Lacey sucked in her breath.
Once, she’d dreamed about becoming Mrs. John Drakos. But that was when she’d loved him. When she’d actually thought he might love her back.
“You once said I’d make a terrible wife,” she said in a small voice. “What’s changed?”
John’s eyes glittered in the moonlight shining through the windows of the penthouse suite. “You know what.”
She looked toward their sweet, plump-cheeked baby, sleeping peacefully in her stroller. “Taffy?”
“She deserves my name. She deserves a stable home and two parents.” He paused. “So we’ll marry.”
And that was his idea of a proposal, she thought bitterly. He didn’t even try to pretend he actually cared about Lacey. He just wanted to possess her, to secure her as an accessory to their baby, in the same way he might buy a crib or hire a nanny!
Drawing a shaking breath, Lacey shook her head. “Thanks, but no thanks.”
His cruel, sensual lips curved. “You weren’t always so reluctant to marry me.”
“And you made me pay for it,” she said coldly.
“I would understand you wanting to marry me when you discovered you were pregnant.” His dark eyes glinted. “Why won’t you admit that’s the reason? Why do you cling to what is obviously not true—that you loved me?”
Lacey swallowed. She wondered what he’d say if he knew her final humiliating secret—that she’d never stopped yearning for him. If he knew, he could crush her completely.
Clinging to her self-respect, she lifted her chin. “You once said that love was a fairy tale and only idiots married for passion.”
His jaw tightened, as if he saw through her evasion. But he said only, “What I might have believed in the past is immaterial. Only Taffy matters now. I’ve already missed six months of her life. I don’t intend to miss another day.” Looking down at Lacey, he added huskily, “Or another night.”
Beneath his dark gaze, a flash of unwilling heat went through her body.
Could he mean…?
No, he couldn’t still desire her. She was sure he’d forgotten her the moment she’d left his bed. All right, so he’d called and sent flowers after she’d left him. But that wasn’t because he truly wanted her, she told herself fiercely. He’d probably just never had a woman leave him in his life. John Drakos just couldn’t bear to lose.
“No. I’ve had a lot of time to think about it and you were right.” She took a deep breath. “Marriage between us would be a disaster. I can’t be the type of woman you want.” She lifted her chin. “And you can’t be the man I want, either.”
John moved closer to her, towering over her, his body inches from hers. “If you say you don’t still want me, Lacey,” he said softly, searching her gaze, “you’re lying.”
His gaze fell to her mouth, and a current of electricity went through her body. Her lips tingled with anticipation, her nipples tightening. Involuntarily, she started to sway toward him.
Then she straightened, clenching her hands at her sides to keep from reaching for him.
“You’re right. I do want you,” she said in a small voice. She looked up at him fiercely. “But I’ll never marry you.”
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