Martinez's Pregnant Wife(5)

By: Rachael Thomas

There was no escaping it now, no easy way to break this. She had to tell him—right now. The suspicion in his eyes warned her of that.

‘Be sure of what, Lisa?’ Max demanded, the tension in the air ratcheting up, almost suffocating her.

‘I…’ She tried to form the words, but his jaw clenching in anger snared her attention and her words dried up.

‘What, Lisa?’ His voice thundered and inside she jumped as he stood up, tall, powerful and demanding.

The words failed her as she looked up at him, her heart thumping hard in her chest. She tried again. ‘I’m pregnant.’

* * *

Max’s world rocked violently. Not for the first time today he was unable to utter a single word in either English or his native Spanish. He’d thought she’d come to ensure he would sign the divorce papers, to tell him she’d moved on, had a new lover, but her words still ricocheted through him. Lisa was pregnant? His estranged wife, the woman he’d turned his back on, was carrying his child? A child he hadn’t wanted, a child he wasn’t ready for, not when everything from his past was thrusting into the present with the force of a tidal wave.

He focused his attention on the woman he’d married, the woman he’d never be able to love after learning at a young age that such emotions hurt. His mother had loved his father and that had hurt her—badly. He’d loved his father and when he’d walked out it had almost ripped him apart. He could still hear his harsh parting words echoing from the past, taunting him with the one thing he’d steadfastly refused to acknowledge since that day.

Never forget you have Valdez blood in your veins.

Ever since then he’d tried to forget. He’d been resolutely determined to have nothing to do with the might of the Valdez banking family. He’d been entirely successful until a lawyer had contacted him, informing him of his father’s death. Then his half-brother had done the same and now the whole sorry mess was splashed over every damn newspaper.

He pushed his childhood memories back, but didn’t take his eyes off Lisa as she stood there, holding her nerve, those green eyes locked with his. She was more than a match for him. The only woman he’d ever known who didn’t hang on his every word, didn’t simper and giggle in an act of coyness. Lisa was real and honest. She’d grounded him, made him believe he was worthy of more than one-night stands. Then she’d told him she’d had a job offer in America and he’d known he couldn’t let her walk away, that he had to try and open up to her, to love her.

That was why he’d married her, but very quickly he’d realised that had been a mistake. A big mistake. They didn’t belong together, they should never have married and he cursed the weakness of his desire for this redhead, which had driven him to make her his wife.

Finally he found his voice. ‘Pregnant? What about the pill?’

He couldn’t be a father. He didn’t want to be a father, didn’t want to take the risk that he’d be the same as his father, that the Valdez legacy would rear its ugly head. Now it had. In more ways than he could believe possible.

Lisa was pregnant. From one careless night. How could she calmly stand there and tell him as if it were just one of those things that happened?

‘I think you have some explaining to do.’ He growled the words at her, annoyed at her reluctance to say anything else.

She pulled out a chair and sat wearily at the table and he could clearly see just how pale she was beneath her make-up. Unease and worry threatened but he pushed them savagely away, along with the fear of the past, as he sat opposite her. She clasped her hands in front of her on the table. His gaze lingered on her long slender fingers and the glitter of the diamond engagement ring and band of gold he’d placed on her third finger over a year ago. She still wore his rings? Why, when the divorce papers he hadn’t yet signed were on his desk at home? Had she put them back on once she’d realised she was carrying his child?

‘We had a lot of wine that night, Max. I guess suffering the after-effects of that had an effect.’ She paused and looked at him. ‘It wasn’t something I even considered until I realised that I could be pregnant.’

Did she seriously think he’d buy that? Too much wine? ‘A few glasses of wine?’

‘It was more than a few and you know it.’ Her hot retort fired back at him, much more like the Lisa he knew, then she blushed, the colour bringing life to her cheeks. ‘I was ill after I left.’

He narrowed his eyes as he replayed that night in his mind and then the morning after. He recalled how his head had been splitting in two, how every noise had made him wince, especially the slam of the door as Lisa had left. He’d made several cups of coffee that morning before finally being able to drink one. She was right. They had drunk far too much wine. Or had that been a cover up for the sudden defrosting of his estranged wife? After all, she hadn’t needed much persuasion to return to his bed.

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