Authors: Fran Louise
HAVING JAY’S BABY
Book Two from the
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Fran Louise on Amazon
Having Jay’s Baby
Copyright © 2015 by Fran Louise
Having Jay’s Baby
Copyright: Fran Louise
First Published: 1
Publisher: Fran Louise Romance
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Adult Reading Material
He was leaning on the door frame when I opened it. Heart beating steadily in my chest, I smiled up at him. God, he really was as hot as I remembered. The clothes were dishevelled but gleamed with reassuring quality; likewise the thick hair, the colour of fields in summer. It was raining outside and he was damp. The incongruously dark lashes were clumped as he watched me with that same reluctant interest.
He rubbed a hand across his face to expel the rain. “Hey,” he said.
I pulled the door further open. “Hi, Jay. Come in.”
He straightened, slid his hands into his pockets and smiled at me. An eddy of air, scented with masculine soap, swirled around me as he crossed the threshold. He looked around the small apartment. It seemed small with his square, intimidating form in the middle of it. “Nice place,” he said, distracted. He turned back to me. “How long have you lived here?”
“A while,” I said. I couldn’t be more precise at that moment, besides, what did it matter? This was probably the first and last time he’d be here.
His eyes narrowed. I let the door slip from my grasp, dimly aware of its heavy weight thudding shut. He was taller than I remembered.
“You know … I didn’t think you’d call,” he said. There was a lilt in his tone, a question in his gaze.
I straightened. “Why?”
“I thought it was—a one-time thing.”
It had been. It had been quick, impersonal … and the best sex I’d ever had in my life. He’d given me his number, told me to call him if I ever had the urge.
“Don’t get me wrong,” he said, wicked indentations in his cheeks. He leaned closer to me. “I’m glad you did.”
My eyes settled on his mouth. He stepped closer. I swayed a little, grazing the wall behind me and clasping on to it with discreet hands. An involuntary sigh gripped me. “Do you want a drink?”
He considered this, shook his head.
Swallowing, I met his ebony gaze. “If you’re hungry, I could-”
“Don’t bother,” he said.
He stepped closer again; there was no space between us anymore, and no air. Okay, so we weren’t going to pretend we cared. Straight to the point, his eyes were scouting my mouth as though looking for an entry point. Then, he leaned down and kissed me.
At first I was mainly relieved the awkward formalities were over and done with. The relief was quickly replaced by a jolt of arousal. It detonated inside of me, shock rippling out. His mouth was cool, and yet oddly searing. He tasted the way he smelled; spiced and subtly perfumed. The overall effect was intoxicating.
“I’m very glad you called,” he said, his lips moving against my mouth.
Darkness swirled around me, a sensual darkness I was familiar with, but that I’d never experienced so intensely before, not this quickly. The sheer alacrity of it smacked of desperation, but I didn’t care. I’d been out of my mind thinking about him since we’d met.
I opened my mouth against his. He stepped closer, easing me against the wall, his hands grazing the sides of my breasts as he navigated the curve of my waist and hips. They settled roundly on my ass.
“Where’s your bedroom?” he asked, his tone distracted.
I waved vaguely towards the back of the apartment. Lifting me, his mouth fused with mine, he lurched towards the galley kitchen. He deposited me on the breakfast bar. I only had a second to catch my breath before he yanked my hips towards him. My thighs slid around his waist, ankles slotting together at the base of his back.
Oh, boy ... he was already hard.
“You smell like lemons,” he said suddenly, pausing to give me a bemused look.
Blinking, I grappled with the controls in my brain. “I do?”
He frowned. To my confusion, and frustration, his eyes roamed my apartment—the appropriately lemon-yellow walls—and then my features. “Are you really a journalist?” he asked.
A breath of amusement left me. Christ, this guy was running at a million miles an hour. “Yes. Are you really a Fitzsimmons?”
