Excerpt: The Secret Baby
He wanted revenge… And she wanted… Him!
Now Available! The Secret Baby
Sable sensed him long before she saw him. She didn’t need to turn around and search the crowd of faces behind her. The elevator was too packed to allow it, anyway. But she knew he stood behind her. Somewhere.
She could feel the heavy touch of his gaze stroking along her spine as surely as if he’d reached out and put his hands on her. She closed her eyes, fighting her instinctive reaction. It had been so long since she’d felt the insidious yearning only he could arouse, felt the subtle clenching of inner muscles that signaled his presence. Her hand tightened on her briefcase and her breathing grew shallow. How could she still feel this way after five long, lonely years?
The elevator stopped and the doors parted, releasing a small wave of people, before drawing more in, pushing her deeper into the car and closer to him. She shifted to one side and risked turning her head a fraction, allowing her gaze to drift casually over the occupants behind her. She stiffened. A man with distinctively streaked tawny hair stood with his shoulder braced against the back wall. Her heart pounded and acute fear momentarily robbed her of all thought, leaving behind blind panic—and a desperate, instinctive need to escape. Only the press of people held her in place.
Dear lord. It was him.
Her nails bit into her palm, the pain sharp and cruel. She barely noticed. All her attention was focused on him—and on what his return might mean. She drew in a shaky breath, forcing herself to suppress an almost overwhelming emotional response and to think. Think, damn it! she silently ordered. Why had he come? He’d only bring more misery. Misery and danger, danger should he discover all she’d kept hidden from him these past five years.
She faced forward. He didn’t move, the distorted reflection from the copper-tinted doors told her that much. Instead he continued to lounge against the rear wall, waiting… Waiting for what? For the car to empty? For them to be alone? If she got off at an earlier floor, would he follow? She knew the answer to that. If she got off, he would too. And he’d know she’d panicked because of him. She didn’t dare give him that much of an edge. Still, the pivotal question remained, scraping across sensitive nerve-endings like a serrated blade.
What did he want?
The next stop brought another influx of passengers and to her horror she found herself forced farther and farther back until she stood just in front of him.
“Sable,” he said in a husky undertone, the sound of his voice stirring fragments of bittersweet memories. When she didn’t respond, he placed his hand at the small of her back. His fingers slipped over the soft rose silk of her skirt, closing on the narrow curve of her hip. He tugged her against him. “Or should I say, Mrs. Caldwell?”
She couldn’t pull loose, they were packed in too tightly. “Stop it!” she ordered, keeping her voice whisper-soft. She shot a quick glance to either side, relieved beyond measure to discover that the people nearest to them were caught up in their own quiet discussions. No one was paying the least attention to her.
Floor by floor the elevator progressed relentlessly upward. The moment a space opened in front of her, she tried to step forward, but he stopped her. He tightened his hold, pulling her deeper into his embrace, the warmth of his body cutting through the silk of her suit. His hand shifted to her waist, his fingers sliding beneath the bottom of her jacket and splaying across her abdomen, moving in an insidious caress. “Not yet, my love. I’m enjoying this too much,” he murmured, his breath stirring the curls at her temple.
She forced herself to stillness, not daring to say anything, not daring to draw attention to her predicament. She simply waited while the elevator dispersed passenger after passenger, moving ever upward toward her office on the executive floor. She felt like a mouse trapped in a cage with a ravenous tomcat, with nowhere to escape. Claustrophobia mounted with each stop they made, with every breath she drew. His soft laughter rumbled in her ear and she knew he found her helplessness amusing.
The car eased to a halt once more and the final occupant departed. It seemed to take an eternity before the doors slid closed, sequestering them in the small metal cubicle. Not waiting another moment, Sable ripped free of his hold. Then, gathering every bit of strength, feeling more vulnerable than she had in a long, long time, she turned and faced him.
Damien Hawke. Her former employer, former lover… And the father of her four-year-old son.
“Hello, Damien,” she managed to say in an even voice. “You always did have the most objectionable ways of making your presence known.”