Secret Son, Convenient Wife

By: Maxine Sullivan

“You Won’t Need To Worry About That In Future.”


Her breath stalled. “What do you mean?”

“We’re getting married.”

“Married?” She heard the words and thought she might faint. The minute he’d learned about their child, she’d thought it might come to this, but hearing it out loud hit her hard.

And yet…if she had her son, she had everything that mattered. “So you’re not going to try and take Nathan from me?” she said weakly.

“No.” He paused. “Of course, if you don’t marry me, I’ll fight for custody. A child should have both parents. Even if we don’t love each other.”





One

Gemma Watkins stopped dead as she stepped outside the hospital waiting room. A tall man was striding toward her along the corridor. His broad shoulders, his purposeful walk, reminded her of…

Please God, not Tate Chandler!

In that instant he saw her. His footsteps faltered just a hint, then increased pace until he reached her. “Gemma,” he rasped.

His voice traveled under her skin like a shiver of apprehension. This was the man who’d once been her lover. The man she’d once fallen in love with. The man who’d cut out her heart almost two years ago.

She couldn’t believe it was him. Tate Chandler was an Australian who’d taken his family’s luxury watchmaking business to new levels and high international standing. He was a man suited to his surroundings, whether it was here in this large hospital close to the city, his well-appointed headquarters on the most prestigious street in Melbourne or his luxurious penthouse in one of the city’s most affluent suburbs. He was a billionaire with a powerful presence that went beyond his supreme good looks. He had the golden touch…and his touch was golden. She knew that firsthand.

Gemma swallowed the panic in her throat. “Hello, Tate.”

His blue eyes flicked over her blond hair tumbling to her shoulders, to the flush of her cheeks, as if he couldn’t quite help himself, then as quickly his eyes narrowed. “I hope your being here is merely a coincidence.”

It took a moment to actually absorb the words. Her brows drew together. “I’m not sure what you mean.”

Skepticism crossed his face. “My family dedicated the new children’s wing in my grandfather’s name today. Surely you saw mention of it? It’s been in all the media.”

“No, I didn’t.” She’d been too busy working and trying to keep her head above water. “So your grandfather’s…dead?”

“Three months ago.”

“I’m sorry.” Tate had been very close to him. “But you can’t think I came here today to see you. I could see you anytime I like.”

His lips twisted. “You think so?”

Her heart constricted. He hadn’t forgiven her for what he saw as her betrayal. Had she expected he would?

And that brought her back to why she was at the hospital today. What bad luck that she’d decided just now to look for the nurse from the recovery room. She supposed she could be grateful that the rest of his family didn’t appear to be anywhere in sight. “Well, I must—”

“What are you doing here then?”

She saw not one ounce of kindness in his eyes. “I’m with a…friend.”

“Male?”

“Er…yes.”

“Of course it’s a male,” he mocked. “Nothing’s changed there, has it?”

Her hesitation made her look guilty, but he couldn’t know it wasn’t for the reason he thought. Realizing this was her “out,” she lifted her chin. “This has nothing to do with you, Tate. Goodbye.” She went to move past him, but he put his hand on her arm, stopping her.


“Does the poor sucker know he’s one of many?”

“I—”

“You what? Don’t care? Believe me, I know that more than anyone.”

The words stung. She’d willingly given herself to Tate the day she’d met him at a party held by her architect boss. At the time, she’d wished she hadn’t given away her virginity years ago to a boyfriend in high school. She’d fallen instantly in love with Tate and had known then what her mother had meant when she’d advised Gemma to keep herself for the man she loved. Gemma would have been proud for Tate to have been her first.

She could only thank the Lord now that she hadn’t told Tate she loved him. Somehow she’d kept that secret to herself and had managed to keep some of her pride intact when he’d turned his back on her after a month-long affair. During their short weeks together, they’d barely left Tate’s penthouse apartment. His best friend had been the only one to know about their relationship.

The memory of it all made her shudder. Their unexpected reunion   today was so unfair, yet she couldn’t tell Tate the truth. Not now. He might decide to—

“Oh, there you are, Gemma.” A female voice a few feet away from them made Gemma suck in a quick, sharp breath. She turned to look at the nurse from the recovery room. Oh, God, she’d almost forgotten.

“He’s fine, love,” Deirdre said before Gemma could ask. “And out of recovery now.”

“Thank God!” Gemma forgot about Tate as intense relief washed over her. They’d said it would be a minor operation, but there were always risks with these things.

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