Her Pregnancy Secret(4)

By: Ann Major


What could he say to that? Despite the circumstances, he envied Bree for having such a mother. He hadn’t been so lucky.

When Michael went to his brother’s to warn him about Bree, Will refused to let Michael into his apartment.

“She already told me what you accused her of,” Will said, standing with the door half-closed to keep Michael in the hall. “I don’t know where she is, and frankly, I wouldn’t tell you if I did. You’ve overstepped the line.”

“She said you were seeing another woman? Are you?”

Will, who usually had an easy nature, scowled. “Right now, maybe you can guess why I don’t choose to discuss my personal life with you.”

Then he shut the door in Michael’s face.

Michael felt guilty and uneasy. What was Will hiding? Not only had Bree rejected him, she’d turned his brother against him. Will wouldn’t even confirm he was dating someone else, so did that mean he was still interested in Bree? If Will was involved with another woman, what the hell had Michael accomplished by bedding Bree other than becoming obsessed with her himself?

The odds were he was right about her character. Maybe she was gone, but what good was that if Will felt more protective of her than ever? Instead of turning his brother against her, all he’d done was make his brother angry with him.

Despite everything, Michael burned for her. No matter how hard he tried to bury himself in his work during the weeks that followed, no matter where he traveled or how many glamorous women he publicly dated in the attempt to prove to himself and to her how little she mattered, he couldn’t forget her.

Even when he left on what proved to be a month-long business trip to Shanghai to solve a crisis at one of his hotels, memories of her sweetness and outraged innocence lingered, haunting him.

The perfection of their night together drove him mad—especially after he learned that the same day he’d left New York, she’d returned to her bistro and had lunched with Will.

Had she deliberately remained hidden until he was gone? Was she that afraid of him?

What was her game? How could he stop her and save Will?





Two


Eight weeks later

Will has to be okay. He has to be.

As his heart beat in panic, Michael slammed through the heavy steel emergency-room doors with his dripping briefcase. When Pedro, his assistant who’d notified him about the accident, wasn’t at the entrance, Michael had rushed inside and hurried down a crowded hall that was a blur of nondescript floor tiles and pale green walls, beds, patients and visitors.

Michael had been trying to call Bree from his limo on the drive through thick rain from JFK airport into the city. When all he could get was her voice mail, he’d decided to stop by Chez Z on the way to his office to confront her again. He’d just pulled up at the curb outside the bistro when Pedro had called him to tell him Will had been in an accident.

“Where’s Will North?” Michael demanded of the nurses in dark scrubs at the nurses’ station. “I’m his brother. I got a call a while ago that he was in an accident and that he’d been brought here by EMTs.”

“North?” Nurses looked up from their papers and stilled. When they didn’t answer him, maybe because they had to choose their words carefully, he sensed the gravity of his brother’s condition.

Oh, God. It was bad.

“Where is he?” Michael demanded in a hoarse voice he didn’t recognize as his own. “What happened?”

Ask a tough question....

An older nurse with a kindly face gave him the bare facts.

A head-on collision in the heavy rain. Tony Ferrar, who was apparently his brother’s friend and the driver, died at the scene. The driver of the SUV that struck them, a twenty-four-year-old woman who’d possibly been drunk or texting, had flown across the median of the interstate and collided head-on with Will’s Mercedes. She’d died at the scene. Will had removed his seat belt and thrown himself in front of his wife. As a result he’d suffered back injuries, head injuries and multiple fractures. He needed immediate surgery.

The nurse’s words buzzed in Michael’s head.

“Wife?”

Was that what Will had wanted to tell him over lunch today? Had he married his secret girlfriend?

On some level Michael’s numbed brain faced the harsh reality of his brother’s injuries. On another, he refused to accept that his younger brother could be so seriously injured.

Not Will. Michael had called him from Shanghai last night. When Michael had asked him about Bree, Will had refused to discuss her.

“I have some big news. I’ll give you an update over lunch tomorrow,” was all he’d said.

“Can I see my brother...before his surgery?” Michael demanded of the nurse.

“Of course. But don’t say much or you’ll tire him.”

Only when he saw Will’s gray face washed of all color, and Will’s body shrunken and as still as death did the gravity of Will’s injuries finally hit Michael.

“Will. Can you hear me? It’s me. Michael,” he said gently.

Tubes hissed and gurgled. His brother, whose bruised face was swathed in bloodstained bandages, stirred faintly. His mouth quivered, and he seemed to struggle to focus on Michael’s face.

“Don’t talk,” Michael commanded.

“Have to... No time... You know, they’re wrong about your life passing before your eyes.” Will’s voice was so thready Michael had to lean close to his brother’s lips to hear it. “It’s the future you’ll never have...that matters.”

“Don’t waste your strength trying to talk. You’re young. You’re going to be okay. I swear it.”

“Not even you can fix this. But you can do one thing for me....”

“Anything.”

“Take care of Bree.”

“What?”

“Bree... She’s...my wife,” Will gasped.

“Bree? You married Bree?”

“She’s pregnant. No time to explain. We didn’t want to tell you like this. Just promise me...that you’ll take care of her and...the baby.”

“The baby?”

“She’s pregnant and hurt. I don’t know how badly. We were in the backseat. Tony was driving. Tony’s dead.... Tried...to save her...for you.”

“For me...”

“You care about her.”

Sweat broke out on Michael’s forehead. His hands opened and closed in fists as fury and concern for her and grief for his brother tore at him.

One thing was very clear. She’d lied about her relationship to Will. They had been involved. After she’d slept with Michael, she’d gone back to Will as easy as you please, gotten herself pregnant by him so he’d marry her. They’d kept it all a secret from Michael until he’d gotten back from Shanghai.

Will had been so dazzled by Bree he’d removed his own seat belt to protect her.

Then Michael remembered that Will would receive a million dollars from the North trust when he married, as well as a sizable increase in his allowance. He would receive even more once the child was born.

Had Will informed Bree about all those benefits? Probably.

Her treachery didn’t matter right now. Only Will mattered.

His brother’s glazed eyes read Michael like a book. “I know you don’t think you like her. And I knew you wouldn’t approve of our marriage, but she’s been through a rough time. She’s a wonderful girl. Not a gold digger like you think.”

Michael swore silently. His brother was so hopelessly naive.