Lauren's Designs

Lauren's Designs by Elizabeth Chater

Book: Lauren's Designs by Elizabeth Chater Read Free Book Online
Authors: Elizabeth Chater
against her flesh. “I have never known a woman who was so ardent, so able to love me and accept my lovemaking.” He stroked her breast, then tantalized that tender flesh with sweet butterfly kisses.
    Al had always turned away and gone to sleep as soon as he had satisfied himself, Lauren remembered. Never once had he shared his feelings, told her that he valued their lovemaking.
    Seeing the lost look on her face, Mike gathered her closer to his body. His voice was uneven. “I didn’t know it could be so . . .” He broke off with a groan. “I adore you.”
    Suddenly shy of this great sleek tiger, warm and virile against her body, Lauren drew away a little. “What time is it? I’d better go back to my stateroom now.”
    As she moved to get up, he caught her to him. “I won’t let you go creeping back to your cabin in the middle of the night.”
    “Better than having half the crew see me returning in the daylight wearing an evening gown,” Lauren said ruefully. “I’m not very skilled at intrigue.”
    Mike sat up quickly. “Intrigue? Is that what you call it? Madam, I shall not permit you to beat a clandestine retreat from my bedroom.”
    Lauren stared at the magnificent virility of him and felt her treacherous heart melt. If he really wished her to stay . . . It did seem a flat ending, a commonplace dawn, after a night of such joy.
    “I can’t stay here indefinitely,” she protested, too weakly.
    “Why not?” demanded Mike, the indulgent conqueror. “We can send for your toothbrush and you don’t need a nightgown.”
    “Be serious,” she begged with a laugh.
    “Be yourself,” he advised her coolly. “Lauren Rose, the designer of September Song, design something! Make yourself a bathing suit out of a sheet or something, and come for a swim with me. After that, you can return to your cabin with perfect propriety.”
    It was easy to see he was accustomed to getting his own way with women. That idea introduced a host of disturbing pictures of Mike with a succession of beauties, taking them to swim in his spacious pool in his own home. Still, she refused to let jealousy spoil the wonderful experience they had shared. Go swimming? Make herself a suit? Why not? She began to smile. Her eyes sparkled.
    “Have you got a pair of scissors?” she asked.
    “I believe there’s a sewing kit in the guest bathroom. Cunard thinks of everything.”
    Lauren was already in the bathroom. Her voice rang out, pleased and interested. “There are several extra towels and bath sheets. September Song is about to launch a terry-cloth trend.”
    Half an hour later, Lauren paraded into the sitting room and struck a pose. Mike, lounging in his trunks and robe, rose to applaud.
    “You’d never get away with any place but the Riviera or Black’s Beach, but I think you look terrific. In fact, it gives me an idea—” He began a mock-predatory advance.
    Lauren dodged past him, laughing. Her costume was fetching, but too fragile for a struggle. Two facecloths and two hand towels in rust, stitched together, paid token service to modesty. Lauren had also cut a T-slit in a rust-colored bath sheet, which she now donned as a poncho.
    “On to the pool,” she commanded. “Before half the ship is awake to review my latest design.”
    “You know that gorgeous creation you were wearing last night?”
    “You mean the gown you removed so cavalierly?”
    “I was careful,” Mike protested. “I’ll wrap it in a clothes bag and return it to your stateroom before dinner tonight, which, by the way, you will have with me.”
    “It’s Carlos de Sevile’s showing,” Lauren said, at once sober as she contemplated the challenge. “I must attend.”
    “We’ll eat here afterward,” Mike said firmly. “I’m going to take you to the show. I can’t let you go unguarded among the wolves.”

 
    Chapter Four
     
    When she returned to her cabin, much refreshed after her swim, she found both Dani and Nella still sleeping. So much for her

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