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He was not his father. Thinking of his father was the sense cooling reminder he needed.

The implication that she would be the one making the move brought a flush of outraged anger to Kate’s face and helped clear the remaining sensual fog of confusion in her head.

‘I can assure you that you are safe from me, Your...’ Oh, God, she came up against the same stubborn mental block that she seemed to have with his title and stopped.

‘It is Highness, but you can call me Marco.’

‘Well, YourHighness...’ she said, adopting an attitude of mocking disdain and thinking,You are justtoostupid, Kate, you kissed him, youwantedto kiss him, you lost the moral high ground at that moment.‘Forget it,’ she suggested to him magnanimously.

TheI havestayed silent, but was very much there, hanging in the air between them.

‘Heightened emotions...’ She managed a pretty credible shrug. ‘I nearly got shot.’ It got her off the hook, technically at least.

‘Shot...a slight exaggeration.’

Her lips compressed and she swore softly under her breath. ‘Whatdid my predecessor call you?’ Not caring if the change of subject was not really subtle, she didn’t want this conversation to move to a place that blurred any lines she had drawn in the sand.

His lips quivered slightly. ‘Nanny Maeve knew me when I was seven.’I never kissed Nanny Maeve, he added silently.

Once was enough, he thought, looking at her mouth and thinking once was too much, a taste had made him hungry for more. As recreational drugs went, this woman’s mouth had addiction written all over it.

‘Well, I hope you’ll be able to afford me the same professional courtesy you did her. I didn’t intend to intrude but I spotted you and, as I was hoping to speak to you about Freya, I just—’

‘Chased me.’

‘Sorry if I interrupted your...swim...?’ Not that she could see any sign of a pool.

‘I was retracing my steps looking for my phone.’ The recollection brought a frown to his brow.

Losing his phone made him seem almost normal but he wasn’t, he really wasn’t, he lived in a different world from the one she inhabited.

‘I had assumed,’ she continued frigidly, ‘that I’d be able to make contact when you came to see Freya.’

He scanned her face with narrowed eyes. ‘Do I detect a note of disapproval in your voice?’

‘It’s not my place to disapprove, as I’m sure you’d be the first to tell me, but I’m not sure how this works. Do I make an appointment?’ She allowed her chilled question to hang there a moment before adding with barely disguised sarcasm, ‘Or do I need to relay the information through some intermediary?’

If she had been hoping to elicit some guilty response, she failed, but the permanent groove between his brows deepened. ‘Firstly, what you donotdo is create a security incident, and if you have any information concerning my daughter there are no intermediaries, you contact me directly.’

‘I was trying to.’

‘Well, go ahead.’

Her eyes slid up and down his tall, angry, half-dressed frame. ‘Here?’

‘Why not?’

‘I would prefer a more formal setting,’ she announced stuffily, thinking,With no ripped body clouding my judgment.

He looked inclined to argue the point but shrugged. ‘Fair enough. I can give you half an hour in my office. Is thatformalenough for you?’

She ignored the mockery and nodded, following him across the green expanse of grass to the stone wall of a tower.

‘It’s a short cut.’ He nodded towards a flight of steps cut into the stone. He paused at the foot and turned to her. ‘You going to be all right with the steps?’

Her lips tightened. ‘So long as there are no gun-toting ninja warriors hiding around the next bend, I’ll be fine...’

‘Right, then, after you.’

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