From One Night to Wife(7)

By: Rachael Thomas

 A spark of something akin to fear mingled with hope showed in her eyes as she moved closer. ‘You want to raise the baby with me?’

 He shut his heart to the image of a happy family, slamming the door firmly. ‘That won’t be possible, will it? Not if you have already decided to give it away like a parcel.’

 ‘I haven’t decided any such thing.’ She glared at him like a wounded animal, wary and untrusting.

 ‘You constantly spoke of your sister—about her longing for a baby. Do you recall what you told me?’ The harsh words growled from him, and before she could reply he pressed on. ‘“If I could have a baby for her, I would.” Those were your exact words.’

 ‘How can you twist things like that? It’s what I wished I could do—not what I planned.’

 Disappointment rushed over him like a waterfall. When she’d asked if he wanted to raise the baby with her he’d almost allowed himself to believe it was what she wanted, that it could be possible. How foolish.

 ‘Did you really think you could come here and use the baby—my baby—as a bargaining tool to get money for your sister? Or, worse, give my baby to her?’

 She pushed slim fingers through the thickness of her red hair, distracting him momentarily.

 ‘No. That’s not how it is. This is my baby.’

 ‘It’s my baby too, Serena.’ Fury thundered in his veins, pulsing around him so fast he couldn’t think straight. It was obvious she’d done her homework. She knew who he was. But was she really capable of seducing him, hoping to become pregnant with a baby for her sister? If he was thinking rationally he’d say no, but with such a revelation knocking him sideways he’d believe anything right now.

 As she stood there, glaring angrily at him, challenging him on every level, he knew he had to be there for his baby as it grew up. He wanted to give it all he’d never had. But it didn’t matter how much money he had, he didn’t know if he could do the one thing a father should. Love his child—or anyone.

 How could he when he’d never known the love of his parents? And he’d always kept his distance from his grandparents, shunned their love, preferring to stay safe behind his defences even as a young boy. But he had a bond with them. Could he at least bond with his child?

 Was he heartless? Was that why his mother had turned her back on him? Why his father had barely looked at him? Was it his fault?

 ‘I will be there for my child.’ He watched her for a hint of guilt, any trace of her deceit.

 ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’

 The fury in her voice overflowed, confirming his suspicions.

 ‘Drop the innocent act. You know who I am. For a woman with your journalist’s training it must have been all too easy to discover more about the father or your child.’ Venom spiked every word as he looked at her, suddenly becoming aware of the waves creeping closer to them. How long had they been discussing this? Hours? Seconds? He didn’t know. Only that it would change things and change him for ever.

 ‘I have only just looked you up on the internet—in the departure lounge at the airport, to be exact. Because, stupidly, I believed you were an island fisherman, living a simple life. There shouldn’t have been anything more to know.’ Her furious words were flung at him and her eyes sparked like fireworks. ‘You lied to me, used me.’

 So the flame-haired temptress had a temper!

 ‘Just as you lied to me—using me, the “simple fisherman”, as a means to an end.’

 ‘I didn’t use you at all.’

 ‘So you deny you seduced me in the hope of getting pregnant with a child you planned to give to your sister?’

 She gasped in shock, her acting skills well and truly on display. ‘Of course I do.’

 ‘In that case I won’t be upsetting your plans.’

 ‘And what does that mean?’

 Her temper flared again. Begrudgingly he admired her spirit. She was even more beautiful when the fire of determination rose up within her.

 ‘Only that I have every possible means at my disposal and I will be a father to my child, no matter what obstacles you put in my way. I will remove each and every one to get what I want. My child. My heir.’

                       CHAPTER TWO

 SERENA WAS SPEECHLESS. She blinked rapidly as if seeing Nikos for the first time. What did he mean? Her head began to swim as she tried to process what he was saying and she cursed her pregnancy-induced emotions, biting back hard against the urge to dissolve into frustrated tears.

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