"Hold me," she said. "Hold me, and don't ever stop."
"If there are ninety-nine ways to get together,Just how long can you hope to keep an affair with an international rock star a secret?
There's a hundred ways to break up."
She'd been staring at her hands, clasped in his, but now she looked up at him. "Hold me," she said. "Hold me, and don't ever stop."
"It works, you know. Those shades really disguise you. You could pass almost anywhere unrecognized in those."
Emily loved that about him. The layer of innocence and naivety that undercut the worldly rock-star cool. The fact that she could say almost anything and his starting point was always to believe her. That said a lot about someone, and not just that he was a sucker for bad jokes at his expense.
She raised an eyebrow, and he got it. She was joking. The Ray-bans, the scuffed leather jacket and black jeans... there was no disguising that this was Ray Sandler standing before her, former frontman of the Angry Cans. Those Ray-bans could never disguise a face that had featured on the cover of almost every glossy magazine in the world, particularly when he'd often been wearing shades in the photographs.
He stood, slightly awkward, under a verandah draped with flowering clematis. I'll get the car to pick you up at the station and drop you round at L'Auberge's back entrance, he'd said. I'll meet you there. We'll be discreet.
Someone like Ray Sandler could never really do discreet. Not like Emily Rivers could: her whole life consisted of doing discreet.
Up until now, at least.
She took the initiative, stepped forward, put a hand to his chest and tipped her head up. Even now, a stab of insecurity stole over her: what if he didn't dip his head forward to meet her kiss? What if she'd got it wrong?
He dipped his head.
His lips were firm, the contact brief, but with an impact that lingered. He kisses like chili. An utterly random thought, but it was the first analogy that came to mind: the way his touch lingered, the afterburn.
He was studying her, smiling.
Still so many pinch-me moments: she knew by now that this was more than just a groupie thing, or a casual fling, but still – this was Ray Sandler! She could still close her eyes and see those Angry Cans posters on her bedroom wall, from when she was a teenager.
"Shall we go in?"
He was still smiling. Smug bastard.
She peered towards the restaurant in what she hoped was a vaguely dismissive way. "I guess," she said, and allowed him to take place his hand on the small of her back and guide her inside.
//end of extract//