His Scandalous Mistress: The Master's Mistress / Count Toussaint's Pregnant Mistress / Castellano's Mistress of Revenge - Кэрол Мортимер - CHAPTER THREE Читать онлайн любовный роман

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His Scandalous Mistress: The Master's Mistress / Count Toussaint's Pregnant Mistress / Castellano's Mistress of Revenge

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‘THIS is very kind of you,’ Rogan said as he sat beside Elizabeth as she drove her Mini Cooper into town.

Elizabeth briefly turned her attention from driving along the narrow coast road to shoot him a narrow-eyed glance.

Kindness on her part had nothing to do with the two of them being here together. How could it, when Rogan had more or less commandeered both Elizabeth and her car so that he might keep his appointment in town this morning with Desmond Taylor, his father’s lawyer?

Having flown into England late the previous night, and feeling tired after a long flight, it appeared that instead of hiring a car Rogan had simply got in a taxi and asked the driver to take him to Sullivan House. Consequently, he had no transport of his own.

As Elizabeth now worked for him—for the moment at least—Rogan had very generously given her permission to take a couple of hours off so that she could drive him into town!

‘Don’t push your luck,’ she warned him tersely.

He arched dark brows. ‘Is that what I’m doing?’

‘You know you are.’ Elizabeth’s only consolation in being coerced in this way was that her car was obviously too small for a broadly muscled man of well over six feet in height. It was extremely unlikely that Rogan was at all comfortable in the passenger seat! Although his close proximity—those muscled arms and long, powerful legs were only inches from her own—was a little disturbing, to say the least…

Rogan glanced out of the side window, down the cliffs to where the sea was currently lapping gently onto the golden sand. ‘I’d forgotten how ruggedly beautiful it is here… ’

‘I expect it’s a lot different from New York?’

‘Yes.’ Except Rogan wasn’t always in New York…

He didn’t really live anywhere on a permanent basis, was never in one place long enough to put down any roots. Anyone important who needed to get in contact with him urgently had his private mobile number. Anyone else could use the PO Box.

Including his father.

Rogan had no idea yet how he felt about his father’s death; he was still coming to terms with the finality of it. Dealing with emotions had never been Rogan’s strong point—especially when those emotions were so ambivalent.

Although he sensed that Elizabeth Brown disapproved of his reticence on the subject.

Well, she would just have to go on disapproving!

Rogan would deal with his father’s death in the same way he dealt with everything. Alone. He had been alone for so long now that he simply didn’t know how to be any other way. Didn’t want to know, either.

‘I shouldn’t be too long,’ he told Elizabeth once she had parked the Mini and he could at last uncurl his cramped body from inside the small confines of the car.

‘Take your time,’ she answered distractedly. ‘I have a little personal shopping to do anyway.’

‘Fine.’ He nodded. ‘I suggest we meet back under the clock-tower here in the square in an hour or so, and then find somewhere to have lunch.’

‘Lunch?’ Elizabeth echoed sharply, and she straightened so suddenly from locking the car that her head briefly swam.

‘Lunch,’ Rogan reiterated firmly. ‘We’re in town anyway, and it’ll be almost lunchtime, so why not?’

Why not? Because Elizabeth didn’t want to have lunch with this compelling and disturbing man. In fact, she was quickly coming to realise that she wanted as little to do with Rogan Sullivan as humanly possible!

Not an easy thing to do when for the moment, they were actually staying in the same house…

‘Okay, lunch in an hour,’ she conceded.

‘Or so,’ Rogan added.

‘Whatever.’ Elizabeth gave him one last impatient glance before turning away to walk determinedly towards the shops on the other side of the square.

‘Just make sure he stays put,’ Rogan snapped into his mobile as he strode restlessly up and down in front of the clock-tower, waiting for Elizabeth to rejoin him so they could have lunch together.

‘That’s easier said than done, Rogue—’

‘Just do it!’ Rogan growled, turning to pace back the other way and instantly finding himself face to face with a pale and wide-eyed Elizabeth Brown. ‘Later, Ace,’ he said curtly, before ending the call and dropping his mobile into the back pocket of the black denims he had changed into before coming out.

‘I—Did your meeting go well?’

Rogan gave a hard smile. ‘It would appear that I’m my father’s heir after all, if that’s what you’re asking.’

Colour heightened Elizabeth Brown’s cheeks. ‘It wasn’t.’

‘No?’ he jeered.

‘No.’ She frowned. ‘It’s really none of my business, is it?’

