His gaze flicked over the tableau she made with her sister pulling frantically against her arm.
His eyes appeared unfocused, as if he wasn’t even seeing them. “I’ll see myself out.”
Then he was gone.
He’d walked away from her for the second time without a backward glance. It was no consolation that this time he would have been hard pressed to recognize her.
“I’m sorry, Allie. I don’t know how he came to be here. Are you going to be all right?” Madeleine’s voice buzzed in Alexandra’s ears. “I slapped him.” Her sister’s words finally registered.
“I slapped him and I called him a pig.”
Alexandra almost smiled. “He deserved it.”
“Yes, he did.”
“How did you know who he was?”
“I told him you were dead, I mean Xandra Fortune. Anyway, he asked if it was because of the baby and I just knew.”
“You told him Xandra was dead?”
“Yes, she did, but it’s not true is it? You’re alive and I’d like to shake you both until your teeth rattle.” Dimitri’s fury filled voice sent Alexandra’s nerves into overdrive.
Madeleine dropped Alexandra’s wrist in shock. “Go away!” she shouted at Dimitri.
He towered over them, his skin an unnatural shade of gray, his eyes registering anger and a brief moment of vulnerability that disappeared before Alexandra could be certain of its existence. “I’m not going anywhere. In fact, I think it is you and your husband who need to go so Xandra and I may speak in private of affairs that do not concern you.”
Madeleine opened her mouth to speak, but Alexandra forestalled her. She pivoted her body so she faced Dimitri fully and fixed him with a bored stare. “My name is Alexandra Dupree and I’m sure you and I have nothing to discuss.”
Since leaving her Xandra Fortune persona behind, she’d run into former colleagues and none of them had recognized her. She’d had her hair cut short and dyed back to the rather mousy-brown color she’d been born with. She’d ditched the green contact lenses and her body at five months pregnant in no way resembled the willow thinness of Xandra Fortune’s trademark figure.
There was no reason she couldn’t bluff this confrontation with Dimitri out. And a very good reason why she wanted to. She’d thought and thought about why he would tell his wife about her and the baby and the only logical solution she’d been able to come up with was that Dimitri had decided that though he no longer wanted his ex-lover, he did want their child.
Something dangerous flashed in Dimitri’s indigo blue eyes. “Do not play games with me.”
“I am not playing any games. If you do not believe me about who I am, I can show you identification. I’ve been Alexandra Dupree my whole life. I should know.” She deliberately infused her voice with a New Orleans accent, one she hadn’t spoken with since being sent to convent boarding school in France at the age of eight.
“Ten minutes ago I believed you to be dead.”
“I can confirm without question that Xandra Fortune is indeed dead, but I am not and I am Alexandra Dupree.”
He didn’t even look disconcerted. “You may be Alexandra Dupree, but you are also Xandra Fortune and how you believe you could deny such truth to me, the man who knows you more intimately than any other, I cannot understand.” His usual flawless English was heavily accented with Greek intonation.
“I assure you, you do not know me intimately at all.” And that was the truth. If he had truly known her, he could never have suspected the baby had been fathered by someone else.
Terrible rage reflected in Dimitri’s eyes before he leaned forward and swept her high against his chest, his arms as tight and inflexible as steel bands.
Madeleine shrieked, “Put her down!”
Hunter strode forward to grab Dimitri’s shoulder.
Dimitri glared at him, his body tense with primitive masculine aggression. “Take your hand off me.”
“I won’t allow you to take my sister-in-law out of this apartment against her will.”
The entire situation was unreal. Dimitrius Petronides doing something so uncool as to attempt to kidnap a pregnant woman from a party was beyond the scope of her imagination, much less believable reality.
Dimitri looked down at her, his blue gaze compelling agreement. “Tell him you want to come with me.”
She glared back at him. “I don’t.”
Dimitri stiffened and Hunter became more menacing, but in his fury, Dimitri shrugged off Hunter’s restraining hold as if it were nothing more than a wispy cobweb. He spun to face Hunter. “I’m not going to hurt her. She’s mine. She’s pregnant with my child and we’re going to talk.”
After that, neither Dimitri nor Hunter spoke for what seemed like several minutes, but was in all probability only seconds. Then something passed between the two men and much to Madeleine’s dismay and Alexandra’s irritation Hunter nodded.
“You can talk to her, but you’ll have to do it here.”
Alexandra tried to shove herself out of Dimitri’s arms. “I’m not talking to him.”
His hold tightened. “Be careful. If you fall, you could hurt the baby.”
“What do you care about my baby?”
If possible, his expression turned grimmer. “I care.”
Those two words scared her more than the thought of giving birth to a child. He was going to try to take her baby from her. She knew it. “I’m not giving you and your little Greek paragon wife my baby. I’m not!”
He shook his head. “Talk. Xandra. We need to talk.”
“You didn’t even believe the baby was yours at first,” she said, giving up any hope at deceiving him about her identity.
Emotion passed across his chiseled features. “I do now.”
“What changed your mind?” she demanded, ceasing her struggle against the increasing pressure of his hold.
He smelled like whiskey, expensive aftershave and sweat. Something had made Dimitri sweat. In fact, his hairline still showed evidence of moisture. The thought of losing his baby must have really destroyed him. She could almost feel sorry for him, but she refused to be so weak. He’d denied his paternity of their baby. He deserved what he got.
“I spoke to a doctor. He told me it was actually quite common for a woman to have one or even two menses after conceiving a child.”
“So you believed some stranger over me. I’m impressed, Dimitri. It certainly shows where our relationship fit in the scheme of your life.”
“He’s not a stranger. He’s a friend.”
Who cared how well he knew the stupid doctor? “I’m not giving you my baby!” she reiterated while inside she cursed the doctor who had put her bond with her child at risk like this.
“If you don’t put my sister down this instant and leave my home, I’m calling the police,” Madeleine interrupted.
Eyes deadly with intent, Dimitri met Madeleine’s gaze with his own inflexible one. “Go ahead.” He turned to Hunter. “I’m not going anywhere without her.”
Hunter sighed. “You can talk out here. We’ll close off the doors to the house so you’ll have some privacy.”
Alexandra shuddered. She didn’t want privacy with Dimitri. “If I have to talk to you, I’d rather do it somewhere public.”
“You don’t have to talk to him at all,” Madeleine’s angry voice interjected.
Hunter squeezed Madeleine’s shoulder. “She’s pregnant with his child, my love. They have to talk.”
Her sister turned on her husband with murder in her eye. “I suppose that’s some macho code all arrogant men try to live by, but I’m not standing by and watching him rip my sister into emotional shreds again. Don’t you remember how she was when she got here?”
As much as she loved her sister and appreciated Madeleine’s loyalty, Alexandra did not want Dimitri to know how much he had hurt her. Her pride would not take it. “Put me down. We can go to Casamir,” she said, naming a French restaurant on B Avenue.
Dimitri and Madeleine said no at the same time. Alexandra opted to deal with her sister first. “Maddy, I want this settled.”
Madeleine’s eyes filled with tears. “I don’t want you hurt again.”
Alexandra shook her head, very certain of that if nothing else. “He can’t hurt me anymore. I despise him.”
Dimitri’s body jerked.
She ignored the reaction and asked him, “Why can’t we go to Casamir?”
“We tried to talk nicely in a public venue once and it did not work. Did you see the photos? They were all over the papers the week after my engagement to Phoebe was announced. Wealthy Greek Tycoon Argues with Secret Pregnant Paramour. My grandfather relapsed and had to have emergency by-pass surgery.”