should replay it with a man who can appreciate you--as you should be appreciated."
But he stayed her with a slight shake of the head. "Didn't you say you had a plane to catch?"
Xavier could read the momentary indecision which flitted across her lovely face. She was wondering whether he was really turning down the opportunity to have sex. But she was also an intelligent woman, and maybe she recognised that there was no point. That some things were best left unsaid, and at least that way you left with your dignity intact.
So she shrugged and took the panties from him, and began to wriggle them on underneath her pure silk skirt--and at that moment Xavier's resolve wavered and he almost changed his mind.
It would have been ridiculously easy. There was a bedroom located at the far end of the corridor, with a large bed with crisp Egyptian cotton sheets and views right down to the River Seine.
Xavier owned the entire building, and it housed the offices of his empire--but he maintained a luxury apart-ment in the penthouse, hence the bedroom. The excuse he used was that sometimes his business deals went on through the night--he needed to have a place to sleep and he wasn't crazy about hotels.
It was well known in the city that he entertained his women there, and its presence only added to Xavier's legendary status as lover-extraordinaire. He was a man with a huge appetite for all the good things in life--and he had worked hard to get to just this place.
He turned to look out of the window, where the vast stretch of the...