‘Shouldn’t you go and answer it?’
The ringing stopped as the answer machine kicked in.
Phoebe grinned and stretched back. ‘Don’t you just love civilisation?’
‘Where would we be without it?’
‘The Stone Age?’ she said softly. ‘In fact I can just see you in a loin cloth, hunting and gathering.’
Alex lifted his head and his eyes gleamed. ‘I can see you lying on the floor of my cave waiting to be ravished on my return.’
‘I wouldn’t,’ said Phoebe indignantly, thinking how wonderfully wanton that sounded. ‘I’d be decorating. Doing something creative with shells. Drawing on the walls. Or alternatively I’d be sitting with the other cave-women and listening to how they sent their men out for some leaves and roots for supper and they came back with a woolly mammoth.’
Alex laughed and the sound of it rumbled right through her making every nerve ending tingle.
‘Besides, it would be our cave, not just yours.’
Alex pulled back a little and Phoebe wondered what she’d said. ‘Alex?’
‘Phoebe.’ The cool tone of his voice sent an involuntary shiver down her spine. ‘Before we go any further, you should know I’m not looking for a cave with anyone.’
No. In the past five years he hadn’t been photographed with the same woman twice. ‘You’re the one who mentioned me lying in your cave.’
‘Yes, but I didn’t have you decorating.’
If he hadn’t been lying half on top of her, she’d have kicked herself. ‘My mistake. I don’t really like decorating anyway. The decorative arts were shunned in the Jackson household in favour of academia, so I’d probably have to get someone in.’
He frowned. ‘You’re missing my point.’
‘No, I’m not. I understand perfectly well what you mean. You needn’t worry. I’m not going to get all clingy and needy. The last thing I need at this stage in my career is anything serious or heavy.’ She shot him a smouldering smile. ‘But the hot sex is kind of nice.’
‘Nice?’ he murmured. ‘I must be out of practice.’
Yeah right. ‘I guess you have it a lot,’ she said lightly. ‘What with being an international playboy and things.’
‘Not as often as you might imagine. And don’t tell anyone, but I’m not much of a playboy either.’
A kick of something resembling delirious relief punched her in the stomach and alarm bells rang in her ears. Oh, if she wasn’t careful she could find herself careering down such a slippery slope.
‘Ever been in love?’
‘OK, OK,’ she said, grinning. Neither had she, and frankly the idea of being at the mercy of rampaging emotions made her feel sick just thinking about it. ‘So all those photos… all that arm candy…?’
‘Just arm candy.’ He paused and lifted an eyebrow. ‘Is there anything else you’d like to know?’
Everything, she thought, feeling unaccountably pleased at his answer. She wanted to know everything about him. But not right now… ‘About that hot sex,’ she said, throwing him a coquettish smile. ‘Any chance of some more?’
Alex listened to the soft sound of Phoebe’s breathing as she dozed. Her head lay on his chest, and her arm was flung across his stomach. Sleep, however, eluded him completely. He’d never felt more awake or more alert.
The way Phoebe had responded to him over and over again astounded him. Once she’d had her eyes opened, she’d been insatiable. And he’d been more than willing to help her make up for lost time. But if he wasn’t careful this could get way out of hand. By now, he’d have expected the itch to have gone away. That after the night they’d just had, desire would have faded. But it hadn’t. Quite the opposite. Even now, he could feel himself stirring again.
What was it about her? He stared down at Phoebe’s face and felt a weight shift in his chest. Something bordering on panic gripped his insides and he suddenly felt an odd desperation to escape. He gently lifted her arm and eased himself from beneath her.
Phoebe stirred and made a little sound of protest. ‘Where are you going?’ she said sleepily.