There was just a touch of rose in her cheeks as he returned to hand her the glass of deep ruby red. His fingers brushed hers as she accepted the glass and sent a tingling sensation up her arm.
‘To you, mademoiselle,’ he said, softly, raising his own glass. ‘And to rivers that flood!’
He felt, rather than saw Pratt’s eyes boring into the spot between his shoulder blades and frowned inwardly. The man had an overwhelming personality, a voice decibels louder than normal and a belligerently challenging way about him, but it was the undercurrents that he misliked.
Over the rim of her glass, Shanna met the intent, silver lance of Marco’s eyes. They seemed to penetrate to her very soul. Remembering her earlier objection to his staring, she rapidly revised her opinion, acknowledging ruefully that she liked it. Reading deep appreciation in their depths, she felt profoundly feminine.
He took a seat beside her, his knee just short of hers. She had to concentrate not to move and inadvertently brush against it.
‘Be careful what you wish for,’ she responded, lightly. ‘It may be a good week before you can leave.’
‘What’s that you say?’ Pratt broke off his conversation with Pierre to interrupt.
Despite his impatience with small talk, he couldn’t bear to be left out of anything. It was not the only aspect of his character that irritated her but tonight she found it more than usually annoying.
‘Siphiwe says it’s been raining heavily up North. He doesn’t think the rivers will subside until the end of the week,’ Shanna replied, evenly.
‘I suppose no-one thought to post guards at the crossings!’
‘I sent Dlamini a message when Kevin and Trevor left.’
He grunted and turned back to Pierre.
Marco observed the bull-headed giant, the red, bulbous nose and jutting jaw above the short, thick neck and barrel chest. The underlying belligerence issuing from the thin, elongated mouth and the loud voice seemed incongruous in the spacious, elegantly furnished room with the two small, softly feminine women. Emphasising the contrast, the women had changed for dinner whereas he was still wearing the khaki shorts and shirt of the day.