‘No, it isn’t,’ Rogan agreed. In truth, he was surprised—considering the state of their relationship the last fifteen years—that his father had decided to leave everything to him after all. But maybe Brad had considered a dogs’ home—which had probably been his only alternative—slightly less appealing than his own son! ‘Nevertheless, I’m sure you have an opinion on the subject!’

Elizabeth was having to force herself to concentrate on what Rogan was saying. Not easy after overhearing his end of the telephone conversation with someone called Ace!

Just make sure he stays put…

She frowned as she remembered the implacable tone of voice he’d used towards the other man. Rogan was obviously not a man it would be wise to cross!

Or be attracted to…

Unfortunately, Elizabeth suspected it was already too late to warn herself off being attracted to Rogan. Just looking at him sent shivers of awareness up and down her spine.

That over-long dark hair. Those dark and piercing eyes. The firm sensuality of his mouth. The lean sensitivity of his hands. The leashed power in that perfectly muscled body…

‘No doubt you have one of those perfect families?’ Rogan Sullivan continued scathingly. ‘Perfect mother. Perfect father. Perfect everything.’

He had no idea! Elizabeth’s family had to be even more dysfunctional than his own!

‘Come on, Liza—’

‘I believe I told you I prefer to be called Elizabeth!’ Her eyes flashed with sudden anger. Her father had always called her Liza, and she certainly wanted no reminders of him.

Rogan glanced at her, irritated with himself because of how attractive he found the way the colour came and went in her cheeks, and the way her eyes sparkled with emotion when she was angry or annoyed—


Elizabeth Brown wasn’t his type. At all. Rogan preferred his women to be tall, soft and feminine. Women who knew and accepted that a relationship with him had no future. He wanted nothing to do with a woman who was short and prickly, a university lecturer immersed up to her pretty neck in history, whose ideal was no doubt the house with the picket fence and two point four children!

All the same, Rogan couldn’t stop himself from flirting with her just a little, to see how uncomfortable—and beautiful—it made her. He deliberately took a step closer, crowding her. ‘Liza is so much more—friendly, don’t you think… ?’ he murmured huskily.

Those deep blue eyes narrowed to warning slits. ‘I have no wish to be friendly with a man who can speak to people like you just did on your phone,’ she said scornfully.

Rogan’s eyes widened. So Dr Elizabeth Brown had overheard part of his conversation with Ace, had she? And she’d obviously drawn her own conclusions from it too. No doubt helped along by an over-active imagination from reading too many vampire books!

Well, Rogan had ceased even trying to explain himself a long time ago—least of all to a woman as unbending as this one. ‘What can I say?’ He gave an unconcerned shrug. ‘Sometimes a little aggression is necessary when people won’t do as they’re told the first time.’

Elizabeth repressed a shudder of apprehension at the callousness of his tone. Her first impression of this man last night had been the correct one after all; he really was dangerous!

‘Don’t look so worried, Elizabeth,’ Rogan Sullivan murmured softly. ‘The only time I enjoy hearing a woman scream is in bed… ’

The erotic images that statement instantly conjured into Elizabeth’s head, of a lithe, bronzed and naked body entwined with a much paler and softer one, caused the colour to once again burn hotly in her cheeks.

She turned away. ‘Perhaps we should get back to Sullivan House after all.’

‘Running scared, Elizabeth?’

‘Of you?’ Her eyes glittered as she glared at him. ‘I hardly think so!’

‘You could have fooled me!’ Rogan gave her another one of those mocking smiles. ‘We’re only going to have lunch, Elizabeth, we’re not going out on a date together.’

She hadn’t imagined for one moment that their lunch together could be called a date. It was just a little disconcerting—more than a little, if she were brutally honest with herself—to think of spending time alone in a restaurant with a man who was so blatantly, breathtakingly male that just looking at him made even her teeth ache in awareness!

It was a raw attraction that was completely corroborated at that moment, as a woman passing by on the pavement happened to glance casually their way—only for her attention to suddenly become riveted on Rogan, a flush warming her cheeks as he shot her a lazy smile.

Rogan Sullivan wasn’t just dangerous—he was utterly lethal!

Elizabeth scowled. ‘I’m not hungry after all,’ she snapped. ‘It must be all that aggressive talk earlier on—you’re nothing but a bully!’ she added challengingly.

Rogan looked at her rigidly disapproving face and chose not to explain his firm orders to Ace about making sure Ricky stayed put—after all, Ricky didn’t know what was good for him.

‘Hasn’t affected my appetite,’ Rogan assured her blithely, giving her no more opportunity to disagree with him as he took a firm hold of her arm and strode forcefully towards the Bell and Sceptre Hotel, across the other side of the square.

