Pregnant With The De Rossi Heir(9)

By: Maggie Cox


She frowned. ‘I wonder if I could pop out to get myself a sandwich? I didn’t eat breakfast this morning, and I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling rather hungry. Perhaps I could get you something too?’

He stared at her…really stared. As the silence in the room became almost deafening, Kate’s feet seemed rooted to the floor by his disconcerting examination.

‘Did you hear what I said?’ she asked, her throat tightening with tension.

‘My friend Hassan asked me if you were married,’ Luca drawled, his blue eyes once again travelling slowly and deliberately up and down her body.

Kate’s hunger pangs were instantly demolished. Instead, hunger of a very different kind clawed at her. His lascivious glance made her feel as if he was physically touching her, and it made her shiver with want. But then the full import of his question finally found its way to central control in her brain, and a sense of deep shock rippled through her.

‘Are you married, Katherine?’ Luca asked.

‘No! I’m not! And why should that be any concern of your client’s?’

‘You must have seen how he looked at you?’

‘I was busy taking the notes of the meeting!’

‘Anyway…it is not my friend’s interest in the answer that I am concerned with. It is my own. So, if you are not married, what about a boyfriend?’

‘I have none! Is that what you thought? That I was two-timing someone when I was with you?’

‘It did occur to me, not long after I woke up and found you gone, that perhaps too much champagne the night before at the party had made you—possibly a married woman—a little reckless, shall we say? That maybe you were just looking for a good time and when opportunity knocked…you took it. In the morning, discovering what you had done, you were perhaps overcome by guilt and regret and decided to flee before you incriminated yourself further…’

‘Well, you’re wrong! It was nothing like that at all!’

Feeling distressed at the idea that Luca had even considered that she had run out on him because she was married or involved with someone else, Kate crossed her bare arms over the silk bodice of her dress and despairingly tried to straighten her thoughts. How could he think such a thing? she asked herself. Had she imagined the bond they had shared? A bond that she’d firmly believed had transcended the merely physical?

‘Then how was it, Katherine? And this time perhaps you will do me the courtesy of telling me the truth of why you ran out on me that morning?’

The truth. How simple that sounded… And yet the reality was that it wasn’t simple at all. It was a terrible, never to be repeated, embarrassing…mess.





CHAPTER THREE



UP UNTIL just over six months earlier, Kate had been engaged to be married to Hayden Michaels, a successful, handsome broker she’d met at a temp job she’d been doing in the City. A ‘wunderkind’ of the company, he was a young man with great ambition who worked hard to get what he wanted but played hard too.

Kate hadn’t been bowled over by him at the start. On the contrary, her cautious nature had warned her against getting involved with a man who seemed to treat life as one big party and one huge opportunity to plunder the honey-pot for all it was worth. She’d been taught firm, solid values by her mother, who had raised her single-handedly, and Kate’s own secret, small ambition was that one day she would meet the man of her dreams, fall in love and have the family that she longed for. As an only child she had yearned for brothers and sisters, and had often felt lonely growing up. Being bullied at school hadn’t helped her sense of alienation. She’d always been only too aware of the struggle her mother had had to make ends meet, and so instead of going on to university when she’d got her A level results, she had opted to go to secretarial college for a year, get some qualifications, then go out to work to help alleviate some of her mother’s financial burdens.

Over the years she’d dated on and off, but had never found the partner she’d secretly been hoping for. When she’d met the handsome and fun-loving Hayden Michaels something about him had appealed to Kate, but she’d known instinctively he wasn’t the type of man who would want to settle down with a wife and family. Not whilst ambition was his driving force. She had decided to resist his appeal. Yet day after day, week after week, as Kate had worked alongside him in the office, his bold smile, perpetual good humour and unflagging determination to get her to go out with him had finally persuaded her to give him a chance. Her mother had passed away suddenly from a heart attack just two months before she’d met him, and Kate had been lonely. Even if mother and daughter had not shared the closest of relationships… As time had gone by she’d begun to see another side to her new boyfriend…a side that had warmed her heart much more than the expensive gifts, designer clothes and meals at Michelin-starred restaurants he’d insisted on treating her to. It had been a sensitive, perhaps vulnerable side, that had hinted at his fear of failure, of being judged not good enough by his peers and friends, of not being able to sustain any success he had achieved. Perhaps Kate’s ever-alert antennae had picked up on the very things that she herself had struggled with since those days at school when she had been taunted for being the poor girl in the class. The one whose mother hadn’t been able to afford to take her on foreign holidays or buy her trendy clothes and expensive dance classes like the other girls’ parents had.

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