Ultimatum: Marriage(9)

By: Ann Major


“Oh, yeah, well, you didn’t take enough!”

He stared at her for a long moment. “I’m sorry,” he repeated. “If what you say is true, and you’re pregnant, and it’s mine, I’ll accept full responsibility for the child…and for you…despite who you are…which means our next step should be to see a doctor.”

“If what I say is true? If? You still don’t believe me?” Her eyes narrowed and her pulse sped up. “Well, it’s true! Despite who you are! I hate this….”

“So the hell do I, but it looks like we’re stuck with each other, at least until we get some sound medical advice.”

“I’m afraid a doctor will only confirm the worst!”

“Obviously, you believe that,” he said. “But I won’t believe it until I hear him say it.”

“Dr. Preston’s a she. When she does, then what?”

“We’ll handle it,” he muttered.

“Well, if you think you can make me stop this pregnancy…”

His black brows slashed together. It was his turn to hiss in a breath and gape at her. “You don’t know me at all if you think I’d destroy my child.”

His outrage was so intense, she knotted her hands and stood up taller.

“How could I know what you feel on the subject or on any subject, when for all practical purposes we’re strangers?” she whispered.

“Strangers, cher? You wish. I wish. Unfortunately, that’s the last thing we are. I’d say we’re intimately connected.”

“I shouldn’t have come. Look, I’ll figure out how to do this on my own. I have a friend in London who’s offered… Never mind! Forget I ever came here.”

“As if I could.”

She turned away from him and stared at his backyard, which looked overgrown and badly in need of pruning. She did so love working with plants. Oh, how could she think of gardening at a time like this?

Jake was silent and still for a long moment, but she imagined his eyes boring into her back. Then his breath sped up, and he spanned the distance that separated them.

“I don’t want you to go,” he said, planting his hands on her shoulders. “You were right to come here. We’ll figure this out…together.”

Before she knew what he was about, he’d pulled her tightly against him. Some part of her wanted to twist out of his grasp, but another wanted to relax into his hard warmth and strength, so she let him pull her closer. The times when someone had held her and comforted her in life had been so rare since her mother’s death, and that night with him had been wonderful.

Then the next day her father’s empire had crashed very publicly, and her father had told her that Jake had been one of the main whistle-blowers who’d brought him down.

“I am to blame for what happened that night,” Jake muttered against her throat, his voice deepening with needs that at first she did not understand. “I wanted you and you wanted me, too. I didn’t realize what your father had done until the next day.”

“No.”

She shut her eyes, but it was impossible to ignore how wonderful she felt in his arms. Only gradually did she grow aware that he had become aroused.

“Stop this!” she whispered, trying to pull away.

“God help me, I still want you,” he whispered, snugging her even closer. “You feel the same. Kiss me.”

His husky tone and his hot, male body molded so tightly against her with such ardent need triggered…something.

She knew she should fight him, but instead she twisted around, ever so slightly, just enough so that she could tilt her mouth up to his.

He claimed her lips, hesitantly at first, but soon took all she was willing to give as greedily as he had the night he’d made love to her. He kissed her long and hard, his tongue plunging between her lips. She gasped as an answering desire began to course through her blood.

The sash of his robe came loose, and he yanked the edges of the robe aside, cupping her breasts, tracing his thumbs across her nipples, which were tight and hard. Ripping his shirt out of his slacks, he pulled it up, so that when he dragged her even closer, her breasts were mashed against his bare chest.

Contact with the coarse hair of his torso made her nipples peak and her blood burn.

“Oh, no.” She felt crazy with unwanted needs. Against her will, she arched her body so that her legs and thighs fitted his. His skin grew so hot she felt as if she was being consumed in a roaring furnace.

He was right about her wanting him. Limp with desire, she felt meltingly alive caught in his hard, strong arms. His mouth was on hers again and it was as if their bodies spoke a language all their own. Everything about him was sensually delicious and made her feel starved for more.

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