Why did you propose, then?” John said coldly.
A lump lifted to Lacey’s throat. “I told you,” she whispered. “I proposed to you because I loved you.”
His handsome face looked shocked, and then furious. It might have been amusing, if the situation hadn’t caused Lacey so much anguish and heartbreak.
John parked the stroller with the sleeping baby and grimly came toward her.
“You have a strange notion of love,” he bit out. “Leaving without explanation. Stealing my child. Keeping her secret for a year.”
“I thought it was for the best.”
“For all of us.”
John stopped just inches away from her in the shadowy penthouse, lit only by moonlight. His powerful body towered over her, broad-shouldered and muscular in his sleek suit, and she shivered. All her hot dreams of him for the past year came disturbingly close to the surface as she felt the heat emanating from his skin. She breathed in his scent, sandalwood and musk and something distinctly him.
Her traitorous body trembled, wondering what it would feel like if he took her in his strong arms. If he kissed her. If he did more than kiss her.
Shivering, Lacey looked away. Desperate to create a distance between them, she turned, looking around the suite. “So this is the penthouse suite of the Campania. I can see why you’d stay here.”
“I sold the townhouse.”
“Yes. I heard.” She ignored the pang in her heart, recalling all the hours she’d spent redecorating his Upper East Side townhouse, where they’d first fallen… No, not into love. She couldn’t say that, but at least fallen into bed. So much pleasure and lazy laughter and delight. All turned into ash.
Lacey tried to smile, to make polite conversation when she felt sick inside. What would John do now that he knew about Taffy? “It’s a lovely hotel,” she stammered, hardly aware of what she was saying. “My company is actually cosponsoring a charity ball here tomorrow with the owner—”
“I didn’t bring you here for small talk,” he said flatly, looking ruthless and fierce, his rigid jaw dark with five o’clock shadow, his eyes black as night. “I return to Athens tomorrow. I’m in the middle of a hostile takeover.”
“You’re leaving New York?” she breathed.
His jaw twitched as he gave a hard nod.
Relief went through Lacey so great, she almost cried. Because she knew how ruthless John could be. Especially when his pride was at stake.
But in spite of all his fine words about wanting to be Taffy’s father, he was leaving.
The thing she’d most dreaded, that he’d find out about their daughter, had happened. But it wasn’t going to change their lives after all. Lacey would be able keep the life she had with Taffy, which if it wasn’t entirely happy, it at least wasn’t sad.
It had taken her so long to get over John. She still wasn’t completely over him, if she was honest. Her greatest fear was a custody battle, but even if that hadn’t happened, having John around on a daily basis, wanting him, part of her still loving him, would have been more painful than she could endure.
But John was going back to Athens tomorrow. She exhaled, trying to hide her relief. “Oh, that’s a pity.”
“Yes. For you.” His eyes glittered. “Because you’re coming with me.”
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