‘So, what shall we talk about?’ Elizabeth said dryly to Rogan once they were seated at a table in the saloon bar of the hotel where he had decided they were having lunch.

He sat back against the bench seat, seemingly unaware of the interested female stares that had been coming his way ever since he had gone up to the crowded bar to order their food.

Including Elizabeth’s own more surreptitious glances!

Had she ever been this physically aware of a man before? Not that she could remember. But she was so aware of Rogan, on so many levels, that she felt she could see and hear practically nothing else but him. Her skin felt hotter than the temperature in the bar warranted. Her breasts were swollen, the nipples slightly tingly, and there was a telling dampness between her thighs that shocked her…

Ridiculous. From the little Elizabeth had overheard of his telephone conversation with someone called Ace, Rogan Sullivan was little more than a thug. No doubt his years in the army, the physical discipline he had learnt there, had made him as lethal as any of the weapons he had been trained to use.

As a woman who had always valued intellect rather than muscle, how could Elizabeth possibly find all that leashed physical power arousing? Except… she did! To such an extent that she could imagine nothing more pleasurable than ripping all that black clothing from Rogan’s bronzed and muscular body so that she might caress every powerful, rugged inch of him.

In fact, just thinking about doing those things increased the temperature of her own body to an almost unbearable degree!

Rogan gave a dismissive shrug. ‘Who says we have to talk at all? I came here for food, not conversation.

Elizabeth frowned even as she sat back to allow the barmaid to place their plates of food on the table. A young and pretty barmaid, who could no more take her eyes off Rogan Sullivan, as she laid out their knives and forks, than the woman in the square had a few minutes ago.

‘Thanks.’ Rogan gave the young girl the same lazy grin that had so enthralled the woman in the square earlier.

Elizabeth shot him a scathing glance as that grin once again caused a slightly flustered response, but in the young barmaid this time. Really, this man ought to come with a ‘danger’ label attached!

‘What?’he prompted irritably, once he and Elizabeth were alone again and he looked up to see her disgusted expression.

Elizabeth gave a slight shake of her head. ‘Just deploring my own gender for their obvious gullibility to a sexy smile!’

He raised speculative brows. ‘You think I have a sexy smile?’

She frowned her irritation. ‘I didn’t say that—’

‘Yeah, you did.’

Yes, she had, Elizabeth acknowledged with an inner groan. Damn the man! She sat forward to pick up her knife and fork in preparation for eating the chicken salad that was looking less and less appetising as this embarrassing conversation continued. ‘You probably practise in front of a mirror for hours just to get that effect,’ she said, in an effort to puncture his enormous ego.

Rogan gave an appreciative chuckle at her disgruntled accusation. ‘Not true. I had no idea my smile was at all sexy until you said it was.’

‘Could we just eat?’ Elizabeth snapped.

Rogan grinned unabashedly at her obvious discomfort. ‘If you think that you still can!’

Blue eyes shot sparks at him. ‘You aren’t my type, Mr Sullivan,’ she said waspishly.

‘Now, there’s a challenge if ever I heard one… ’ Rogan mused.

Her eyes widened in alarm. ‘It certainly wasn’t meant as one!’

‘Hmm… ’ Rogan speculated enigmatically, dark eyes narrowed. ‘So what is your usual type, Elizabeth?’ he asked, as he picked up his fork and began to eat the steak and ale pie he had ordered for his own lunch.

She avoided that probing gaze. ‘I thought you preferred not to talk?’

‘I’ve changed my mind.’

‘Unfortunately for you, so have I!’

‘Humour me, Elizabeth, hmm?’ he encouraged softly.

Elizabeth didn’t want to humour this man. In fact, she wished they had never started this conversation! Especially as she did find his smile sexy—as did every other woman who so much as looked at him!

Her chin rose defensively. ‘If you must know, I prefer brain over brawn.’

He became very still. Watchfully, dangerously so. ‘You think I’m just muscle and no brain?’

‘I didn’t say that—’

‘As good as,’ he bit out. ‘What constitutes an intelligent man to you, Elizabeth?’

She grimaced. ‘I didn’t mean to sound insulting—’

‘Oh, I think that you did,’ Rogan grated harshly. ‘Does a first-class degree in Computer Science and a doctorate in Computer Analysis pass as intelligent in your book?’

Elizabeth swallowed hard. ‘I thought you had been in the army for most of the last fifteen years.’

‘Where, if you’re so inclined, they teach you to use your brain as well as how to shoot guns!’ he assured her.