He grinned at this, so did I, though I wasn’t sure why. He was so damned good-looking when he smiled that I’d have responded even if he were holding my head underwater.
His mouth hovered close to mine. “You’re not going to gossip to your Page Six people about this, are you?”
The hard heat of him pulsed between my legs. “We don’t have a page six,” I said, distracted.
This made him laugh again.
“Can I give you my life story after we-?” I paused.
His brows lifted. “Sure,” he said, still amused. “If you like, but I have to leave by eight.”
I slid my legs more snugly around his middle. “Then I’ll send you a link to my
Lifting me, he strode towards the bedroom.
She was waiting for me when I arrived in the hotel lobby. Stella Winters … my brain slowed for a second as I took in the sight. The same finely-spaced features stared out at the other entrance in a closed, even expression; assessing, always cautious. A smile touched my mouth; she could be a dark horse, this woman. In three months I’d only scratched the surface. Maybe I should actually be worried?
I was struck by how pretty she seemed; prettier than I remembered. How had I not noticed that before? I recalled a kind of distant, sensuous confidence, too off-beat to be pretty, helped, in part, by a faintly piratical scar on her left cheekbone, which obviously I couldn’t see from this distance. I’d never found out how she got that thing and I burned with a sudden curiosity to know. Why had I never asked?
There were a lot of things I’d never asked…
She was pacing; impatient? Just tense? Probably on a deadline. She checked her phone. Exhaling, unable to put our impromptu reunion off any longer, I started towards her.
She was a little distant, but funny and engaged while we caught up. I could see a lingering curiosity in her eyes. She obviously wasn’t sure why I’d called but she was interested enough to come. It was around ten minutes into the conversation that I finally broached the subject.
She caught on quickly, and then stared at me like I’d just suggested a trip to Mars. “Are you asking me if I had your baby?” she said.
Admittedly, the question had come out of the blue, but her outraged humour was not flattering.
“You said your daughter is three months-old, Stella. She was born last fall, which means she was very possibly conceived in January. My placement in London started in January. January twenty-fourth, to be precise.”
“This is a joke, right,” she said, still amused, her tone too flat for interrogation.
I certainly hope so ...
“I’m not making any accusations,” I said, careful to keep my tone friendly. “All I’m saying is that you and this other guy must have hooked up again pretty quickly after I left.” The light from the nearby fireplace flickered in the depths of her wide eyes. They were narrowing rapidly, but it didn’t stop me from adding, “Or before?”
“No,” she said.
I paused. “No, what?”
Her voice rasped across her throat. She made a blustering sound somewhere between a gasp and a laugh.“No—to all of it.”
“Are you absolutely sure?”
Her short laugh was humourless. “Are you saying I’d have a baby without knowing who the father is? She’s three months-old, Jay!”
“Have you had her tested?”
“For what?” The colour in her cheeks had heightened. “Is that why you asked me out tonight? To hit me with—
I lifted my brows, not sure how to answer that. “It was a mitigating factor,” I said eventually.
“Why would I do a paternity test on my own child, Jay? I know what happened—I know how I got pregnant. You’re not her father.” She sounded riled, but sure. “I’m not saying it didn’t cross my mind—but only for a split second.” Her eyes darted around the room before she met my gaze. “You and I used protection every time. We never made a mistake.”
“No contraception method is fool proof,” I said. I didn’t want this to be true anymore than she did, but I couldn’t just take her word for it.
She stopped, clearly uncomfortable. “This is really none of your business.” Another glance around the quiet room. “Aaron and I had an accident. The condom broke. I got pregnant. The timing was spot on. That’s all there is to it, Jay. You’re not the father.”
The air was thick with heat from the fire. My jaw pulsed, and I realised I was gritting my teeth. I let the tension go with a steady breath.
I’m not the father. Of course I’m not the father.
There had never been any real chance of it, but it was a relief to hear Stella say the words aloud.
“Aaron?” I asked.
