"So you did. But people are always making promises."
"And you thought I'd made one I did not intend to keep?"
"To be honest, the thought did cross my mind. After all, you don't know my name, and I don't know yours. You didn't give me your phone number or say where you worked either. You just brought me here and then umm…er…"
"Made love to you and vanished?"
"Exactly. Not a lot for a girl to build her hopes on. I think you'll agree with me on that."
"Really?" He looked a tad confused. "I didn't introduce myself?"
"No." She smiled. "But that's okay neither did I."
He took a step back and held out his hand. "In that case, my sincere apologies for the omission. Guy Rochambault of R amp;H Holdings at your service. And you are?"
She accepted the handshake. "Trish Stacey, tourist and former business studies student."
Taking both her hands in his, he pulled her in close. "I can't believe you were planning to run out on me."
"I wasn't planning anything of the kind. I thought I'd been had, so I was going out to drown my sorrows in a cup of coffee."
A frown wrinkled his otherwise perfect brow. "What do you mean by had?"
"You know…fooled, tricked. The innocent victim of a hit and run."
He slipped his arms around her and began to caress her butt. "You make me sound like a…what do the English call a man who does something like that?"
Trish shrugged. "No idea."
"I think perhaps it begins with a c."
"As in cad?"
"That's it. You thought I was one of those?"
"No. I just thought you were a flirt and left it at that."
"And now what do you think?"
She smiled and gave him a brief kiss on the lips. "I think I need that cup of coffee before I say anything I might regret."
He pulled her in hard against the juncture of his thighs, and she felt his arousal pressing against her belly. "Wouldn't you rather go back upstairs and make love?"
"Anyone ever tell you you're insatiable?"
"But insatiable is good, no?"
She pulled free of his embrace and hurried down the next flight of stairs. "I don't know," she called over her shoulder. "I've never tried it."
Guy caught up her with in the lobby. "Coffee and then we go back upstairs?"
"No. First coffee and then a walk, otherwise I'll have no appetite for lunch. And you did promise me lunch. Right?"
"So I did. Where would you like to go?"
"Le Café de la Paix. According to my guide book, they have great food."
"Not the best in all of Paris," Guy argued as they left the building and started along the sidewalk. "But for a restaurant that's a big favorite with the tourists, I understand they rarely disappoint. However, it's quite some distance from here, so we'll need to take the car."
Trish glanced up and down both sides of the boulevard, but the limousine was nowhere in sight. "I don't see Georges. What did you do with him? "
"Georges and the limo belong to the company. And, since this is not company business, I prefer to drive myself. That's my car's over there." He pointed to a low-slung black sports car parked on the opposite side of the street.
A remark once made by a friend about a man's car being an extension of his libido slipped through Trish's mind, but she merely smiled and kept the thought to herself. If she'd tried to imagine the kind of car Guy drove, then that would have been it in every last shiny detail.
After a delicious cup of café au lait at the first sidewalk café they came to, they continued on until they reached the Boulevard St. Michel. Taking Trish's hand and ignoring the fact the traffic lights were against them, Guy closed his ears to her protests and steered her safely through the speeding traffic to the other side.
"You could've gotten us killed," she said, as they turned into a narrow side street. "I can't believe the drivers let us through. They were all going so fast, it's a miracle they were able to avoid hitting us. You have a death wish or something?"
"No." He frowned, looking vaguely confused. "That's the way I always cross a street."
"If you do that in Toronto, you'll risk getting a ticket for jay-walking."
He laughed and squeezed her hand. "So I discovered. I told the officer I was a tourist, and he said he'd let me off this once, but next time I should wait for the 'walk' sign."
"And did you?"
"No. The next time I did it, I just made sure there were no cops around."
It was Trish's turn to laugh. "You're incorrigible as well as insatiable."
"And you find that to be a bad thing?"
"No." Trish turned her head to look at him and the moment she saw the mischief dancing in his dark eyes a surge of raw need rushed through her body, and she wanted him all over again. Even more than she'd wanted him the last time. "It's just…"
He stopped walking, slipped his forefinger beneath her chin and lifted her face up toward his own, leaving the pedestrians to squeeze past the best way they could. "It's just what?"
"You. Paris. Me. I'm really a very unadventurous person. Until I met you, I never took chances or tried new things. That's why my last boyfriend dumped me. He said I needed to loosen up and get with the program."
