Chapter 7 Has Jealousy Reared Its Ugly Head?

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Miranda dropped onto the long sofa in her living room as soon as she entered her condo. She was pleasurably exhausted, still a little buzzed from all the wine she'd drunk but more than anything else she was disappointed.

Luc had given her a wonderful afternoon of incredible sex and treated her with delicate care. But to say he was the perfect lover would be stretching things a little. And worst of all, the pearl he had showed her was not hers. She'd wanted to cry when he lifted it from the safe to put into her hand. It was a gorgeous pearl, set almost identically to the one Raoul had taken but it wasn't hers. The size and color were just that little bit off.

The message light on her answering machine was blinking. Pushing herself off the couch with great effort, she depressed the button to hear what was recorded.

Leslie. "How about calling me with news of your great adventure? Was he the one? Was the pearl yours?"

Her broker. "We need to discuss your investment strategy, Miranda. I think we can make more money for you."

Great. Just what I need.

B.J. "Where the hell are you? I thought you'd be back hours ago. Was it the right pearl? Call me."

Where the hell are you? What are you, my keeper?

She dragged herself into the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge, swallowing almost half of it while she leaned against the counter. What she really wanted was to fall into bed and sleep for a week. Luc may not have been the perfect lover but he was an exhausting one. However, she needed to let B.J. know they'd struck out and get him on the trail again. Then she could collapse.

"How the hell long does it take to eat lunch and look at a piece of jewelry?" he barked when he heard her voice.

"Longer than five minutes," she snapped.

"So how was lunch? Did you fuck him?"

Miranda was so startled she almost dropped the phone. B.J. never asked her questions about her sex life. They both knew how she lived and by mutual agreement they ignored it.

"I wasn't aware it was any of your business."

She heard him exhale a long breath. "You're right. I'm sorry. I apologize. I just..."

She frowned. "Just what?"

"Worry about you, that's all. You go off to strange places with strange men. God only knows what could happen to you."

"Why, B.J.," she couldn't help laughing, "I didn't know you cared."

"I just don't want to lose a valuable client," he told her. "So. Did you get the pearl?"

"No." She rubbed the cold water bottle against her forehead. "Close but no cigar."

"Well, then." The line hummed with silence. "Shall I get back on it?"

"Yes, please. Right away if you can."

"All right, then. I'll get back on it tonight."

"What, no hot date?" she teased.

"I'm just waiting for you, darlin'," he teased.

"Yeah, right," she snorted. "Should I call you in the morning?"

"Why not come by and we'll have coffee. My sources are pretty active so I might have something by then. Ten o'clock?"

If my body's back together by then.

"Ten is fine. I'll bring the chocolate croissants."

When she'd hung up she finished the bottle of water and threw the empty container in the recycling basket. She had no appetite for dinner, opting instead for a cup of chai tea and climbing into bed in a silk nightshirt. But as she lay back against the thick pile of pillows sipping the hot liquid, her conversation with B.J. played back in her head.

What on earth had that all been about? If she didn't know better she'd have thought he was jealous. No, not B.J. The biggest ladies' man in five states. Not once had he even made a suggestive remark or gesture. So where was this coming from?

And how should she act when she saw him?

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