His Expectant Ex(8)

By: Catherine Mann

“I guess I’m not the total ass you seem to think I am.”

“You’ve questioned my hours at work often enough.”

He’d quizzed her about time with her boss more than once. Sure Ross Ward had a playboy reputation, but damn it, Sebastian should have known she could be trusted. She’d been hurt by his unfounded suspicions. He vowed he could read the truth in people’s eyes, but he’d sure missed the boat on that one with her.

He folded his arms over his chest, the swivel chair squeaking back. “Are you trying to start a fight by bringing up Ross Ward?”

“Of course not. There’s no point. With DNA tests, it’s easy enough to prove paternity these days.”

Sebastian stood and paced away, resting his palms on the window ledge. His broad shoulders stretched the dark suit jacket as they rose and fell heavily. “We’re having a child.”

It still seemed surreal to her, too. “If all goes well.”

He pivoted hard and fast toward her. “Is something wrong?”

“I don’t think so, but I only just ran a home pregnancy test this morning.”

He closed the steps between them. “You’re two months along and just figured it out today? You haven’t even been to a doctor?”

She fought the urge to stand and jab him in the chest. She would probably just faint at his feet again anyway. “Don’t raise your voice at me.”

He snorted on a laugh. “Now that’s a switch. Usually you’re the one shouting.”

“Sit down and listen, please.” She waited until he took his seat beside her, which placed his thigh and arms temptingly against hers.

Marianna swallowed hard and forged ahead. “I know it sounds strange, but at first, I couldn’t bring myself to believe I’m actually finally pregnant.”

“That’s what you wanted to talk to me about next week.”

“Yes, once I had a chance to confirm it with a doctor.”

She waited while he processed the information. This wasn’t going nearly as badly as she’d feared. Maybe in spite of all the harsh and hurtful words they’d tossed at each other over the years, they could be civil when it came to their child.

Sebastian slid his arm along the back of the sofa, almost touching her shoulders. “I still don’t understand one thing.”

She fidgeted, trying to ignore the warmth of him moving closer. She could not, would not let hormones muddy the waters between them, peace and objectivity all the more important with their child’s happiness in the balance. “What’s that?”

“If you took a pregnancy test this morning, why didn’t you tell me before the final divorce decree?”

Everything went still inside her until her pulse grew all the louder in contrast. So much for hoping this would go well.

She should have known he wouldn’t let that part pass, and maybe his driven persistence was the very reason she hadn’t told him. What if he’d tried to stop the proceedings? Her heart had been bruised enough by this man. She couldn’t have withstood hearing him say he wanted to stay married for the baby, especially since he’d only married her in the first place because of an unplanned pregnancy.

“Sebastian, this doesn’t change anything.”

“Like hell it doesn’t.”

She rose, at the end of her tether and in need of distance. “I will be in touch with you after I see my doctor.” She scooped up her portfolio and inched toward the door. “We have seven months left to settle visitation and child support.”

Just that fast, he stood behind her at the door, his breath hot on her scalp. “That’s not what I’m talking about. Do you really think I would have gone through with the divorce if you had told me?” He skimmed his knuckles along the back of her neck with a persuasive gentleness at odds with the terse edge to his words. “Or was that your intent all along in keeping this a secret? Making sure you could cut me out as much as possible?”

“That’s not fair.” Although she couldn’t ignore the grain of truth in what he’d said, she also knew she’d made the right choice. She turned to face him—and draw his enticing caress off her skin. “We were getting ready to contact divorce lawyers before when we heard about a baby girl coming up for adoption. We stayed together for Sophie, and it didn’t make any difference. If anything, we grew farther apart afterward. I can’t—I won’t—go through that again.”

“Don’t—” He held up a hand, his face tight, cold. “Don’t bring up her name just to derail this discussion.”