The Billionaire's Unexpected Baby (Winning The Billionaire)(5)

By: Kira Archer

Brooks burst out laughing. “You’re not even making that up, are you?”

Leah laughed. “Okay, fine. I guess I fit the stereotype a little. Hush.”

“What’s a nice girl like you doing hanging out with a boatful of heathens like us?” he asked, nodding at the people milling about on the boat.

“The ‘heathens’ you’re referring to aren’t exactly the scum of the earth,” she said with a laugh. “Aside from their obscene bank accounts, they all seem pretty nice. Most of them, anyway,” she said, looking him up and down.

He gave her a slow smile with as much smolder as he could lay on and returned her roving gaze. Instead of blushing and backing off, she moved a little closer.

“Besides,” she said, “even nice girls like to have some fun. I’m on a yacht in the middle of the Mediterranean with good friends, celebrating the birth of my goddaughter. Can’t think of any place I’d rather be. It was good of you to host this getaway for them.”

A rush of pride flooded through him, something he didn’t feel very often. He liked that she approved of him. It had been a long time since he’d cared about what anyone thought. He didn’t know what it was about her, but she intrigued him, which scared the hell out of him, truthfully. But that paled in comparison to his desire to get to know her better. Much better.

“She’s my goddaughter and they’re my best friends. It was the least I could do. Besides, I’m always up for a party.”

She smiled at that, though the expression didn’t quite reach her eyes, and then looked out at the view spread before them. They weren’t far from land, so the whitewashed walls and blue roofs of the Greek village they were passing twinkled at them from the shores of the bay. The crystal-clear turquoise waters beneath them beckoned invitingly though a sudden cool breeze blew through, sending a fine shiver through Leah.

Brooks moved behind her, sheltering her with his body, his hands resting beside hers on the railing. “What are you thinking about so hard?” he asked, bending down so he could talk quietly. The scent of her hair washed over him. Honeysuckle and jasmine. He inhaled deeply, imprinting the scent in his mind.

“The future,” she said. Instead of moving away as he’d feared, she leaned back into him. A slight movement, but encouraging, though the future was a subject he tended to avoid as much as possible.

“Why think of the future when the present is so much more stimulating?” He ran a hand up her arm and she turned until she faced him.

“You don’t find the future stimulating?”

“When I have a beautiful woman in my arms right now?” He drew his thumb over her cheek. “Why would I want to think of anything else?”

His heart pounded while he waited for her to push him away, giggle and blush maybe, play hard to get. Or get offended and stomp off in a huff. He didn’t expect her to tilt her face against his hand so he cradled her cheek. The sun highlighted her hair, illuminating shades of red and blonde that reminded him of the fine mahogany table he had in his office. He brushed a strand away from her eyes, pools of brown with subtle flecks of green that had him mesmerized.

What had she done to him? He’d never wanted to kiss a woman so badly in his life. He leaned down, his pulse speeding. She gave him a gentle, encouraging smile, then froze. Her eyes widened, all the color in her face draining, and before he could ask what was wrong she pivoted and leaned far over the rail, her body tensing as she threw up what looked like everything she’d ever eaten.

He grabbed her hair, gathering it at the nape of her neck and holding it with one hand while he held her against him with his other arm, supporting her while she retched. Kiersten was at their side almost immediately with a towel and a bottle of water. He took both from her, ignoring her shocked face.

Leah took the towel gratefully and quickly rinsed out her mouth. Brooks led her over to a chair and ordered one of the passing waiters to bring him a glass of ice water with mint leaves. Kiersten’s eyes widened in question.

“I read somewhere that mint calms the stomach. And the flavor might help get the taste out of her mouth,” he said.

Kiersten looked like she was going to respond, but ended up shaking her head with a small smile. Brooks knew exactly what she was thinking, but ignored everyone other than Leah. Kiersten watched them for a moment and then went back to where Cole held the baby, a speculative gleam in her eye that he’d defuse later.

The waiter returned quickly, and Leah slowly sipped the mint water a few times before sighing deeply.

“Thank you,” she said, not meeting his eyes.

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