Which she mirrored.
Matt frowned. ‘Excuse me,’ he muttered, and took a step to the left.
Which she blocked, too.
He rubbed a hand along his jaw and stifled a sigh. Once might have been an accident. Twice was deliberate.
Matt bit back a growl of frustration. This was precisely why up until now he’d chosen to live in a penthouse in an exclusive apartment block in the centre of London, where none of the neighbours knew each other and no one was interested in wasting time on idle chit-chat. Everyone kept themselves to themselves and just got on with their own lives.
Here, however, out in the country, things evidently didn’t work like that. Whoever she was, she clearly wanted to chat. While he didn’t. Nor did he have the time to tango from side to side like this all morning.
Toying with the idea of clamping his hands round her waist and hoisting her out of the way, Matt dipped his eyes to the narrow strip of bare flesh between the hem of her T-shirt and the waistband of her shorts.
He wondered what it would feel like. Smooth. Silky. Warm. Undoubtedly. And what would it taste like? At the thought of his mouth against the skin of her stomach, moving lower and lower to see what she’d taste like, his mouth went dry and his pulse leapt.
Hmm, he thought, shoving his fists in his pockets. Perhaps putting his hands on her wasn’t the wisest course of action. Conversation, polite but brief, it would have to be. Assuming he could speak, of course.
‘Are you all right?’ she asked, her brow creasing in concern.
Matt gave his head a quick shake to dispel the lingering fuzziness and cleared his throat. ‘Fine,’ he said. ‘Why?’
‘You went very pale for a second.’
‘You startled me.’
Her smiled widened and his temperature went up a notch. ‘I’m sorry,’ she said. ‘I thought it would be safer to alert you to my presence rather than wait for you to barrel straight into me.’
At the thought of his body colliding with hers, of having all that softness and warmth plastered against him, a bolt of desire kicked him in the gut. A vision of the two of them tumbling down onto the grass, limbs entwined, mouths jammed together, hands everywhere, slammed into his head and his heart nearly leapt out of his chest.
So much for trying to kid himself that his reaction to her was simply shock. Shock had never given him an erection harder than granite.
Great. Scorching attraction.
Just what he needed.
Matt’s jaw tightened. ‘I was deep in thought,’ he said, finally drumming up some of that steely control he was supposedly so famous for and hauling his body into line.
She tilted her head to one side. ‘I could tell. And not about anything good by the looks of things.’
‘That’s a shame.’
She nibbled on her lip and nodded. ‘I think so. Especially on a day like today.’
‘What’s so special about today?’ Apart from being the day he thought he might be losing his mind.
‘Well, for one thing, the sun is shining, and, this being Britain in May, that’s a cause for celebration. Plus the flowers are beautiful and the air smells heavenly.’
Were they? Did it? Matt had been too wrapped up in his thoughts to notice. Now his thoughts had been scattered to the four winds. Forget the flowers. Forget the air. She was beautiful. She smelt heavenly. And her mouth was something else. ‘Really?’ he muttered, trying not to imagine what it would feel like crushed beneath his.
She nodded. ‘A day like today should be all about lying on the grass, reading the papers and drinking rosé,’ she said, giving him another wide smile that had his control threatening to unravel all over again, ‘not marching around and glowering at the ground.’
At that timely reminder about where he was and what he was supposed to be doing, Matt pulled himself together. This was ludicrous. If the people of Sassania could see the state of him now, they’d have thought twice about their decision to reinstate the monarchy.
‘Unfortunately I don’t have time to read the papers or drink rosé,’ he said sharply. And as for sprawling over the grass, well, the less he thought about that the better. ‘So, if you’ll excuse me…’