The Heir From Nowhere(6)

By: Trish Morey


Could it be because she was carrying someone else’s child? Carrying his?

Breath whooshed from his lungs as every organ inside him contracted. Was the child Carla had so desperately and futilely wanted somehow growing inside this woman instead?

He studied the couple while he willed his breathing back to normal, studying them between the holidaymakers and honeymooners and strollers tied with balloons. The woman was blonde and slim, not unattractive under her sad eyes. The man was older, he noticed, whereas she looked around thirty-five—the age, he guessed, where she might be starting to panic about never having children. Had the child she’d longed for turned out to be someone else’s?

His eyes flicked over their clothes. Both of them had the kind of grooming that took money. Maybe she’d been honest about not wanting his—it looked as if they had plenty of their own to go around. Of course, he rationalised, at the rates the Carmichael Clinic charged, they would have to have money.

It all seemed to fit.

‘What do you think?’ Simone prompted.

‘Must be,’ he mused, his eyes leaving the couple for a moment to scan the crowd. There were families and tourists and a gaunt-looking woman who looked as if she was lost in the crowd. No, there was nobody else it could be. He nodded, feeling a strange tightening in his chest as he contemplated this next step, twenty-four hours’ notice strangely nowhere near enough to prepare himself to meet the woman carrying his child. ‘Let’s go find out.’ He’d barely got the words out when the woman suddenly cried out and jumped to her feet.

The man followed, trying to placate her. Dominic cut a swathe through the pedestrian traffic. Did the woman think he wasn’t going to show? He shouldn’t have hesitated. Who else could it be? She was arguing through her sobs, her head turned back to the man holding her hand when he reached them.

‘Mrs Cameron?’

‘Mr and Mrs Pirelli?’

The couple looked around, both of them stunned for a moment, but Dominic’s attention had already been snagged by the woman who’d arrived from left field, the woman with his name on her lips.

‘Who are you?’ he demanded.





CHAPTER THREE


SHE was shabby and pale, a ghost of a woman dressed in drab clothes and with hair the colour of dishwater pulled into an unkempt ponytail. Even as he took her in she seemed to shrink before him, her focus over his shoulder on the couple behind. ‘I thought… I thought that was Mr and Mrs Pirelli.’

‘I am Dominic Pirelli.’

‘Oh.’

Simone came up alongside him with a click of heels and a whiff of that French perfume. ‘Then you must be Mrs Cameron.’

Dominic wanted to argue the point. What did Simone think she was saying? He’d already decided who Mrs Cameron was and it wasn’t this ragged excuse for a woman. Mrs Cameron was right here next to him—he swivelled around to see the couple rapidly disappearing into the crowd—and turned back, still not wanting to believe it could be true. How could this woman, this dishrag of a woman, be capable of carrying his child?

How could the clinic possibly have put his child into her?

But she was here, where they were supposed to meet, and she had uttered his name…

The shabby woman swallowed, and Dominic followed the movement down a neck so thin it looked too small for her head. ‘That’s right,’ she uttered, almost as if she were afraid of the admission. ‘I’m… I’m Angie Cameron.’

Her voice cemented it as much as her admission. Unsure. Afraid. Sounding more like that teenager again when she must be—he peered at her, trying to put an age to her appearance—and failed. She looked nothing like the women he was used to dealing with in his life. For a woman so undernourished, she looked—weighed down.

‘And you,’ the ragged urchin offered, wiping her palms on her jeans before she held out her hand, ‘must be Mrs Pirelli. I’m really sorry we have to meet in such circumstances.’

Her words were unnecessary. Dominic could not possibly imagine meeting her in any other. ‘Simone is not my wife,’ he said sharply. ‘Simone is my PA.’

Something flickered in the PA’s eyes at her boss’s rapid fire correction, vanishing just as quickly, the brief touch of her fingers just as cool as the smile in her newly resumed demeanour. Angie blinked, way out of her depth, still reeling from making a fool of herself by approaching the wrong couple without being faced with this man—the man she’d decided could not possibly be the one. And now the woman with him was not his wife.

She could barely keep up.

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