To Wear His Ring Again(7)By: Chantelle Shaw
Constantin’s eyes narrowed. ‘Is there a point to this conversation? I haven’t heard a word from you in two years. Why have you turned up out of the blue?’
He did not try to disguise his frustration. He had not anticipated this meeting with his soon-to-be ex-wife, and Constantin hated surprises. His shock when he had caught sight of Isobel standing in the doorway of the gym had sparked his anger that she had left him—even though he acknowledged that he had driven her away. She had a hell of a nerve to stroll back into the house, looking so beautiful that he’d been instantly and embarrassingly aroused.
His temper was not improved when he felt his hand shake as he lifted his cup to his lips and gulped down his coffee, scalding the back of his throat in the process. He did not want her here, stirring up memories of the past that he had successfully kept locked away. An image flashed into his mind of their tiny, perfectly formed baby girl who had never lived. Pain flared inside him, but he controlled it as he always did, by force of will, and blocked out the memories.
Harder to control was his body’s reaction to Isobel. Unwanted memories were not the only thing she was stirring, Constantin acknowledged self-derisively as he shifted position in an effort to hide the bulge of his arousal. No other woman had ever turned him on as hard and fast as Isobel.
He remembered the first time he had met her. She had hurtled into his office half an hour late for work, a flurry of honey-blonde hair framing a strikingly beautiful face, and announced that she had been sent by the temp agency to cover for his office assistant who was on maternity leave. He’d cut short her explanation of why she was late, but his impatience had died when he had looked into her wide hazel eyes and felt a shaft of desire so strong that it had literally taken his breath away.
From that moment his sole aim had been to take her to bed, a feat he’d achieved within the month. Discovering that he was her first lover had elicited emotions he had not believed himself capable of. The weekend they had spent together in Rome had been the best—and worst—of his life.
It had been the beginning of the nightmares that had haunted him ever since he’d woken in the middle of the night, sweating and shaking, and utterly appalled by the truth that his dream had revealed. He had looked at Isobel sleeping innocently beside him, and realised that for her safety he could not allow their relationship to continue.
THE SUN GLINTING through the windows turned Isobel’s hair to spun gold. A sensation he could not define tugged in Constantin’s chest, but he ignored it and forced himself to study her objectively.
Her clothes bore the hallmarks of superb design; the close-fitting jeans drew his attention to her endlessly long legs and her tee shirt snugly moulded her firm breasts. A gold chain around her neck was her only item of jewellery. His mouth thinned as he glanced at her bare left hand and pictured her wedding ring and diamond engagement ring that she had left behind when she had abandoned their marriage to pursue her career.
Her physical appearance had changed little in two years. Her face, with its high cheekbones and firm jaw that gave a clue to her determined character, was as beautiful as he remembered, and her hazel eyes fringed with long lashes were clear and intelligent. Her natural blonde hair was sexily tousled, and the just-got-out-of-bed style made him want to run his fingers through the silky layers.
His eyes sought hers, and he was intrigued when she met his gaze with calm self-assurance where once she would have blushed and looked away. There was something very alluring about a woman who was comfortable in her own skin and Constantin felt an ache of desire in his groin, but, perversely he was irritated by the self-confidence that she had developed after she had left him.
‘I’m not the only one of us to have featured in the press,’ he said abruptly. ‘The Stone Ladies’ success has been meteoric and the band has won a raft of music awards. How does it feel to be a famous star?’
Isobel shrugged. ‘Frankly, it seems unreal. In two years the band has gone from playing small gigs in pubs to performing in huge arenas in front of thousands of people. Success is amazing, of course, but if I’m honest I find the media interest in my private life hard to deal with.’