Martinez's Pregnant Wife(8)

By: Rachael Thomas


‘You’re right,’ he said firmly and looked up at her. ‘First I will meet my brother and then we will sort this out.’

He made their baby sound as if it were a little mistake that could be swept to one side, but she kept her nerve, hid her pain and looked him in the eye. ‘So when are you going to meet him?’

‘He’s here now.’ The curtness of his reply shocked her as much as what he’d said.

‘Here?’

‘No, in London. We have a meeting planned for today.’

‘And he thought it would be a good idea to blast it all over the British papers on the very same day?’ Furious loyalty suddenly sprang up inside her and she couldn’t keep the spike of venom from her voice. What kind of man would do such a thing?

‘I’ve read it over several times and I don’t think he is responsible. He would be dragging his own name through the dirt too. He’s been accused of blackmailing a woman into an engagement. Maybe by meeting him I will discover just who is responsible for this.’ He picked up the newspaper again and glared at it.

‘So you are going?’ She frowned at what he’d just told her, the puzzle over who would gain from leaking such a story taking her mind from her own problems.

‘Yes, but first we have things to sort out.’

‘What things?’ She curled her fingers together; the engagement ring she’d picked out with such enthusiasm and hope for the future cut cruelly into her palm as it turned on her finger. Was that a sign they were doomed? Whatever duty and honour kept them together?

‘Our marriage. How we are going to make this work.’

‘Our marriage is over, Max.’ She didn’t dare mention that once she’d loved him so much she’d thought nothing could ever change that. If she mentioned the word love now it would push her over the edge, even if it didn’t do that to him.

‘Not until I return the signed papers saying I agree to the divorce and right now I have no intention of doing that.’





CHAPTER TWO

‘YOU HAVE TO AGREE.’ There was a hint of panic in Lisa’s voice and Max realised how much work he would have to do. Whatever Lisa had once felt for him, it was gone. Maybe she even hated him. But what of the passion of that night two months ago? Didn’t that count for something?

‘You are expecting my child, Lisa. What kind of man would I be if I didn’t contest the divorce?’ The words were out before he’d had a chance to check them, to rationalise the deeper level they came from.

The door to the bar burst open and a group of office workers entered on a rush of cold winter air, their revelry matching the season but not his mood. He glanced one last time at the newspapers, the image of the father he hadn’t seen for years and that of the brother he’d never met staring up at him. That particular problem would have to wait.

He pulled his heavy wool coat on, his eyes meeting the question in Lisa’s green ones. ‘We can’t talk about this here.’

‘There is nothing else to talk about.’ The passionate retort fired hotly back at him as the group of men and woman laughed loudly at their private joke. This was not the place to have such a discussion.

Max moved toward her, inhaling her perfume, its light floral scent taking him far from the coldness of winter in London. The determination to do what was right by his child made his words sharper than he intended. ‘That is where you are wrong, Lisa. We have a child to talk about. Our child.’

‘A child you don’t want.’ This time her hot words were barely above a whisper.

He looked at her, the rising noise levels of the lunchtime crowd now arriving only increasing his anger, his frustration that she was so hell-bent on pushing him away, out of his child’s life. ‘A child I hadn’t planned on ever having, but that will not stop me from being a father.’

Anger at the way his father had so willingly turned his back on him rushed from the past, threatening to drag him back into the pit of hell he’d lived in as a teenager. All those doubts, the questions, the hatred and the overwhelming sense of worthlessness swirled around him. In one breath it made what he had to do completely clear and in another it clouded it completely.

‘Let’s get out of here.’ He took Lisa’s arm, ignoring the startled look she shot at him as he propelled her toward the door.

Outside the cold winter wind, as it whipped wildly around them, the hint of snow wrapped up in it, matched his mood. He sucked in a deep breath and, still holding Lisa’s elbow, marched across the car park toward his car. He pressed the remote and the orange lights flashed as the car unlocked.

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