Claimed for Makarov's Baby(6)

By: Sharon Kendrick

How dared she?

‘You aren’t going to deny it, are you, Erin?’ he continued mockingly. ‘Because you can’t.’

Her lips opened and she shivered and, powered by an instinct he wasn’t sure he recognised, Dimitri removed his jacket and draped it around her narrow shoulders. The suit’s grey jacket swamped her and made her complexion look even more waxy than it had been before and his mouth hardened. Was she opening those green eyes as wide as a kitten and thinking he would take pity on her? Because if that was the case—she was wrong.

Very wrong.

There was a tap on the door and a woman poked her head in, before mouthing sorry apologetically and withdrawing again.

‘Let’s get out of here,’ he said coldly.

He half lifted her out of the chair and ushered her outside, where a cold blast of autumnal air cut right through her and Erin was aware of people turning to stare as if the tall, molten-haired man were abducting the shivering bride. Instantly, a sleek black limousine purred to a halt in front of them and Dimitri opened up the door and bundled her inside. Sliding onto the seat beside her, he gave a peremptory tap on the window and the car began to move away.

‘Where are we going?’ she questioned, looking around her in alarm. ‘Where are you taking me?’

‘Cut the dramatics,’ he snapped. ‘We need to have a conversation, so it’s your place or mine. Up to you.’

His words were greeted with the expression of someone who had just been offered a choice of two poisons to drink, for she bit her bottom lip, bringing a little colour to its plump fullness. And suddenly Dimitri found himself remembering the way he’d kissed her in the register office—a kiss born out of rage and a desire to take control. A kiss intended to show young Chico exactly who was boss—as if any such demonstration were really needed. But it hadn’t worked out quite as he’d intended, had it? He hadn’t meant it to kick-start his libido, but it had. And despite his rage and disbelief, it was as much as he could do not to kiss her again. To pull her into his arms and feel that ripe, young body close to his, opening up like a flower. He’d forgotten just how instantly she went up in flames the moment he touched her. How her fairly commonplace exterior hid a powerful sexuality, which was both unexpected and surprising.

He could see her swallowing—the movement rippling down that swanlike neck of hers. And he could hear the note of anxiety which had entered her voice.

‘Why can’t we just have the conversation here?’

‘I think you know the answer to that, Erin. Apart from wanting complete privacy—and my driver speaks perfect English as well as Russian—I don’t think I trust myself to be in such a confined space with you when we are discussing something which I’m still having difficulty getting my head round.’ His voice lowered into a harsh rasp. ‘Discovering that I have a son and that you have kept him hidden from me for all these years is bad enough and I might be tempted into doing something which I might later regret. So you’d better make up your mind about where we’re going, or I’ll be forced to make the decision for you.’

Erin pulled the jacket closer around her shoulders—grateful for the warmth but wishing that the expensive cloth were not permeated with Dimitri’s distinctive scent. She was trapped—in every which way. She didn’t want to take him to the home she shared with Leo and her sister, Tara. Not because she was ashamed of the rather humble dwelling. No, the truth was more worrying than that. She was terrified of him seeing Leo. Afraid he might just take command and grab the child—stealing him away from her and thinking he was perfectly entitled to. Because mightn’t she attempt something similar if the situation were reversed? If she’d discovered that someone had kept her flesh and blood hidden from her like some kind of guilty secret for all these years?

A feeling of despair washed over her as she contemplated what lay ahead, knowing that further lies and evasion were pointless. And besides, hadn’t this been a long time coming? How many times over the years had she picked up the telephone to tell him about the blue-eyed little boy who was his spitting image? Hadn’t her heart sometimes burned with the pain of denying her boy access to his father? Until she had forced herself to remember the truth about the man and his appalling lifestyle.

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