The police, she thought, but that hope faded as soon as it came. By the time she managed to summon a policeman Nikos would be long gone. Or he’d pay off anyone who took her side. Nikos Stavrakis’s wealth and power made him above the law.
She had only one option left. Begging.
“Please,” she whispered. She took a deep breath and forced herself to say in a louder voice, “Nikos, please don’t take my child. It would kill me.”
He barked a harsh laugh. “That’s what I’d call a bonus.”
She should have known better than to ask him for anything. “You…you heartless bastard!”
“Heartless?” He threw the cup at the fireplace. It smashed and fell in a thousand chiming pieces. “Heartless!” he roared.
Suddenly afraid, Anna drew back. “Nikos—”
“You let me believe that my son was dead! I thought you both were dead. I returned from New York and you were gone. Do you know how many days I waited for the ransom note, Anna? Do you have any idea how long I waited for your bodies to be discovered? Seven days. You made me wait seven damn days before you bothered to let me know you were both alive!”
Anna’s breaths came in tiny rattling gasps. “You betrayed me. You caused my father’s death! Did you think I’d never find out?”
His dark eyes widened, then narrowed. “Your father made his own choices, as you have made yours. I’m taking my son back where he belongs.”
“No. Please.” Tears welled up in her eyes and she grabbed at his coat sleeve. “You can’t take him. I’m—I’m still breastfeeding. Think what it would do to Misha to lose his mother, the only parent he’s ever known…”
His eyes went dark, and Anna wanted to bite off her tongue. How could she have drawn attention to the fact that she’d not only denied Nikos the chance to experience the first four months of their child’s life, but she’d broken her promise about their son’s name?
Then he bared his teeth in the wolflike semblance of a smile. “You are mistaken, zoe mou. I have no intention of taking him away from you.”
She was so overwhelmed that she nearly embraced him. “Thank you—oh, God, thank you. I really thought…”
He took a step closer, towering over her. “Because I’m taking you as well.”
He should have savored this moment.
Instead, Nikos was furious. For four months he’d fantasized about taking vengeance on Anna. No, not vengeance, he corrected himself. Justice.
Some justice. His lip curled into a half-snarl. Bringing Anna back to Las Vegas, where he’d see her face across his table every day? That was the last thing he wanted.
He’d intended to take his son and leave, as she deserved. But from the moment he’d first seen his baby son a surge of love had risen in him that he’d never felt before. At that moment he’d known he could never allow his son to be hurt. He’d kill anyone who tried.
For four months he’d hated Anna. But now…
Hurting her would hurt his son. His child needed his mother. The two were bonded.
The payback was off.
He cursed under his breath, narrowing his eyes.
Anna had lost all her pregnancy weight, and then some. Under her coat’s frayed edges he could see the swell of her breasts beneath her tight sweater, see the curve of her slender hips in the worn, slim-fitting jeans. There were hungry smudges beneath her cheekbones that hadn’t been there before, and tiny worry lines around her blue-green eyes. The tightly controlled secretary was gone. Her long dark hair, which she’d always pulled back in a tight bun, now fell wild around her shoulders. It was…sexy.