There was no mistaking the anger in Rogan’s tone now. And rightly so. Somehow in the last fifteen years this man had achieved a first-class degree and a doctorate, for goodness’ sake. Giving him the same right as Elizabeth to use the title of doctor if he so chose.

She gave an awkward grimace. ‘I apologise if I sounded rude. But—’

‘Let’s just leave it at the apology, hmm, Elizabeth?’ he advised in an off-hand manner. ‘Any more insults from you and I’m likely to lose my appetite!’

Elizabeth already had lost her appetite. Completely. And it wasn’t all due to the last verbal exchange with Rogan. Some of it was due to the fascination of watching the lean strength of his hands as he ate his meal with silent efficiency, as if he needed the fuel it would provide rather than obtaining any real enjoyment from the food itself.

This was a man totally beyond Elizabeth’s experience. An enigma, in fact. He looked rough, tough and quite frankly dangerous. But his degree and doctorate also proclaimed him to be a man of high intelligence. Something she should perhaps have realised before she insulted him…

She swallowed hard. ‘I really am sorry if I sounded less than polite just now, Mr Sullivan.’

So he was back to being ‘Mr Sullivan’, was he? Rogan mused cynically. ‘Don’t give it another thought, Elizabeth,’ he replied. ‘You obviously can’t help being insulting,’ he added challengingly.

Her cheeks coloured attractively, making her hair appear redder and spikier. ‘Now who’s being rude?’

Rogan chuckled softly. ‘It must be catching! Most people consider me something of a pussycat,’ he teased.

‘The lethal type that stalks in a jungle, perhaps?’ Elizabeth said dryly.

‘Perhaps,’ he dismissed evenly; until he’d left the military five years ago, she would have been closer than she realised!

‘So,’ she went on. ‘What is it you do, exactly, with your degree in Computer Science and your doctorate in Computer Analysis?’

‘Analyse… ?’

She gave a pained frown. ‘I’m trying to make polite conversation, Mr Sullivan; you might at least try to reciprocate!’


‘Because it’s what people do!’

‘Is it?’ Rogan murmured. ‘Perhaps if you were to start calling me Rogue instead of Mr Sullivan I might feel more inclined to reciprocate?’

She shifted uncomfortably. ‘I agreed to use the name Rogan.’

‘But not Rogue?’ he taunted.

‘No.’ She grimaced.

‘Fair enough.’ Rogan leant back against the bench seat to look across at her through narrowed lids. ‘You haven’t eaten very much.’ He frowned at her almost untouched plate.

‘I told you, I’m not hungry.’ She gave up any pretence of eating and pushed her plate away. ‘I forgot to ask earlier how your hand is today,’ she added politely.

‘Are you offering to kiss it better?’ Rogan responded mockingly, after glancing down at the already healing nick on the palm of his right hand. He had several scars on other parts of his body that would no doubt make this self-contained woman scream in horror at the thought of the violence behind them!

‘I’m not your mother, Rogan!’ Her eyes flashed with temper.

A temper Rogan was pretty sure this controlled woman was usually at pains to conceal. Interesting… ‘No, I can definitely vouch for that,’ he said dryly; the primly correct Elizabeth Brown was absolutely nothing like his gregarious Irish mother.

‘Are you like her?’ Elizabeth’s curiosity had obviously got the better of her.

Rogan’s mouth tightened. ‘In colouring, yes. But I don’t have her tolerance for the weakness of human nature. Or her belief in the ultimate good to be found in others,’Rogan added. ‘My father was a prime example of that particular myth!’

The frown deepened between Elizabeth’s eyes. ‘I found him an easy man to work for and get along with during the week I knew him… ’

‘Next you’ll be telling me he spoke lovingly of his wife and son!’ Rogan said in disbelief. ‘When in reality it must have been difficult to know Brad had even had a wife, let alone a son, when there isn’t a single family photograph in the house.’

Elizabeth wasn’t a woman for a lot of clutter herself, but even she had several photographs of her mother on show in her apartment in London. Something that was definitely noticeably lacking at Sullivan House…

‘My father had all the photographs removed and put away after my mother died,’ Rogan explained grimly, a nerve pulsing in his tightly clenched jaw.

Elizabeth’s face softened in sympathy. ‘Perhaps it was just too painful for him to see reminders of your mother around the house every day?’

‘Oh, yes, I’m sure that must have been very painful,’ Rogan bit out. ‘I’m not sure I would want a daily visual reminder of someone I’d killed, either!’

Someone he’d killed?

Was Rogan really saying that Brad Sullivan had killed his wife?


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