Sinners' Opera by Linda Nightingale
Wood scraped on brick. Her head whipped left, and her heart did a double somersault and nosedive. The star of the show stood at the head of the table, his mischievous grin and sparkling blue eyes for Isabeau alone.
“How ‘bout them apples?” Kirsty murmured.
“Good evening.” His voice was an angel’s voice.
Heat flooded her cheeks. “Good evening.”
The velvet ribbon had disappeared. Sleek blond hair flowed to his shoulders. The man was regal, sophisticated and handsome enough to stop a heart. Charisma to the nth degree. A flustered Isabeau smiled, felt she should curtsey.
Kirsty waved a hand at him. “Please sit down, Morgan. Sorry we’re late.”
He inclined his head as elegantly as he’d bowed on stage. Through thick lashes, his eyes held Isabeau prisoner. “I’m accustomed to rise when a lady comes to table.”
The other men shot to their feet. His Lordship had reminded them to be gentlemen. A few of the women glared at their escorts. Some, like Isabeau, couldn’t surrender the vision at the head of the table. How delightful to see Old World elegance teaching colonial gentry a lesson in proper etiquette!
“Ladies.” The pianist shook back his hair, indicated their chairs with a graceful hand.
The bottom lip of Isabeau’s smile trembled. What was wrong with her? He was only a man—a man with glorious hair, enchanting eyes and a body to make a grown woman weep. And he played the piano as if he had sold his soul to the devil. In self-defense, a moment to breathe, she glanced at his hands. The epitome of composure was twisting his napkin.
He waited until they’d taken their seats and resumed his. With another of those Gabriel gestures, he flicked the creased napkin across his lap.
The woman seated to his right traced his cuff with a crimson nail. A smile tugged at the corners of his luscious mouth, but his gaze didn’t waver from Isabeau’s. Heat flooded her body. Desire sizzled eye-to-eye. I’m going to burst into flame. Damn his arrogant hide, everyone was staring at her. One woman craned her neck to see who’d captured His Lordship’s interest.
Isabeau’s head gave a drunken spin. Bright spots sparkled in her peripheral vision. Her focus narrowed to Gabriel’s blue eyes. She tried to peel her gaze from his but failed. Morgan’s eyelids flickered. He glanced down, his lashes curled on his cheek. Isabeau felt a silent snap as he broke eye contact, and her thoughts cleared.
The pianist turned to the woman clawing for his attention. The dark-haired beauty leaned near him, her boobs threatening to spill from her low-cut bodice. He twirled his wine glass, gazing at her as if he hung on every word. No doubt about it, D’Arcy was one of those men born knowing how to please a woman. The brunette looked like she was ready to strip off her Versace gown, kick off her Gucci shoes and do him on the table. Would those Gucci’s be tucked under his Lordship’s bed tonight? Isabeau lost her appetite.
Make mine jealousy lite. I’m counting emotional calories.
Stupid thought. She had no right, or reason, to be jealous of a man she didn’t know. He probably turned down more sex than most men dreamed of. She was engaged and intent on her career. With a sharp flick of her wrist, she unfolded the crown of a napkin and glared at the salad plate. A single red tomato topped spring greens and romaine.
“That green blush to your cheeks is very becoming.” Her friend elbowed her. “The renowned British pianist is watching you while that rabid bitch tries in vain to capture his attention. Let’s talk about pianos. Maybe he’ll come talk to us. The program said he played—”
“Don’t, Kirsty Ann.” Isabeau tensed, embarrassment blushing her cheeks.
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