‘Particularly as the paparazzi are fascinated by your relationship with one of the male band members,’ Constantin said sardonically. ‘I’m guessing the record company want the band’s image to be squeaky clean for your teenage fans, which is why your profile on social media sites makes no mention of the fact that you are married.’
Isobel sighed, sensing that they were heading towards an old argument. ‘I’ve explained that Ryan is just a friend. I’m close to everyone in the band. We grew up together and Ben, Carly and Ryan are like my family. You never understood how important they are to me and I know you resented my friendships, but the truth was that the more you pushed me away, the more I needed to be with people who cared about me, people I could trust.’
Constantin frowned. ‘I never gave you any reason not to trust me.’
‘I don’t mean I suspected you of seeing other women behind my back.’ In a way, if he had been unfaithful it would have been easier to understand, Isobel thought painfully. She would have been hurt, but she would have accepted that she’d made a mistake by marrying a notorious playboy, and eventually she would have got over him.
She stared at his handsome face and her heart clenched. She had written songs about falling in love at first sight but she’d never really believed it could happen—until she’d met Constantin.
When she had hurried into his office on her first day at her new job, her eyes had crashed with his cobalt-blue gaze, and the world had tilted on its axis. She had expected the CEO of a world-famous company to be older, possibly with thinning hair and a thickening waistline, but Constantin was a superb example of masculine perfection, with exotic film-star looks and the commanding presence of a world leader. She had felt intimidated by his height and powerful build, by his smouldering sensuality that made her acutely aware of her femininity. But then he had smiled and she had felt a yearning ache in the pit of her stomach that she had instinctively known only he could assuage.
Constantin put his coffee cup on the tray, and his eyes narrowed on Isobel’s flushed face as he wondered what thoughts she was trying to hide behind the sweep of her long eyelashes. She looked amazing, he acknowledged. Following the miscarriage she had barely eaten and had lost weight dramatically, but now her slim figure was firm and toned. Did she have a lover? The thought oozed its poison into his head. She was a beautiful, sensual woman, and it was difficult to believe she had lived like a nun for the past two years.
He had seen her photograph on posters advertising the Stone Ladies’ new album. There were pictures of her on giant billboards around London wearing a skirt that was barely more than a wide belt, which showed off her lissom thighs. She was a pin-up girl, a male fantasy, but he had no need of fantasies when he had X-rated memories of making love to her.
Those memories crowded his mind and his arousal became a potent, throbbing force. The atmosphere in the sitting room altered subtly. He heard the quickening sound of his breathing, or was it Isobel’s? He looked into her eyes and watched them darken as her pupils dilated, and he knew she was remembering the white-hot hunger that had consumed them in the past and was simmering between them now.
Goosebumps prickled on the back of Isobel’s neck when she saw the hard glitter in Constantin’s eyes. The realisation that he still desired her filled her with panic and undeniable excitement. She tore her gaze from him and stared desperately at the empty teacup and saucer in her hand, suddenly realising that she was gripping the delicate bone china so tightly it was in danger of breaking. She took a step towards the coffee table, intending to put the cup and saucer on the tray, but her heel caught on the edge of the rug and she stumbled. Immediately two strong arms caught her, and when she regained her balance she found herself standing so close to Constantin that the tips of her breasts grazed his chest.
‘Thanks.’ She groaned inwardly when her voice emerged as a husky whisper. Her throat felt dry and her senses were swamped by the evocative scent of the spicy aftershave that he always wore. Her common sense told her to move away from him but she seemed to have lost control of her limbs as her mind flew back to the first time he had kissed her.