Christian turned his head against the seat, and she froze, worried he was waking. His breathing continued slow and deep. Now his body was leaning her way. If she tilted her chin and leaned two inches closer, their lips would touch.
It wasn’t like her to be sexually attracted to a man she’d only just met. Her best friend Katie would be shocked by her runaway thoughts. But then Katie would tell her to go for it.Live a little.
“What are you doing?” Christian asked in an accusing tone. His eyes slowly opened and pinned her with a steely gaze. “Is this how you started things with my father, kissed him while he was unconscious?”
“I never!” Her cheeks burned hot, and she wished either she or Christian would vanish into a black hole. “Listen to me, because I am only going to say this one more time. I did not, repeatnothave sex with your father!”
His disbelief rekindled her anger. “How dare you insult me! Not to mention your bad attitude towards a wonderful, endearing man who isn’t here to defend himself. What makes you think I had an affair with John anyway? Rumors? Wishful thinking? Did somebody tell you they caught us doing something? If they did, they were flat out lying.”
“No, sweetheart.Youare the liar.”
“What makes you so sure?”
He sat up straight and pulled a manila envelope from his briefcase. Without a word, he dumped the contents onto her lap. She found herself staring at photographs of herself with John in different locations. Someone must have been following them for weeks. “This is it?” she asked. “This is all you’ve got? Do you have any of us in bed? No. Because weneverhad sex. There aren’t even any of us kissing. He could have beenmyfather for all the evidence you have to the contrary.”
Christian went through the pictures, pointing out things for her benefit. His tone dared her to deny the relationship again. “See here? His hand is on the small of your back, and you’re staring at him like he hung the moon. And this one. Here you are with your head on his shoulder. My personal favorite has got to be this one though. Kissing. You arekissinghim in this one.”
She lifted the photo in question and shook her head vehemently. “He was leaning over to open the car door for me. From this angle you can’t see anything. It’s just your dirty mind filling in the blanks. Youwantto believe we were lovers. You want me to be a slut.”
“Why would I want that?” he demanded.
“I’m not sure. Maybe you want an excuse to hate me so you’ll be able to keep your hands to yourself.” Her eyes widened. “Or you want to believe I’m guilty so you can take me to bed without feeling bad about it.”
His jaw tightened, and his eyes narrowed. Had she gone too far? Had she pushed him over the limits of his self-control?
The car stopped, and the driver lowered the divider. “We’re here, sir.”
“Where?” Christian asked as he bent down to look out her window. “Where are we? I thought we were going to your apartment?”
She gestured to the aging brick building with a few boarded-up windows and a condemned place next door. “It’s called aflathere in London. Not an apartment. I’m home, and this is where I’m staying. You can go to New York by yourself. I won’t be joining you.”
She started to get out of the limo, but he restrained her with a hand on her arm. His eyes narrowed. “You live in this dump? Seriously? What was my father thinking letting you stay here?”
Bianca had never felt more vulnerable in her life. Barely able to breathe, she stood frozen in the center of her small London flat while Christian toured her home on his own, determined to find fault. His great height and broad shoulders made the one-bedroom feel extra claustrophobic. No doubt he was used to luxurious conditions. She imagined her entire home would fit into one of his bathrooms with space to spare. To her dismay, his keen eyes found every flaw from the leak under the kitchen sink to the slight mold near the tub.
She tried looking at the cramped space through fresh eyes to see what he was seeing. He shook his head with open disgust. Her roommates hadn’t bothered to tidy up in her absence. She’d been too busy dealing with John’s death, getting the office in order for Christian’s arrival, and searching for a new place to live to do it herself. Every night that week she had stumbled in after dark only to fall face-first on the sofa. She was asleep before her head hit the pillow.
Christian opened her refrigerator, and she held her breath. She knew the contents by heart. There was a half-empty bottle of mustard, a fuzzy triangle of expired cheese, and two bottles of beer, all of which belonged to her roommates. Even though Josh and Gayle ate ninety percent of the food, they only bought ten percent. So she had started eating out a few months ago and only brought a few things home each week to keep them from starving. Besides, she’d lost her appetite after John’s death. Nothing more substantial than soup had passed her lips since his heart attack.
Christian ducked into the bedroom next. The sight of a man’s clothing strewn across the floor and unmade bed set him off. He didn’t give her a chance to explain. “How many men do you have?” he demanded to know in an incredulous tone. His green eyes pinned her to the spot with an accusing glare. “Were you sleeping with this fellowandmy father?”
Bianca’s jaw dropped. Who did he think he was coming into her home and insulting her? She clenched her fists and prayed for restraint. Otherwise, she might add a few punches to the slap she’d delivered earlier. She’d wind up arrested for sure. Christian didn’t know her, had only just met her that morning, and he thought he had the right to judge her. Typical wealthy businessman, he couldn’t have a lower opinion of her if he tried.
Stubbornly, she lifted her shoulders in a careless shrug, vowing silently not to tell him a damn thing. It wasn’t his business if she slept with every man in England. He could turn his judgmental eyes and berating scowl in another direction.
If he thought she was going to New York with him, he had lost his grip on reality. “What are you doing?” she asked, stunned as he tossed Gayle’s suitcase on top of the bed and stalked to the dresser.
“Packing.” He took Gayle’s clothes from the drawers and tossed them into the waiting case. With a grim twist to his mouth, he announced, “You won’t be returning. Perhaps you can leave a note for yourboyfriend.”
She gaped at him. “None of that stuff is mine. My clothes are already packed and waiting.” She pointed at the three bags near the sofa in the living room. “See?”
He charged at them like a bull ready to gore somebody. He froze at the sight of the pillow and rumpled blanket on the sofa. Now he knew she’d been sleeping there, even if he didn’t know why. The fact was she had two roommates about to get married, and they wanted her to leave. A trip to New York might just save her life, but she wasn’t about to admit it to the arrogant man standing in her living room.
The front door swung open, and Josh entered with a guitar case hanging from one arm. When they’d first met, she had thought he was cute, cute enough to make her heart flutter. Today, he was wearing a tank top even though it was cold outside. A multitude of tattoos covered his bare arms, and his ears were pierced along with his nose. Stubble along his jawline gave him a sort of mysterious air that she used to find attractive. Now it just reminded her that he was totally irresponsible.