Lacey clasped her trembling hands as she scrambled to think of a good lie.
But there was no point. He knew her too well. As she knew him. That was the problem.
Two years ago, John Drakos had hired her firm, Lacey Tremaine Interiors, to redecorate his Manhattan townhouse. The Greek billionaire had insisted on having Lacey herself do the designs, rather than one of the three other interior designers.
Lacey hadn’t minded. Having the Greek tycoon as a client was a PR coup. And their design meetings had gone well—too well. Within weeks, she and John had become lovers.
Their affair was only supposed to be a brief amusement, but weeks of pleasure turned into months. Passion became unexpectedly more. They were so alike. Both independent, ambitious and cynical about love.
John had lazily confided that he didn’t intend to marry until he was at least forty, whenever he was ready to have children, when he’d settle down with some suitably old-fashioned wife from a good Greek family. That had suited Lacey fine, because she never intended to marry anyone. Why pledge her life to some man who would only disappoint her? Better to depend only on herself.
But as she’d finished work on his Manhattan townhouse and moved to Athens to redesign his penthouse there, her feelings had started to change. They took weekend jaunts to his private Greek island. They made love under the stars and shared whispered confidences and laughter, along with bottles of wine. Raised in different worlds, they somehow saw the world the same way. Going to bed with him every night, waking up in his arms, she realized she’d never been so happy.
And one morning, Lacey realized she loved him. Simple as that. She loved him and wanted to marry him.
Before she could even wrap her head around that, the next day, she found out she was pregnant. After that, she could no longer be silent, consequences be damned.
That afternoon, naked in his arms in the bedroom of his villa, with the hot sun on her skin, she’d looked at him and breathed, “Why don’t we get married?”
He’d been holding her naked against his body, one of his hands cupped lazily over her breast, relaxed and content, with sheets still twisted around their ankles from their passionate lovemaking. But at her question, he’d drawn back to look at her, his dark eyes troubled.
Then his sensual lips twisted. “Would that mean a design discount?”
“I mean it.” Her heart was beating fast. Looking up at him, she whispered, “I love you.”
John stared at her in shock, and Lacey held her breath. He was going to tell her he loved her, she thought in desperate hope, and that he wanted to marry her. Then, and only then, she’d tell him she was pregnant. That way, there’d never be any doubt they’d married for love…
Then he snorted. “I’m flattered, agape mou,” he drawled. “But you would make a terrible wife. And I’m not ready to be a father.”
A terrible wife.
Not ready to be a father.
Her mouth had gone dry as ash. “John…”
“Don’t ruin what we have.”
“What do we have?” she said hollowly.
Lowering his head, he nuzzled her neck as he whispered, “Pure pleasure…”
But to his shock, she’d pushed him away. Gotten up from the bed. Returned to New York. Ignored all his calls and tossed the flowers he sent to her office straight into the trash.
Since then, Lacey hadn’t once considered telling John about the baby, or asking him for help. He didn’t love her, he didn’t want to marry her and he definitely didn’t want a child. She was on her own.
But now, looking up at the cold fury in his eyes, Lacey realized her mistake.
“Answer me.” John’s fierce dark eyes seemed to cut through her soul. “Did you have my baby?”
She wanted to lie. To deny it. But as she looked up into John’s black eyes, exactly like her beloved daughter’s, there was only one word she could say.
“Yes,” she whispered.
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