He closed the door on her shocked expression, his arrogant, bad-boy grin very much in evidence.
Lisa put her head down on the steering wheel. “Don’t say it, Corinne. I don’t know what I was thinking, giving him our address like that. He’s just — I don’t know, too much. I couldn’t think straight for a minute there with his eyes staring at me as if he could see right through me. I’m sorry. You don’t think he’s some kind of crazy person, do you?”
“I think we’re the crazy ones.” It was a relief to be away from the potency of Dayan’s company. He made Corinne feel out of control. Spinning madly. Wild. Sexy. Wanting. “And he did point out he wasn’t a serial killer. That was comforting news, unless serial killers regularly make such statements to strange women.”
Both women dissolved into laughter, dispelling most of the tension in the car. Corinne found she could breathe again, think again, as Lisa put the car in gear and, honking the horn, plunged bravely into traffic. “So, are you looking at Cullen? Because he’s certainly looking at you.” Corinne rubbed her palms up and down her arms over the exact spot Dayan’s arms had held her. Oddly, she could still feel him close to her. She could smell his scent on her, and it was strangely comforting.
“I really think Cullen is great,” Lisa admitted. “You know how I hate being the decorative doll on the big guy’s arm. He didn’t make me feel like that at all, not once. He’s nice, Rina. Very nice. And when I realized you were gone, he was so sweet, reassuring me that Dayan wasn’t a playboy preying on women. The truth is, I panicked. I don’t feel comfortable when you’re out of my sight anymore.” She threw Corinne a quick, mischievous grin as she rolled through the next three stop signs and narrowly missed jumping a curb. “I sound like I’m two and afraid to leave my mommy. Cullen’s cute, though not in a kiddy way.” She tugged on Corinne’s sleeve. “And what was
“What was what?” Corinne tried to sound innocent, but a blush slowly crept up her neck into her face. “You know exactly what I mean,” Lisa accused, her eyes laughing. “That dance.”
“Oh, that.” Corinne pushed both hands through her mass of gleaming hair and lifted it off her neck, the gesture curiously sexy. “That was scorching.”
Lisa let out a whistle. “Scorching? Not just hot?”
Corinne shook her head solemnly. “Absolutely, totally scorching. That man is lethal and shouldn’t be allowed to live anywhere near the female population.”
“I’m a believer. You’ve always been immune to men. If he can scorch you, he should definitely be locked up somewhere.”
“Somewhere where we can still look at him,” Corinne suggested with a little smile curving her soft mouth. An intriguing dimple appeared briefly, then melted away, leaving Lisa wondering where it had gone.
“You like him.” Lisa made it a statement. She knew she was overprotective of Corinne. But Corinne was terribly vulnerable. A man like Dayan might easily sweep her off her feet. Anyone looking at him could see he was a dangerous man. A rock star, a musician. Half the female population was after him. But there was something about the way he looked at Corinne...
him?” Corinne echoed the words thoughtfully. “I don’t think he’s a man who would inspire such an insipid word as
I feel safe when I’m with him, and yet threatened at the same time. It makes no sense. I do and say things entirely out of character for me. What’s really strange, Lisa, is I feel as if I’ve known him forever, that I’m supposed to be with him.” She took a deep breath and made a hurried confession. “And I can’t look at him without feeling like jumping into bed. At first I thought it was because I love his music. Ever since I ran across that old LP, I’ve worked at collecting everything of the Dark Troubadours I could. You know, the idol trap that women occasionally fall into when the musician happens to be a godlike creature. But I think he’s rather like a flame and I’m a little moth flying way too close to him. It’s called chemistry. Explosive, natural chemistry.”
“Really?” There was definite interest in Lisa’s voice. She lifted one eyebrow in inquiry. “Spill all, Corinne. Are we talking sex here?”
“You saw him. He oozes sex. I’ve never met anyone even remotely like him. I just thought I wasn’t the sexy type. We talked about it, remember?”
Lisa nodded solemnly, hurtling around another corner, missing a parked car by half an inch. Corinne was so used to Lisa’s driving, she didn’t even wince. A horn blasted at them, and Lisa flashed a cheery smile and waved gaily as she cut off the driver to get to her turn. “I thought it was because it was your first time,” Lisa answered carefully; “the beginner thing with John. You had a hard time of it.” Corinne had always been honest with Lisa about her life with John. Everything had been comfortable between them with the exception of the bedroom. Corinne blamed herself, believing she simply didn’t have a strong sex drive.
“More likely it was the chemistry thing, because, believe me, this man and I have some kind of attraction. I’m not certain I would trust myself in a room alone with him,” Corinne mused aloud, shocked at the blatant response of her body. “Maybe you’ve run across his type before in your crowd, Lisa, but for me, this is an absolutely new and very uncomfortable first experience. He could drop a woman at thirty paces.” Corinne sighed and shook back her hair. “It makes me feel guilty over John.” She made it a confession.
Lisa scowled darkly. “Don’t be silly, Rina. John would hate your saying that. He loved you like crazy, but we both know you didn’t love him the same way. You made him happy, you know you did, and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You were always there for both of us.”
“I did love John,” Corinne said, “and I miss him terribly.”
“I know you loved him. I didn’t mean it like that. He isn’t coming back, and he would want you to be happy. You know he would.” Lisa pulled the car up to the driveway of their home. Her unusual, elegant, yet exotic looks had helped provide money for a beautiful home in an upscale neighborhood. The two women enjoyed just looking at their home sometimes. “Of course, I don’t know if he’d approve of Mr. Sex Appeal. What were you talking about all that time? Alone. In the dark,” Lisa teased.
“Babies.” Corinne blurted it out, wanting to confess everything. How could she have told a perfect stranger before telling her beloved sister-in-law?
Something in Corinne’s voice warned Lisa it wasn’t a funny subject. Lisa went very still, her fingers freezing around the car keys while her other hand tightened around the steering wheel. “I’m sorry, I thought you said babies. Why would you be discussing babies with him? I hope you told him babies were out of the question.” There was an edge of challenge in Lisa’s voice. At once her eyes were examining Corinne’s figure, clad in jeans and loose-fitting top.
Corinne looked away from the accusation in her eyes. “I didn’t know, Lisa, I swear I didn’t. The morning John was killed we had made love. After he was murdered, everything was so terrible I didn’t think about it for a couple months; then I noticed I was abnormally tired. Way more than usual. I spotted the entire time, so it just didn’t occur to me I could be carrying a baby. But then when I was so ill, I went to the doctor. Remember I had to go to bed for a while?”
“You’re pregnant? You’re pregnant right now?” Lisa pushed Corinne’s shirt away from her stomach to inspect her. “You’d have to be six months and you aren’t showing.” It was an accusation. It was a plea. But she saw the little mound where Corinne’s flat stomach had been.
Corinne caught Lisa’s hand in hers. “Come on, Lisa, we can get through this together, just like we’ve always done.”
Lisa was shaking her head in denial, tears swimming in her eyes. “You can’t have a baby. The doctors said you couldn’t. You were on birth control. I remember you were so upset when they said it would be a virtual death sentence for you to have a baby. John swore he would never allow you to chance it. He swore it to me. I made him swear it.”