Martinez's Pregnant Wife(6)

By: Rachael Thomas

Max put one elbow on the table and pressed his hand over his eyes. Could life get any worse? He’d discovered a family he’d never known of, or even had any desire to know, after his father’s death. Now it was being played out through newspaper headlines, but, worse than any of that, he’d created a new generation to add to the Valdez family. One he did not want.

He looked down at various copies of today’s newspapers spread out on the table before him. Each headline different, but saying the same thing. He looked again at the newspaper on the top. His throat tightened as he read the headlines again. Bold black words screamed from the page, hurtling him into a past he’d rather forget, colliding wildly with a future he didn’t want.

Billionaire’s Illegitimate Heir Found!

‘Max?’ Lisa’s question sounded far off and he fought to get himself back under control, to be in charge of a situation that was escalating with alarming speed.

He couldn’t speak, couldn’t say anything to her, not after the way she’d deceived him—tricking him into being a father.

‘Max? What is it?’ She reached out and slowly pulled the newspaper round so that she could read it. He looked up and watched her lashes lower as she read the headlines, annoyed that his thoughts rushed back to the times he’d watched her sleep. To the morning, just moments before she’d left him. How could such a beautiful and beguiling woman be so deceitful? How could she do this to him? And why now?

She looked up at him, her soft green eyes full of shock. ‘This is about you. You have a brother?’

He pressed his lips firmly together. ‘A half-brother.’

In the same day he’d found his connection to Raul Valdez, the billionaire banking tycoon, had been plastered everywhere, he’d been told he was to be a father. Was he in the middle of a nightmare? If he opened his eyes would it all go away?

‘And you never knew?’ Lisa looked at him and he was certain she hadn’t known any of this. He could see so many questions in her eyes but was grateful that she didn’t ask them now. Hell, he didn’t even know the answer to any of them himself. All he could think about was that he’d done exactly what his birth father had done. He’d created a child he didn’t want.

‘No, but that is not important now. We need to discuss the baby.’ Saying that word made it so real it came out in a growl of harshness and he saw her sit back away from him as if he were the devil himself. He hadn’t wanted it to sound so cruel.

‘There is nothing to discuss.’ She pushed back her chair and stood up, forcing him to look up at her. ‘I’m going to have your baby, but you needn’t worry, I won’t make any demands on you whatsoever. You made it very clear when you walked out on our marriage that any kind of commitment is very much off the agenda for you.’

‘Sit down, Lisa.’

‘No.’ She buttoned up her coat and he knew if he didn’t get this right, didn’t say the right thing she would walk out on him—again. Only this time she would take with her his child, a child that would grow up wondering where in the world its father was and why he didn’t want them in his life. He knew only too well what that was like and didn’t want that pain, that rejection for his child.

‘We need to talk about this. Sit down, Lisa.’ Anger simmered in his voice and he bit down hard, stopping himself from saying anything else. Something that would make this even worse than it already was. He needed to sort things with Lisa, then he could deal with the other avalanche that had crashed into his life. His brother.

‘Why? So that you can tell me it’s not what you want and walk away from me again?’ The truth of her words stung. Just as the truth of the headlines smarted like salt in an open wound.

He wanted to demand to know why she’d let this happen, why after living apart yet working together professionally she had agreed to have dinner with him, turning it into a date, then a one-night stand. Inwardly, he savagely cursed. He’d been the one to invite her to dinner, the one to suggest that avoiding each other wasn’t professional. After all they were both shareholders, both had a stake in the club. Neither of them could just walk away.

‘I don’t want children and this is why.’ He picked up the newspaper and shook it, anger making his movements sharp. ‘It’s all here.’

‘You are not the only one to have had a bad childhood, Max.’ His gaze snapped to hers and the one and only time they’d discussed her childhood surfaced from his memory. The way she’d told him she’d hated the family arguments, especially at Christmas.

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