Her Pregnancy Secret(7)

By: Ann Major


“Whoa!” Michael said, obviously taken aback by the dramatic design of the apartment and its furnishings. “This is truly amazing, totally different than his other place. I didn’t know Will had something like this in him.”

There’s a lot you didn’t know about him.

Strangely, the thought made her feel sorry for Michael.

Tony, who was a top designer and world-famous in certain circles, had put the apartment together. Not Will. The airy rooms with their skylights and soaring ceilings, and dramatic art collection and colorful, minimalistic furnishings screamed Tony.

Not Will, and not her. It wouldn’t be long before Michael picked up on the fact that she hadn’t really lived here.

Maybe there was a piece of paper from city hall that said she and Will were married, but there was very little of her here. A chipped coffee mug or two, a pair of her jeans and panties and a favorite sweater with a cat on it in the single drawer Will had emptied for her.

She’d slept on their couch for a couple of weeks wondering how she’d ever forget Michael and get clear of the mess she’d made of her life because of him. The only two things she’d been sure about were that she wanted her baby and she wanted to get Z’s bistro back on its financial feet. Will had promised to help in every way he could, both personally and financially.

“I really think I’ll be fine on my own here.”

“Hey, we’ve been over that. You heard what the doctor said,” Michael murmured in the same gentle, mesmerizing tone he’d used to seduce her. “You’re pregnant. You have a nasty bump on the head. Your blood pressure is a little low, and you shouldn’t be alone for the next week.”

He almost sounded concerned.

Reminding herself that he didn’t care about her, she also reminded herself that she was okay with that. She refused to care about anybody as cold and unfeeling as him. She stepped farther inside, only to feel truly trapped when he slammed the door, stripped off his expensive jacket and flung it toward the sofa.

“I don’t want you here. You are the last person I want to be with tonight when I feel so utterly miserable.”

“Understood. Ditto.”

“Underline ditto,” she cried.

“But here we are—together.” Grimly, he bolted the various locks from the inside. “It might be dangerous for your baby, my niece or nephew, if I don’t stay. Like you said, your mother has cats, and you’re allergic to them.”

Why was he acting as though he cared?

“From what the papers have said lately, I’d think you’d surely have some gorgeous supermodel waiting in your bed to welcome you home from China,” she muttered, dragging her gaze from his wide shoulders.

After the fund-raiser when she’d been so dazzled by him, she’d researched him online. She’d been dismayed to learn about all the glamorous women he dated. After her one night with him, he’d gone right back to dating those women. How could she have thought he was interested in her that night? The eagerness she’d felt for him and the things she’d done in his bed still mortified her.

His jet brows winged upward in cynical surprise. “Jealous?”

Despite her grief and exhaustion, hot indignation that he’d hit a nerve flared inside her. “Only you, who are so arrogant and sure of yourself, would take it like that.”

“Yeah, only me—the number one ogre in your sweet, innocent life.” His grin was savagely ironic. “You didn’t answer my question, sweetheart. Are you jealous?”

“Don’t be insane! It’s just that I couldn’t help noticing an item or two about you and several models in the gossip columns. Did you go out with them to destroy them, too?”

When a muscle jerked in his jawline, she almost wondered if she’d hurt him. Then she remembered he didn’t have a heart.

After an ominous pause, he said, “There’s no supermodel...if you must know. Hell, there’s nobody waiting, which is pretty normal. So, tell me about you and Will. I was shocked when he told me you were married, especially after you’d told me you weren’t interested in him that way. How did it happen? And when?”

She turned away to hide her eyes, lest she give something away. “He asked me. I said yes. Unlike you, he’s a really nice guy.”

“Which made him perfect prey for a woman like you.”

“You’re wrong. About him and me.” She stopped. There was no way she could defend herself without getting into deeper trouble.

“Forget it,” she said. “I don’t care what you think.”

But she did.

Frowning, Michael paced the length of Will’s dazzling white room with its grand piano and splashes of paintings and sculptures. He stopped abruptly to look at the photographs of Will and Tony on Tony’s piano.

Panic surged through her when he lifted one.

“Who’s the big guy in leather?”

She moved toward the shiny black piano. Not that she had to see the picture up close to know that it was Tony in his trademark black biker attire with rings in his ears. In the photograph, he and Will were toasting Johnny and her at a party at Chez Z. It had been only a few months ago, to celebrate the restaurant’s success. Will had been ecstatic to be part of a successful venture and to share his happiness with Tony.

Tears misted her eyes. How could so much change so fast? How could they both be gone?

“It’s Tony,” she said

“The driver? He was Will’s best friend who died at the scene? He was Will’s roommate, too?”

“And our best man,” she said.

And so much more.

Michael slowly set the picture back on the piano beside the others of Tony and Will with different friends. “Tell me again why you married Will.”

She backed away. “Do we have to talk about this?”

“You asked me about my love life.” A dangerous edge had crept into his soft voice. “Did you want him, my brother, as much as you wanted me?”

It made her sick to remember how much she’d wanted Michael; sick to think that even now he wasn’t entirely unattractive to her. She wanted to believe he wasn’t the man she knew he was, wanted to believe he cared, at least a little. But he’d told her in no uncertain terms how he felt about her, so she steeled herself.

“I married him, didn’t I?”

“Why?”

Because of what you did to me. Because your wonderful, caring brother wanted to help me and take care of me, which was something he knew you’d never do. Because I didn’t know what else to do.

He seemed to sense her vulnerability. Her heart skittered as his large, tanned hand closed over hers, making escape impossible. His dark eyes flashed with alarming passion as he drew her to him.

She averted her gaze from his handsome face. He’d been so cruel, and she’d fought so hard to forget him. Why couldn’t she? He’d only had to walk into her hospital room this afternoon to make her remember how he’d dazzled her.

Then he’d accused her of being a gold digger and worse.

“I’ve thought about you,” he muttered. “Thought about that night, about everything we did and said, even though all I wanted was to forget you. Even now—when I know you were lying about your relationship with Will all along, you still get under my skin.”

Ditto.

Feeling on the verge of a meltdown, she tried to wrench free. It was clear that he’d hated his involvement with her, that he wanted nothing to do with her. And it still hurt—more than it should have, even now when she knew how cold and cruel he was.