The Only Solution(7)

By: Leigh Michaels


“Neither,” she snapped. “I told you, the baby’s mine. And I’m doing just fine – I have no need to extort money from anyone.”

He smiled a little. There wasn’t much humor in the expression, and the momentary flicker of white teeth had a threatening edge. “Then why did you make that phone call?”

She could almost feel the net closing in around her. She turned her back on him and closed her eyes in pain. There had to be a way, an explanation which would get her out of this spot.

“If she’s really your baby, Miss Miller...” he began suggestively.

The silence stretched out until Wendy’s nerves were raw. “What?” Her voice cracked.

“Then you won’t mind letting me see her. I’m a great admirer of babies. You might even say I’m a connoisseur.”

Wendy minded. She was uneasily aware that anyone who saw that child and compared Rory’s coloring with her own would have serious questions about the child’s parentage. The eyes alone – Rory’s clear blue, Wendy’s deep golden brown – would cast doubt on the whole idea.

He went on relentlessly. “Shall we say, eight o’clock, your apartment?”

She swallowed hard. “She’ll be in bed.” Maybe, if he didn’t see Rory’s eyes...

But this man was no fool, and he would not settle for a casual inspection.

“Then you can wake her, can’t you?” He picked up his briefcase. “And Miss Miller... Don’t try to vanish.”

She put her chin up. “I wouldn’t think of it. I have nothing to hide.”

The corner of his mouth quirked once more, as if he was ever so slightly amused. “Not only would it make you look very guilty,” he said gently, “it wouldn’t accomplish anything. I’ve hunted you down once. If I have to, I’ll do it again.”





CHAPTER TWO



Wendy stayed beside her desk, spine rigid, until he was out of sight. Then she sagged into her chair.

How had he found her? She’d given her name on the telephone that day, but he hadn’t seemed to hear it. And though he had asked where she was calling from, she hadn’t told him – though she supposed Phoenix would have seemed a logical place to start looking.

Oh, what did it matter? The fact was he had found her, and now she had to deal with the reality.

She considered cancelling her interview, because heaven knew she wasn’t in the best frame of mind for it. But her financial situation was desperate enough as it was. If there was any chance of actually getting a job, she couldn’t afford to let it pass.

In any case, she couldn’t do anything between now and eight o’clock to change the facts. She obviously couldn’t make Rory look more like her. And if she sat around for the next few hours and wondered what Marissa’s brother was likely to think or say or do, she’d simply drive herself nuts. She might as well do something positive with her time.

Marissa’s brother. Why hadn’t the woman ever mentioned him? She could at least have warned Wendy about that forceful attitude of his, and the air of always getting his own way. If Wendy had known what she might be dealing with…

But of course Marissa hadn’t anticipated the problem. She hadn’t expected to die. And just knowing of her brother’s existence – or even his arrogance – wouldn’t have made any difference to Wendy at all. No warning could have prepared her for the way he seemed to take up all the space in the room and raise the temperature by about ten degrees. She’d never experienced anything like it. No wonder her brain hadn’t been functioning quite right.

She was thinking about that when the interviewer called her name, and she stumbled over her own feet on her way into his office. The interview went downhill from there, and by the time it was finished, her only emotion was profound gratitude that it was over and now she could go pick up Rory and get her regular dose of infant adoration.

Rory, however, was tear-drenched and in no mood for smiling. “What’s the matter, darling?” Wendy asked as she cuddled the baby close.

“She’s been fussy all day,” Carrie said. “I think she might be cutting a tooth.”

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