"Perhaps with him you didn't want to loosen up. Do you think that might be possible?"
"Maybe. I'm not sure." In Trish's view, sex was something that should happen naturally and be enjoyable for both parties. Unfortunately, sex with Stuart had been something to be endured rather than enjoyed. He'd always wanted to try out weird stuff he'd read about in a sex manual like it was a science project. And she'd refused because, knowing Stuart, he'd have blamed her if the project failed. Anyway, the thought of allowing Stuart to tie her up and tickle her with a feather had sounded about as romantic as a bowl of cold, lumpy porridge, so she'd lied by telling him she had a headache and needed to go home.
"Do you still care about this old boyfriend?"
"Not even a tiny little bit?"
"In that case, with your permission, I will teach you to fly. Metaphorically speaking, of course."
If the lessons were to be anything like the one he'd given her earlier that day, she could hardly wait. "You think you can?"
He drew himself up straight. "You doubt my abilities in that regard?"
"No. It's me I'm worried about. Like I said, I'm not the adventurous type. Anyway, I think we should move. We're holding up traffic," she said, as a woman glared at her as she pushed past.
At the end of the next block, Trish noticed several Greek restaurants lining one side of the street. Most of them had signs outside advertising the day's menu plus the owner or an employee standing in the doorway, trying to lure customers inside.
"My God! I love Greek food it's my absolute favorite," she said, looking up at Guy. "Do you know if any of these places are good? Or are they just tourist traps?"
"This part of the Left Bank is full of restaurants that cater to tourists, but I live only a short distance from here and there is one a little farther on where I go quite often. The food there is excellent."
"Can we forget Le Café and go there instead?"
"But of course."
Like most Greek restaurants, the one Guy took her to was orchestrated pandemonium with the constant crash of pots, pans and plates, and waiters shouting at the tops of their voices, making conversation virtually impossible.
When they'd finished eating and had drunk the bottle of retsina Guy had ordered, he settled the check and they left the restaurant. Trish wanted to see the River Seine, so they walked down le Boulevard Mich, as Guy said it was known locally, a couple of blocks to where the Ile de la Cité and the river separated the city into the Left Bank and the Right Bank.
"So, where do you live?" Trish asked, leaning on the low protective wall and gazing first down at the water and then in awe at the sheer Gothic splendor of Notre Dame Cathedral.
He gestured to the right. "My apartment is down there, at the end of the quai. No more than a short walk away. Would you like to see it?"
"What about your car?"
"It's quite safe where it is. It won't run away."
"You sure someone won't try to steal it?"
"If they do, it's insured. I'll get another one."
"Just like that?"
"Exactly like that." He turned her around to face him. "I don't want to think about cars or anything else. I just want to think about you. Je te veux, cherie."
"Yes, I know."
"I want you, too. Very much." As far as Trish was concerned, the sexy look in Guy's eyes and the husky quality of his voice was all the turn-on she needed. She knew she was putty in his hands, totally at his mercy, but instead of letting the knowledge bother her the way it probably should-and definitely would have with any other man-she was relishing every second. For the first time in her life, she was finally letting go and throwing caution out the window. She'd come to Paris for romance and adventure, and she'd found it. She was head over heels in love, or maybe it was simply lust, with a handsome stranger, and the fact their relationship couldn't last was neither here nor there. Time enough for her to get back to being serious and responsible once her vacation was over.
Guy's apartment comprised the entire top floor of a beautiful old, six-story building that he told Trish had been erected around the time of the French Revolution. The rooms were large and airy, and the views from the huge windows were spectacular. Guy pointed out the Eiffel Tower, the Pantheon, the Louvre, city hall, and in the very far distance, Sacré-Coeur, along with a bunch of other places that meant nothing to Trish. But, hopefully, before her trip was over, she would have visited most if not all of them.
"Would you like something to drink?" Guy asked as he opened the double doors of what looked to Trish like a temperature-controlled wine and liquor cabinet. "I also have cold beer and sodas in the kitchen. Or I could make coffee or tea if you prefer."
"A nice cold cola sounds good. That wine made me feel sleepy."
