He again clears his throat and finally, finally his gaze, filled with businesslike purpose, focuses on me. "We need to talk."
My shoulders cram with tension as one overwhelming question races through my brain. Does he suspect the baby is his? Well, there’s only one way to find out. “About?”
He brushes a hand across his brow. "Not here. In my hotel. Tomorrow—"
Alone with him in his hotel room? Hell, no. "I'm afraid that's not possible."
"Why not?" And here's the Storm I know so well. The one that doesn't take no for an answer.
"I don't think it would be a good idea for me—”
He waves aside my objection. "Do you have a scheduling conflict?"
"If you're worried about me doing anything . . . improper, don't. I only want to talk." He leans forward on the seat, and a twitch of pain skitters across his face. For a second, his eyes scrunch close.
“Do you need to take some medicine? I have water here if you do.” I open a desk drawer where I keep extra bottles.
“No, thank you.” In the past, he would have flashed that devastating smile of his, the crooked one I loved, but now all I see is a bloodless white slash across his lips.
"What do you wish to talk about?" I ask again, but in a much softer tone. No sense adding to his grief.
"Brianna . . .” He drops his voice, even though the door is closed and no one would be able to hear even if they were standing right outside. “She told me about the child.”
Of course she did. She’s his sister after all. And she figured it out when she saw those prenatal vitamins in my room the weekend I spent at Winterleagh Castle, their family’s country seat. I should have called her, asked her to keep that detail to herself. But then I would have had to tell her about the devil’s pact I struck with her mother.
Lady Winterleagh demanded I keep quiet about the baby in exchange for her silence about something which, if revealed, would destroy Gabriel, his family, his company. Worse than that, she ordered me to break Gabriel’s heart. And God help me, I did.
The last time I saw Gabriel he accused me of copying his confidential documents on the SouthWind deal and handing them to my boss to gain favor with him. I admitted it, even though I had done no such thing. But what choice did I have? If I hadn’t, his mother would have ruined Gabriel, and I couldn’t allow that to happen.
But now he’s here, wanting to talk about the child we created, which is going to be difficult, because I can’t let him know it’s his. “What about my baby?”
His brow rises and, in that very proper British voice of his, he cuts me off. Again. "Our baby, is it not?"
God give me strength to deny it. The facts haven’t changed. His mother can still destroy everything he cherishes. “Maybe, maybe not.” I shrug, looking down, unable to meet his gaze.
“Beg your pardon? Didn’t you tell Bri the child was mine?”
I can’t lie about that. “I did, but I spoke prematurely. If I may be blunt, you were not the only man I had sex with during the time in question. As a matter of fact, there were several men.” Not true. I lived the life of a nun after he left.
His nostrils flare; his mouth curls in distaste. “Still, there’s a chance.”
I bite down on my lip to keep from blurting out the truth. What must he think of me? “If it’s your child, I need nothing from you. I want nothing from you."
His phone rings, interrupting us, and he retrieves it from his jacket. "I'll be right there." He clicks off. "A reporter from The Wall Street Journal wants to interview me.” He offers by way of an explanation.