The Heiress's Secret Baby

By: Jessica Gilmore
A secret shared…

Polly Rafferty, heiress and CEO of glamorous Rafferty’s Stores is back! And this time, she’s prepared for anything—well, except for the half-naked (and utterly gorgeous) Frenchman Gabe Beaufils lying in her office. And, after sharing an unexpectedly earth-shattering kiss, discovering that he is her new vice-CEO…

When Polly learns that a no-strings summer fling had very unexpected consequences, Gabe is the one person she can trust with her baby secret...but with a man so full of surprises, she has no idea what his reaction will be!

Resolutely, Polly held the glass up over the man’s face and tipped it, a perfect stream of cold water falling like rain onto the peacefully slumbering face below.

Polly didn’t quite know what to expect: anger, shock, contrition or even no reaction at all. He was so very deeply asleep, after all. But what she didn’t expect was for one eye to lazily open, for a smile to play around the disturbingly well-cut mouth or for a hand to shoot out and grab her wrist.

Caught by surprise, she stumbled forward, falling against the chaise as the hand snuck around her waist, pulling her down, pulling her close.

“Bonjour, chérie.” His voice was low, gravelly with sleep and deeply, unmistakeably French. “If you wanted me to wake up you only had to ask.”

“What do you think you’re doing?”

“Saying au revoir of course.” He had shifted position and was leaning against the back of the chaise, his eyes skimming every inch of her until she wanted to wrap her arms around her torso, shielding herself from his insolent gaze.

“Au revoir?”

“Of course.” He raised an eyebrow. “As you are dressed to leave, I thought you were saying goodbye. But if it was more of a good morning—” the smile widened “—even better.’

“I am not saying au revoir or good morning or anything but what on earth are you doing in my office and where are your clothes?”

Dear Reader,

When I sent my idea for His Reluctant Cinderella over to my editor, her first response was “I hope you’re planning to tell Polly’s story as well!” Honestly? It hadn’t crossed my mind. And yet Polly’s decision to walk away from the job she loves, the family business that’s her entire world, is the catalyst for all the events in His Reluctant Cinderella. Of course it made complete sense to see what happened next!

So here she is, back in charge with everything she’s always wanted. Only what if things weren’t that straightforward? What if her time away had left her with more than a suntan and some holiday snaps? Add in a gorgeous new colleague who challenges her at every turn, and suddenly Polly’s supposedly settled future is looking far rockier than she ever imagined possible.

And who is this gorgeous colleague shaking things up in all kinds of ways? Step forward Gabriel Beaufils: young, successful and with demons of his own, demons he likes to keep buried with hard work, healthy living and by keeping his distance from any emotional entanglement. But there’s something about Polly Rafferty that gets past his carefully erected barricades and suddenly those demons are very much at the surface. Can Gabe confront his past—or will he keep on running?

It was a lot of fun to return to the glamorous world of Rafferty’s. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Love, Jessica


My Secret Bucket List

Swim in the sea, naked

NB: in azure warm seas, not in the North Sea

Sleep out under the stars

Have sex on the beach

NB: the real deal, not the cocktail

Drink an authentic margarita

Fall in love in Paris

POLLY READ THE list through for the last time, feeling the carefree joie de vivre fall away and the old, familiar cloaks of respectability and responsibility settling back onto her shoulders. They were a little heavy, but maybe that was to be expected after three months away.

Three months, five wishes. And she’d achieved four out of the five, which wasn’t bad going. The heaviness lifted for a second as the highlights of the last three months flashed through her mind and then it descended again.

What had she been thinking? She might as well have written the list in a silver pen and decorated it with pink love hearts and butterflies, pinning it on her wall next to a lipstick-kiss-covered poster of a pre-pubescent boy band.

Polly pulled the page out of her diary and, without allowing herself a second’s pause to reconsider, tore it into pieces. It was time to reposition her three-month sabbatical into something more appropriate for the new CEO of a company with a multimillion-pound turnover.

She chewed on the end of her pen for a moment and then started a new list.

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