Ultimatum: Marriage(8)

By: Ann Major


His anger crackled between them. “People distrust me now. Whatever I think about who’s to blame, I need to get back to the office. So, what do you say we cut to the chase? Why are you here?”

“You have an incredibly smart secretary.”

“What the hell does she have to do with anything?”

“I think I’m pregnant.”

He looked so dumbstruck, she truly felt sorry for him.

“What? No way!”





Three





His legs spread apart, Jake towered over Alicia as she silently hunched lower at his kitchen table. “Would you kindly repeat that.”

“You heard me.”“Did you say you think…you’re pregnant. You don’t know? Why would you come here before you were sure?”

His glowering made her squirm uneasily. “I took four pregnancy tests, and they were all positive. I can’t eat. And I fainted, didn’t I? I’ve been nauseated the last two mornings. My period’s late. I could go on with the symptoms. Did I tell you I really like pickles right now? What do you think all that adds up to?”

A sledgehammer was pounding in his brain.

“Plus, because of you the feds kicked me out of my apartment, and I have nowhere to stay.”

“Have you had your condition confirmed by a doctor?” he asked.

She grabbed another sliver of apple. Shaking her head, she bit into it. “Not yet, but the way things have been going, I’d bet my miserable life that we’re probably pregnant.”

“We…”

“We!”

“Okay, but you could still be wrong about…us.” He looked sick to be using the plural pronoun.

“Right…. Four pregnancy tests can definitely be wrong on planet Earth. Anything in our magical realm is possible,” she said dully.

“Could be a bad batch.”

Shaking her head at him, she decided to try the white cheese he’d put out. In between bouts of nausea, she had a voracious appetite. What she really wanted was a dill pickle. Not that she was about to ask for one.

His face was hard and set as he watched her. “And you’re sure that if you are…”

Beneath his critical gaze, she lost her craving as a strange panic welled up inside her. She’d told him she couldn’t eat with him staring at her like that, but his mood was so bitter she thought maybe now wasn’t a good time to nag, so she laid the piece of cheese back on the platter.

“What? What is it? Why are you scowling at me like that?” she said. “What have I done now?”

He took a deep, worried breath.

“What?” she demanded.

“Sorry I have to ask this. Are you absolutely sure that…if you’re right…about you being pregnant…that I’m…that I’m the father?”

Vertigo made his granite countertops whirl round and round. His darkly handsome face blurred sickeningly.

“You moralistic jerk!” Fury consuming her, she sprang out of the chair and lunged at him. “Am I sure? Damn right I’m sure!”

He caught her wrist in midair and used it to swing her against the long length of his muscular body. Her full breasts slid against his ripped torso. In an effort to catch herself, she grabbed his lean waist. Then she fought to launch herself free of him. He used the leverage to pull her closer.

“Calm down. I just had to be sure.”

“I’m totally positive,” she yelled, kicking at him even as she pushed at his chest. “I told you that you’re the only man I’ve…. I’ve slept with…in months.”

His eyes had taken on the polar chill of blue ice chips. “What about my brother?”

Fury suffused her.

“Your father said you were going to marry him,” Jake persisted.

“My father made that up. Logan and I dated, but our relationship didn’t work on any level other than friendship. Not that my lack of a sex life is any of your business!”

“Maybe I disagree. After all, you claim I’m the father of your child.”

“If I’m pregnant, so are you! Not that I would choose you!”

“Nor I you!”

“Believe me, I…I wish it was somebody else’s! Somebody I met in a bar would be nicer! So let me go!”

“Are you going to try to hit me again if I do?”

“After what you just said, you deserve a bullet…you know where. But no, since I’m a lady.”

“You could have fooled me.” Releasing her, he watched her warily.

She backed a few steps away from him and rubbed her wrist.

“Okay,” he said. “I’m sorry to upset you, but I had to know. I used condoms, if you’ll remember. Lots of them. I took precautions.”

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