You’ll be trapped yet a while, I’m afraid. But what bad impression?’ Janice Pratt asked, surprised.

They’re having difficulty with the transition from dirty tractor driver to respectable daughter,’ Shanna explained, blandly.

Well, never mind that,’ Pratt said, with a forced laugh. A practical man, he was ill at ease with social chit-chat. His interests were firmly rooted in agriculture and he found small talk a waste of time. He especially did not like the attention the younger frog was paying his stepdaughter.

Marco glanced up and caught his stare. For long seconds the two males’ eyes met, then Marco’s brows lifted and Pratt turned away. ‘Now, about that contract, Pierre...‘ he continued.

I’m afraid that nothing outside of cotton and cattle will hold my husband’s attention for long,’ Janice Pratt remarked.

So let’s drink to the end of planting season and the success of the Mauritian deal,’ Shanna interposed, brightly, turning to Marco with an easy smile. ‘Perhaps you would pour us a glass of wine?’

Oh, please, God, don’t let Mum provoke him tonight, she prayed silently. He’s so clearly spoiling for it!

With pleasure, Mademoiselle, but it is Marco!’

Marco,’ she repeated, inclining her head.

He turned to the cocktail cabinet against the far wall and she studied him surreptitiously. He moved with a panther-like grace that bespoke peak physical condition and awakened something deep within her. In profile, long, fringed lashes framed the lively eyes. She watched as he poured and expertly twisted the bottle to catch the drip. He wore his hair brushed back in a James Dean style and his nose, larger and wider than normal, leant a slight ruggedness to his face that saved it from being impossibly perfect.

As if conscious of her perusal, sapphire eyes lifted and met hers across the room, the trace of a smile curving sensual lips.

Bedroom eyes, she thought, hastily lowering her own.

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