Second Chance with the Millionaire

By: Penny Jordan



His voice hadn’t lost the soft drawl she remembered so vividly. Why on earth had she and Neville made fun of it? It was pleasantly soft and fell easily on her ears, causing her to suffer a momentary pang for her own folly in antagonising him. Instinctively she recognised now that he would have made a far better ally than Neville, that he could even have been a refuge for her to lean on during those difficult months after her mother’s death.

Cross with herself for letting emotion get in the way of reality, she interrupted breathlessly. ‘I’m sure Saul doesn’t mind you taking your pony Tara…’

‘Why should I?’ he interrupted her in that same slow drawl. ‘After all, you’ve already taken damned near everything else. What’s a pony?’

The way he looked at her, the ironic contempt in his voice, stunned her into dismayed silence.

This was not what she had expected at all, this gage flung down at her feet for her to pick up. But what on earth could she say to him in her own defence?

She glanced at Tara. ‘Take Harriet down to the paddock, Tara, and tell your mother that Saul’s arrived.

‘We didn’t expect you quite so soon, and I’m afraid everything’s still rather a mess. However, we’d be delighted if you’d have lunch with us.’

‘My, my… how you’ve changed.’ Again that biting mockery. ‘Or have you? Those are very pretty party manners you’ve got somewhere along the way, Lucy. You certainly didn’t have them twelve years ago.’

His cynicism stung her into replying fiercely, ‘Twelve years ago I was still a child, Saul… And what’s more I had just lost my mother.’

Watching his eyes harden she bit her lip, angry with herself for being so easily provoked. What on earth had happened to all her good resolutions about proferring an olive branch?

Turning away from him to hide the hot tide of colour flooding her skin from his penetrating glance, she mentally derided herself for the sensations engulfing her.

The truth was that she had stupidly expected a more physically adult version of the boy Saul she had remembered, but what she had got was a man who seemed to share nothing other than a name with that boy she remembered.

‘I want you to have lunch with us,’ Tara interrupted firmly, gazing up at him. ‘I want you to tell me all about your pony. What was his name?’

‘Mustard.’

For some reason the slow smile he gave Tara made Lucy feel bleakly excluded and hurt.

‘You’re sure it’s no trouble?’

He was looking at her now, his eyes still cold, smoothly assessing the shape of her body beneath its covering of skimpy T-shirt and ancient jeans, Lucy recognised. Anger flared hotly inside her, her mouth hardening as she turned away from him. As she fought for self-control she reminded herself that Saul had good reason to feel antagonistic towards her; he would after all have based his assessment of her on the girl she had been at twelve, and she could not really blame him for looking for chinks in her armour. Even so, in some strange way it hurt that he should have looked at her like that, dismissing the blood relationship between them, to treat her with a sexual contempt which she had found shatteringly demeaning.

Forcing a smile and ignoring the look he had given her she said calmly, ‘No trouble at all. It will be about an hour or so before it’s ready, but if you like I’ll introduce you to Mrs Isaacs before I go. She and I have just been trying to clean the place up a bit.’

She just caught the look of surprise in his eyes before he suppressed it and suddenly he looked more like the boy she remembered.

‘Rather a demeaning role for you isn’t it? Cleaning? Or were you hoping for a few more pickings?’

A sense of despair engulfed her as she heard the contempt in his voice. How could she have thought that she simply had to extend to him the hand of friendship to wipe out the past? Saul might have left behind the awkward aggression she remembered, but in its place was something far more lethal: a cold hardness that warned her that in his eyes she was more foe than friend.

‘If you’re referring to the estate,’ she told him quietly, ‘my father was entitled to sell what he did.’

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