A Wife for a Westmoreland(7)

By: Brenda Jackson

Pulling himself up in bed, he studied the underthings he held in his hand. Whose were they? Where had they come from? He sniffed the air. The feminine scent was not only in the panties but all over his bed as well. And the indention on the pillow beside him clearly indicated another head had been there.

Monumental panic set in. Who the hell had he made love to last night? Since now there was no doubt in his mind he’d made love to someone. All that pleasure hadn’t been a figment of his imagination, but the real thing. But who had been the woman?

He closed his eyes and tried to come up with a face and couldn’t. It had to have been someone he knew; otherwise, who would have come to his house and gotten into his bed? He had messed around with some pretty brazen women in his lifetime, but none would have dared.

Hell, evidently one had.

He opened his eyes and stared at the wall, trying to recall everything he could about yesterday and last night. He remembered the fall off Sugar Foot’s back; there was no way he could forget that. He even remembered Zane and Jason rushing him to the emergency room and how he’d gotten bandaged up and then sent home.

He definitely recalled how his brother and cousin kept saying over and over, “We told you so.” He remembered that after he’d gotten into bed, Megan had stopped by on her way to the hospital where she worked as an anesthesiologist.

He recalled when she’d given him his pain medicine with instructions of when to take it. The pain had come back sometime after dark and he’d taken some of the pills.

Hell, how much of the stuff had he taken? He distinctly recalled the E.R. physician’s warning that the painkillers were pretty potent stuff and had to be taken when instructed. So much for that.

Okay, so he had taken more pain medicine than he was supposed to. But still, what gave some woman the right to enter his home and take advantage of him? He thought of several women who it could have been; anyone who might have heard about his fall and decided to come over and play nursemaid. Only Ashira would have been bold enough to do that. Had he slept with her last night? Hell, he sure hoped not. She might try to pull something and he wasn’t in the market of being any baby’s daddy any time soon. Besides, what he’d shared with his mystery woman had been different from anything he’d ever shared with Ashira. It had been more profound with one hell of a lasting effect.

He then remembered something vital. The woman he’d slept with had been a virgin—although it was hard to believe he could remember that, he did. And it was pretty far-fetched to think there were still any of them around in this day and time. But there was no way in hell he could have imagined her innocent state even with a mind fuzzy with painkillers. And he knew for certain the woman could not have been Ashira since she didn’t have a virginal bone in her body. Besides, he had a steadfast rule to leave innocents alone.

Derringer sighed deeply and wished, for his peace of mind, that he could remember more in-depth details about last night, including the face of the woman whose virginity he had taken. The thought of that made him cringe inside because he knew for certain he hadn’t used a condom. Was last night a setup and the result would be a baby just waiting to be born nine months from now?

The thought of any woman taking advantage of him that way—or any way—made his blood boil. And anger began filling him to a degree he hadn’t known was possible. If the woman thought she had gotten the best of him she had another thought coming. She had not only trespassed on his private property, but she had invaded his privacy and taken advantage of him when he’d been in a weakened, incoherent state.

If he had to turn over every stone in Denver, he would find out the identity of the woman who’d had the nerve to pull one over on him. And when he found her, he would definitely make her pay for her little stunt.

“Lucia, are you all right?”

It was noon and Lucia was sitting behind the desk of her office at the Denver branch of Simply Irresistible, the magazine designed for today’s up-and-coming woman.

The magazine, Chloe’s brainchild, had started out as a regional publication in the Southeast a few years ago. When Chloe had made the decision to expand to the West and open a Denver office, she had hired Lucia to manage the Denver office.

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