Ben clinked ice into a glass, added a splash of scotch and set the cut crystal bottle onto the marble with enough force that both should have fractured. Ice hit his teeth as he shot two fingers in one swallow.
“I don’t know how you can still surprise me,” he hissed past the burn, pouring again. “My grandmother is eighty-one years old. How am I not the logical person to ask if you don’t want to raise our baby?”
“You hate me,” she flung herself around to say. “You just said so.”
He couldn’t look at her and only threw the next shot into the back of his throat.
“Your grandmother won’t blame the baby for my mistakes.” The scrape in Henriqua’s voice skinned him alive. “She’ll ensure someone loves it.”
“That’s important to you?” He tried for scathing, wanting to disguise that she had managed to pry past the veneer of hatred he was desperately trying to keep in place. Of course he would love his child. He had thought he loved her.
Until she betrayed him.
She turned back to the window.
He stole the moment to run his hand down his face, trying to gather his composure.
Pregnant. He could hardly comprehend it.
He came from a big, supportive family, one that meant a wife and children had always been something he imagined having, but in the “someday” category, when his company could be run from America so he wouldn’t be an absent husband and father.
Finding a woman who also loved hiking into remote locations to bag samples of dirt had pushed him to believe “someday” was closer than he thought.
But now he didn’t even have a rented flat to his name. His grandmother had offered him the use of her winter unit in Florida and his only employment prospect was the job his cousin’s new husband was offering to smooth over a spat with his wife.
Ben wasn’t in a position to provide for a family right now.
Of course, the reason he was in such dire straits was that woman, right there. The one pregnant with his child. He ought to question whether it was his, but he didn’t. On the contrary, when she had revealed that swelling in her middle, his only reaction had been an irresistible desire to touch her. Feel his child within her.
“I didn’t think my situation could be more impossible,” he muttered. “Yet, here you are. Why—?” He cut himself off, deciding it didn’t matter why she didn’t want the baby, only that he claim it.
“I’m afraid for it,” she murmured so softly he almost didn’t hear her.
All the hairs on his body stood up. “Why?”
“Vincent wants to kill me. Once he realizes I have this—” She opened her purse and took out a handful of folded pages. “He’ll be even more determined.”
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