The Greek Tycoon's Defiant Bride(10)

By: Lynne Graham

Maribel surveyed Leonidas with a surge of reluctant perception. Severe tension held his lean, powerful body taut. He was staggered and he was appalled, and she quite understood that. She did not blame him for his carelessness in getting her pregnant. It was true that she had felt rather differently when she had first discovered her condition, but the passage of time had altered her perspective. After all, Elias had enriched her life to an almost indescribable degree and she could hardly regret his conception.

‘Let’s not discuss this,’ she murmured gently.

That suggestion outraged Leonidas. How could a woman with her extraordinary intellect say something so foolish? But was it possible that she could have given birth to his child without even letting him know that she was pregnant? Surely it had to be impossible? His logic refused to accept her in such a role—she was a very conventional woman. Yet why else had she named her child Elias? Why was she so nervous? Why was she irrationally trying to evade even discussing the matter?

‘Is the child mine?’ Leonidas demanded harshly.

Her natural colour had ebbed and with it the strength of her voice. ‘He’s mine. I see no reason to add anything else to that statement.’

‘Don’t be stupid. I asked a straight question and I will have a straight answer. What age is he?’

‘I’m not prepared to discuss Elias with you.’ Dry-mouthed, her heart beating so fast she felt nauseous, Maribel straightened her spine. ‘We have nothing to talk about. I’m sorry, but I would like you to leave.’

Leonidas could not give credence to what he was hearing. In all his life he had never been addressed in such a fashion. ‘Are you out of your mind?’ he breathed in a raw undertone. ‘You think you can throw this bombshell at me and then tell me to go away?’

‘I didn’t throw anything at you. You reached your own conclusions without any assistance from me. I don’t want to argue with you.’ Her blue eyes were violet with a curious mix of defiance and entreaty.

‘But if I hadn’t reached the correct conclusion, you would surely have contradicted me,’ Leonidas reasoned with harsh bite. ‘As you did not, I can only assume that you believe Elias to be my child.’

‘He is mine.’ Maribel linked her hands tightly together to prevent them from trembling. ‘I’m quite sure you don’t want my advice, but I’ll give it all the same. Please consider this issue in a calm and logical way first.’

‘Calm? Logical?’ Leonidas growled, affronted by that particular choice of words.

‘Elias is healthy, happy and secure. He lacks nothing. There is no reason for you to be concerned or involved in any way in our lives,’ Maribel told him tautly, willing him to listen, understand and accept those facts.

Rage was rising in Leonidas with a ferocity he had not experienced since his sister had died when he was sixteen. How dared she seek to exclude him from his child’s life? Elias had to be his child, his son. Had it been otherwise, Maribel would have said so. But bewilderment held him back from the much more aggressive response ready to blast from him. Why was she trying to get rid of him if Elias was his child? What kind of sense did that make?

‘Did you assume I wouldn’t want to know? Is that what lies at the foot of this nonsense?’ Dark eyes shimmering gold, Leonidas studied her in wrathful challenge. ‘Are you presuming to believe that you know how I would feel if I had a child? You do not know. Even I do not know when such news comes at me out of nowhere!’

The atmosphere was so hot and tense Maribel would not have been surprised to hear it sizzle and see it smoke.

‘When was he born?’ Leonidas demanded.

Her neck and her shoulders ached with the tension of her rigid stance. All the legendary force of the Pallis will was trained on her in the onslaught of his fierce dark gaze. Never had she been more conscious of his strength of character and it occurred to her that parting with a few harmless facts might actually dampen down his animosity. She gave the date.

The silence seemed to last for ever. In the circumstances and with such a date, Leonidas knew immediately that there was virtually no chance that anyone else could have fathered her child. ‘I want to see him.’

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