Indra Hughes was a toothsome armful.
Her lips were softly luscious and berry flavored.
And he really didn't want to stop kissing her.
In fact, he wanted to deepen that kiss into something intimate.
Yet, while decorum had already gone out the window, he'd wager she wouldn't thank him for taking it any further, so he reluctantly uncoupled their mouths.
He felt electrified, more aroused than he'd ever admit, and so strove for casualness. Jerking his chin toward the other man, he asked, "So, who's this?"
Indra looked back. "Some prat whose Bentley's getting towed."
"What?" As though only just hearing the tow truck's beeping, the man spun around. Seeing it reversing up to his car, he took off at a gallop.
Indra slowly dropped her arms and gave Lorcan a long wide-eyed look. He reluctantly let her go.
"Thank you," she said. "I appreciate you doing that."
There was a quaver in her voice, and he wondered if it was born of fear or the aftermath of that surprisingly delicious kiss. Either way, he wanted to get her away to safety, so Lorcan gestured her toward the car park.
"Where's your car?"
"I was going to the Tube station." She fell into step beside him.
"I'll drive you home."
"Oh, you don't have to."
But she glanced back, as though apprehensive of being followed.
"I insist," he said, fishing out his keys to unlock his car.
He opened her door and added, "Besides, I'd really like to hear what that was all about."
Indra gave him a rueful sideways glance as she slid into the passenger seat. "It's bonkers."
He closed her door and, walking around to get in, wondered if that was her way of telling him to get lost. If so, she was going to be sadly disappointed.
Having got into the car, he said, "Well, after being greeted like a long-lost lover and seduced by that kiss, I'm entitled to hear it, aren't I?"
That made her chuckle, the rich sound filling the car. "Seduced? By one kiss? You're too easy."
"Perhaps," he replied, trying to sound like his usual self, even while fighting laughter. "But there it is."
As he pulled out of the spot, they both looked toward the other side of the car park. The tow driver was winching the Bentley onto the truck, while its owner shouted and waved his hands about.
Indra made a sound somehow evincing both amusement and annoyance.
"Have dinner with me," he said impulsively. "And tell me all about it."
She snorted, and he glanced her way in time to see her shake her head. "Alright. I owe you at least that much. In fact, I should buy you dinner."
"Whatever you prefer," he said casually, but inside he was elated.
They decided on a Greek restaurant that was on the way to Indra's flat. She was still shaken, not so much because of her encounter with Julian, but because of that kiss.
If anyone had said she'd have to kiss Lorcan Connor, she would have wrinkled her nose at the idea. Despite his passable good looks, he had the kind of stern, distant persona that did nothing for her. How was she to know there was that kind of fire under the ice?
Because that kiss had set her ablaze in the most surprising way.
So, she wrestled silently with that knowledge, and since Lorcan normally spoke only when necessary, it was quiet from the time they left the hospital until after they'd ordered at the restaurant.
Then Lorcan fixed her with those incredible eyes, and said, "Alright, you. What's going on?"
That brought her back down to earth with a bump.
"Well, my mum has always been a bit flaky, but she's gotten worse recently. Do you know Serena Sooko?"
"The head nurse in Pediatrics?"
"Yes. She's my cousin, and Mum and I were at her baby shower. A woman there was reading tea leaves and told Mum she saw a wedding before the end of the year. Mum immediately decided it was going to be mine. It was all nonsense, of course."
After all, that woman told Chloe Bailey she was going to have a baby, almost making the neurologist cry. Not only had Chloe been in the midst of a divorce, but she was unlikely to conceive because of a medical condition.
"Of course," Lorcan agreed.
"Since then," Indra continued, "Mum's thrown every man—from twenty-five to fifty—at me, no matter how often I tell her to stop."
Lorcan blinked, apparently trying to digest that.
"So, the man earlier…?"
"Was a complete stranger. Sent by my mother, without a by-your-leave, to take me to dinner."
Leaning back, Lorcan made a sound Indra couldn't interpret. "What does your dad say about all this?"
"He doesn't know. My parents are divorced and hardly speak. If he knew, he'd be furious."
Lorcan grunted what sounded like agreement, then asked, "What are you going to do?"
Indra sighed, making up her mind on the spot. "First, I'm going to take a few days off and vanish. I have no idea where to, but just out of Mum's sight. Secondly, I'll have to get Dad to talk to her. It won't be pretty, though. There'll be lots of shouting involved."
Just the thought made her stomach twist, but Mum had brought it on herself. When it came to putting any kind of rein on Mum, Dad was the only person Indra knew who could.
The waiter brought their drinks and an appetizer, and they munched companionably for a few minutes, before Indra picked up the conversation again.
"What I really need to do is find a way to convince her that I can find someone, on my own, without her interference. Just a ruse, to get me to the end of the year, and then hopefully this'll die a natural death."
Lorcan was silent for a moment, but his fingers were drumming on the table, a gesture she'd learned meant he was thinking, hard. Then he looked up and said, "I can help you there. Why don't you come to Ireland with me to attend my ex-wife's wedding? Then your mum will think we're involved and leave you alone."
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