As Guy disappeared to fetch the drinks, Trish unzipped her hoodie, removed her purse and set it on a nearby table, and then she stretched out on a nearby sofa strewn with big, fat, silk-covered pillows and closed her eyes. Between the wine and lack of sleep, she could barely keep her eyes open. Maybe if she kept them closed for just a couple of minutes…
When she awoke, she could tell by the angle of the sun shining through the filmy net curtains that it was late in the afternoon. But, instead of being on the sofa, she was now lying on black silk sheets, on a huge king-sized bed with her head on Guy's chest and his arms clasped loosely around her body.
She glanced around the room. Very masculine. Very contemporary. Concealed lighting, black and white décor, and a couple of cubist-style paintings on the walls that were all form and bright colors.
"You feel better now?" Guy asked, yawning.
Trish struggled to sit up and then looked around for a clock. "I guess, but this is so embarrassing. How long have I been asleep?"
"What time is it?"
"A little after four."
"But we got here around two."
He smiled and pulled her down beside him. "No problem. I was sleepy, too. But rather than leave you out there by yourself, I brought you in here with me. I only woke up a moment or two before you did."
Trish decided there had to be something special about a man who was this sweet and considerate, and she snuggled into his warmth. "I can't believe I fell asleep on you like that. You should've given me a shake or something."
"Why? Between the overnight flight and the six-hour time change, you needed the sleep, and so did I, and now…"
"And now what?"
Moving quickly, he flipped Trish onto her back and leaned over her. "First, I'm going to get us something cold to drink, then I intend to spend the rest of the afternoon making love to you."
She reached up and touched his face. "You're going to teach me to fly?"
"Perhaps. If you ask me nicely."
She pushed her lips out in an exaggerated pout. "Pretty please?"
"Well…" He gave her a lingering kiss and a long, thoughtful look, then he laughed as he got off the bed and headed for the door. "Since you ask so nicely, I'll have to see what I can do. Don't go anywhere. I'll be right back."
When Guy returned a few minutes later, he was carrying a small tray containing two light beers and a couple of glasses. He set the tray on the nightstand and opened both cans. "Would you like yours in a glass?"
"No, thanks. It tastes better straight from the can."
After taking a sip from one of the cans himself, he handed the other to Trish.
Trish lay back against the pillows and tilted the can, allowing a little of the refreshingly cold beverage to trickle down her throat. "Mmm…that's good."
She was about to put the can back on the tray when she heard a sound somewhere within the apartment. At least it sounded like it was inside rather than out, and she shot Guy a questioning look. "Did you hear that?"
He dropped down beside her on the bed and pulled her into his arms. "It's only Carlos. He just came in. Would you like to meet him?"
"Now? I thought, umm…I don't know…I…" Trish was floundering in deep water without the slightest idea how to extract herself. "I thought you and me…you know."
"You don't have to if you'd rather not. But Carlos and I like to share everything. And I promise you it's a much bigger thrill when we do."
Trish wavered on the edge. On the one hand she wanted to experience everything; on the other…she'd never totally given up control before, and she didn't know if she could handle something like that with people she knew well, never mind two complete strangers. "Umm…" She looked up and found herself drowning in the promise she could read in Guy's sexy dark eyes. "I've never done anything like that before. So I have no idea-"
Guy laid a hand over her mouth. "It's okay. You'll be fine."
"What if I find I can't?"
"Don't worry. That won't happen. Hey, Carlos!" he called out in the direction of the half-open door. "We have a visitor. Someone who'd like to meet you."
Trish's nerves were in knots and her heart was beating a lot faster than normal, but when the door opened and the man she assumed must be Carlos came in, she just stared and swallowed hard.
She'd thought Guy was sexy and good-looking, but Carlos would have made a stone statue's mouth water. Tall and bare-chested, with dark, curly hair that fit his head like a cap, chocolate, deep-set eyes, finely chiseled features, and a body to die for. A pair of ragged blue jeans hanging low on his slim hips was his only item of clothing.
"Carlos, meet Trish. Trish is Canadian. She's here on vacation, and we met on the flight. Trish, this is my longtime partner, Carlos. Carlos and I were at school together."
Trish licked her lips. "Nice to meet you," she murmured.
"Hi, Trish." Carlos sat on the edge of the bed and shot her a quick smile before turning his attention to Guy. "I hear it was a good trip," he said, capturing Trish's complete attention as he bent forward and bestowed a long and very deep kiss on Guy's obviously eager mouth. "But I'm glad you're back," he added the moment he came up for air. "I hate being here by myself at night."