“My-” Whatever she’d been about to call him died in her mouth. “Nina’s father. We’re not together anymore.”
“I see. I’m sorry.”
Now that the burning question had been answered, I sat back in the seat and gave her a look over. The small scar was still there. I was perversely pleased that it was. Above it, the shifting blue of those sensuous eyes. That said, there was a certain disturbance about her eyes that I didn’t recall from before. It wasn’t just the discomfort of the topic of conversation. Her attention had been fractured long before she’d arrived in the hotel.
It seemed hypocritical to wonder what it might be. I’d been her lover for less than three months. I’d only barely grazed the surface of what made her life so seemingly busy. She was a journalist, had very little family, and led the same kind fractured, ambitious lifestyle that I did. I’d never asked for any more information. Whatever was making her agitated was none of my business, but I wondered if it was the ex.
Her expression was mottled with distrust. She considered me. Her next words were muttered somewhere in the direction of the bar on the back of an abrupt laugh. “Were you seriously worried about this?”
I felt the weight of my phone in my pocket at the query. “I wouldn’t say worried,” I lied with a smile. “More like, curious.”
“It didn’t occur to you to ask last year?”
“I didn’t know you’d had a baby until earlier this week.”
Indeed, I hadn’t. The text message had been anonymous and to the point, like a little bomb exploding in my inbox. But that didn’t matter now – I had my answer, and it was exactly as I’d expected. Thank God.
The explanation seemed to resonate with her if the short exhalation was anything to go by. She sat back and laid a slim arm across the booth seat. She was slimmer than she had been before. It seemed in line with the faint vibration of anxiety coming from her. Still very attractive though. Would she be willing to continue the evening or had I killed the mood? The chemistry hadn’t abated any, that much had been evident from the second we’d laid eyes on each other in the lobby.
Though I was trying to ignore him, a determined, weaselly-looking man in a cheap suit kept entering my outer vision. I shifted my eyes, my train of thought veering. Damn, I had a meeting with my father in an hour. If Stella was still game, we’d have to be quick.
I glanced at her again in query just as she opened her mouth to speak, but we never actually managed an exchange. Instead, I was forced to turn to the weasel in the cheap suit that had just stopped at our table.
“James Fitzsimmons?” the man said. There was a document in his hand, folded carefully.
“Yes.” Irritation rose in my throat. “Who are you?”
“Your father’s got a message for you,” the man said, tossing the papers on to the table.
Anna was on her feet, all sparking eyes and fluttering hands. “Yes, but you can’t go in, Jay. He’s with a client.”
“In my office?”
“I ... yes, but-” She stalled like a car without fuel.
I didn’t need permission to enter my own bloody office. I stopped momentarily to make sure Stella was all right. “This won’t take a minute,” I said to her, “I’ll be right out, okay?”
I opened the double doors and strode into the large office. What I found made me stop in my tracks. My father—the mighty Abel Fitzsimmons—was leaning over my desk, and under him, a business-suited woman on her knees. I registered the scene, uttered an oath, and turned sharply away. Through the open doors in the outer office I could see Stella still standing, her jaw practically dislocated. I shut my eyes for a moment.
Was this actually happening?
“What the hell are you doing here?” Abel bellowed behind me.
Yes, it was.
“Who the hell told you you could come in?”
Recovering, I turned, hands in fists. The woman was on her feet, and Abel had covered any remaining traces of immodesty, though both of them were flushed.
I pointed at my father. “I want you out.”
“I was waiting for you!”
“The meeting’s cancelled,” I said, voice low. “I want you out. I want you and your girlfriend out.” Anger sliced at me like a sharp knife; I threw the papers the weasel had given me on the desk between us. “A letter of intent to liquidate my company ... really? You couldn’t discuss this with me like a regular board member?”
Abel made a sudden noise at the back of his throat. He turned his attention away from me long enough to glower at the woman. “Get out,” he said. When she remained frozen, he hollered, “Get out!”
