Her Pregnancy SecretBy: Ann Major
“Bree,” he murmured. Careful not to hurt her, his arms closed around her. “It’s going to be okay.”
“You don’t know, so how can you say that?”
“Time has a way—” He broke off, unable to repeat the usual trite phrases people offered one another for comfort.
Strangely, holding her seemed to be enough. Never had he felt more powerfully connected to another human being as her tears rained down his cheek.
After a long time she said, “Tell my mother and Marcie...about Will. Please...” Her voice was choked. “I just can’t.”
“Anything,” he murmured as he let her go. “I’ll do anything you want.”
“Really? Excuse me if I find it hard to believe that the man with no heart is now willing to do anything for me.”
“You’re pregnant with Will’s child, and he’s gone. Everything’s different between us now.”
“Yes. Will’s child,” she repeated softly.
“There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for Will’s baby, and, therefore, for you.”
The pain meds must have made her daft. Why else would she have agreed to spend the night—no, seven nights—at Will’s loft with Michael?
Because your Victorian brownstone has stairs—three tall flights of them—and no elevator, remember?
The fact that her building had no elevator had never been a problem before. Okay, so she didn’t like elevators or any small, boxy room. With her history, who would?
When she’d been a kid, an older cousin had locked her in a closet and left her there while he’d gone out to play. She’d been hysterical by the time her mother, who’d been busy in the kitchen downstairs, had found her. Every time the doors of an elevator closed Bree remembered Jeremy’s gloating smile right before he’d shut the door and turned out the light.
Bree chewed a nail as Michael jammed the key into the door of Will’s loft apartment in the Village. Maybe if she deliberately goaded Michael, he’d decide looking after her wasn’t worth it.
“I can’t believe, that as frequently as you saw your brother, you’ve never been inside his place before now,” she said.
Michael’s mouth tightened. “What do you know about it?”
She smiled. “Oh—did I hit a nerve?”
“He used to have me to his place on the Upper East Side all the time,” Michael snapped, “but for some reason he didn’t want me dropping by anymore when he moved here. Usually we met at my penthouse or somewhere in the city. I did stop by a couple of times, but he was either just going out or his roommate was home and they were busy. I didn’t understand why he needed a roommate when he could have easily afforded to live alone. When I asked him about it, he said the guy was a good friend who needed a place to stay.”
“R-right,” she said uneasily, deciding to back up Will’s lie. “He...he was still living here when we married.”
“Must have been crowded, you two being newlyweds and all.”
She didn’t like his tone but refused to comment.
When Michael finished unlocking the door, he caught her elbow to usher her inside.
Startled by the fire in even that brief touch, Bree jumped back. How could she feel anything for a man who’d used her and had lied to her? He was the last person she wanted helping her. But he was Will’s brother.
“This really isn’t necessary,” she said, hoping she didn’t sound as nervous as she felt. “You don’t want to be stuck with me any more than I want you here. Why don’t you make it easy on us both and just leave?”
“I’m staying,” he said in a tone that was raw and intense. “You can fight about it. Or you can make the best of it. Your choice.”
The carved lines of his face looked powerful and strong—implacable. She was much too weak, exhausted and woozy from the pain meds to fight him. When he nudged her inside, she let him.
“Whoa!” Michael said, obviously taken aback by the dramatic design of the apartment and its furnishings. “This is truly amazing, totally different than his other place. I didn’t know Will had something like this in him.”
There’s a lot you didn’t know about him.
Strangely, the thought made her feel sorry for Michael.
Tony, who was a top designer and world-famous in certain circles, had put the apartment together. Not Will. The airy rooms with their skylights and soaring ceilings, and dramatic art collection and colorful, minimalistic furnishings screamed Tony.
Not Will, and not her. It wouldn’t be long before Michael picked up on the fact that she hadn’t really lived here.
Maybe there was a piece of paper from city hall that said she and Will were married, but there was very little of her here. A chipped coffee mug or two, a pair of her jeans and panties and a favorite sweater with a cat on it in the single drawer Will had emptied for her.
She’d slept on their couch for a couple of weeks wondering how she’d ever forget Michael and get clear of the mess she’d made of her life because of him. The only two things she’d been sure about were that she wanted her baby and she wanted to get Z’s bistro back on its financial feet. Will had promised to help in every way he could, both personally and financially.
“I really think I’ll be fine on my own here.”
“Hey, we’ve been over that. You heard what the doctor said,” Michael murmured in the same gentle, mesmerizing tone he’d used to seduce her. “You’re pregnant. You have a nasty bump on the head. Your blood pressure is a little low, and you shouldn’t be alone for the next week.”
He almost sounded concerned.
Reminding herself that he didn’t care about her, she also reminded herself that she was okay with that. She refused to care about anybody as cold and unfeeling as him. She stepped farther inside, only to feel truly trapped when he slammed the door, stripped off his expensive jacket and flung it toward the sofa.
“I don’t want you here. You are the last person I want to be with tonight when I feel so utterly miserable.”
“Underline ditto,” she cried.
“But here we are—together.” Grimly, he bolted the various locks from the inside. “It might be dangerous for your baby, my niece or nephew, if I don’t stay. Like you said, your mother has cats, and you’re allergic to them.”
Why was he acting as though he cared?
“From what the papers have said lately, I’d think you’d surely have some gorgeous supermodel waiting in your bed to welcome you home from China,” she muttered, dragging her gaze from his wide shoulders.
After the fund-raiser when she’d been so dazzled by him, she’d researched him online. She’d been dismayed to learn about all the glamorous women he dated. After her one night with him, he’d gone right back to dating those women. How could she have thought he was interested in her that night? The eagerness she’d felt for him and the things she’d done in his bed still mortified her.
His jet brows winged upward in cynical surprise. “Jealous?”
Despite her grief and exhaustion, hot indignation that he’d hit a nerve flared inside her. “Only you, who are so arrogant and sure of yourself, would take it like that.”
“Yeah, only me—the number one ogre in your sweet, innocent life.” His grin was savagely ironic. “You didn’t answer my question, sweetheart. Are you jealous?”
“Don’t be insane! It’s just that I couldn’t help noticing an item or two about you and several models in the gossip columns. Did you go out with them to destroy them, too?”
When a muscle jerked in his jawline, she almost wondered if she’d hurt him. Then she remembered he didn’t have a heart.
After an ominous pause, he said, “There’s no supermodel...if you must know. Hell, there’s nobody waiting, which is pretty normal. So, tell me about you and Will. I was shocked when he told me you were married, especially after you’d told me you weren’t interested in him that way. How did it happen? And when?”