He turned on me with a dismissive smile after she’d scarpered. “You’re an arrogant piece of work,” he said in a belittling tone. “Who the hell do you think you are, barging in here? Son or no son, I told your secretary I didn’t want to be disturbed for at least five minutes.”
“This is my office,” I said, my voice reverberating with the same resonance as my father’s. “My company.”
Regaining composure, Abel straightened his back and laughed. “It’s not your company. I own the controlling stock.” His expression settled into pragmatism. “You know what your problem is? You’ve had it too easy. I think it might be good for you if this company goes under.”
I gaped. “Too easy?”
“You heard me.”
“There are nearly a hundred people employed by Fitzsimmons & Jones.” It was a struggle to remain calm. “By what stretch of the imagination would it be good for them if this company goes under?”
“They’ll find other jobs,” he said. He dismissed the notion, smoothing down his tie and peering at the papers on the desk. “I’m not talking about that. What I’m talking about is your ability to lead this company. What kind of leader allows a hostile competitor to purchase controlling stock?”
“This is over – as of now, over,” I said, unable to listen to another second of his arrogant justifications. I’d been listening to his excuses for bad behaviour my whole life. “What you’re doing borders on illegal, and you know it. It’s no better than stock fraud. Asset stripping! I’m not letting you get away with it.”
Abel, as usual, seemed immune to my threats. On the contrary, he seemed bored, already preparing to leave. “All I asked you to do was make a good marriage,” he said. He gestured dismissively to the grand building around us. “I’ve been patient with this—this project of yours.”
“This is my livelihood.”
“Yes, well, the world won’t come to an end if your little firm closes its doors, and neither will you.”
“Have you finished?” I was stiff with anger.
“No, I haven’t finished,” Abel said slowly. The smile was still in place. “Elizabeth Benson is your wife. The Bensons are our in-laws. I don’t give a damn whether or not that suits you; that’s the way it is.” His brows lifted. “You want to keep your firm? Withdraw that divorce petition.”
I strode towards the door. Outrage peaked like a flash of lightening in my head. Before I could leave I turned back to my father. “What gives you the right,” I asked, my voice rasping, “to come in here and tell me how to run my company—or my marriage, for that matter?”
“Because you’re my son,” Abel said, putting his phone into his pocket as though he were concluding any normal meeting. “And you have my name. If you want that entitlement, you have to earn it. It’s time you learnt that.”
“I don’t want your goddamn name,” I said, turning. “I told you to get out. You have ten minutes, and then I’m calling security.”
It took a while for my blood to settle. Anger was still pounding through my veins as we exited the parking garage. It thudded like a thoroughbred’s hooves on wet grass, turning up clumps of dirt and tossing them in all directions, making a jumbled mess inside my brain. Stella’s low, even voice wafted through the chaos, a shaft of unexpected calm.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” she asked for at least the second time.
I glanced at her belatedly, offering a tight smile. I’d barely said a word to her since we’d left the office.
“Your dad seems like a piece of work,” she said when I didn’t answer.
I laughed, even though I wasn’t really amused. “You’ve got that right.”
“Who was that woman?” she asked.
“That,” I said, “was his P.A.”
There was a pause, loaded with reluctant humour. “I’d like to see that job description in writing,” she said eventually.
I smiled despite myself. I made some non-committal noise of agreement. Looking back out at the busy night streets, I suddenly realised I’d automatically headed to the park, towards my apartment. “Wait a minute,” I said, slowing the car, “where am I going?”
“I’m not far,” she said, pointing west. “You can drop me at the metro. It’s only a couple of stops.”
“You’re not in Brooklyn anymore?”
“I bought a place in Manhattan last year,” she said proudly. “A brownstone. It still needs a ton of work, but—you know…” I caught her smiling. “It’s beautiful; right near the park. I have a big old table in the kitchen, and an original Aga; a little kitchen garden to look out over…”