Pride & A Pregnancy Secret [Secure]
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by Tessa Radley
Description: "I'm having your baby." They were words she would never speak to her lover, Ryan Blackstone, Australia's richest gem dealer. For Jessica Cotter was his secret mistress, with him only for torrid sessions behind the drawn drapes of his bachelor bedroom. She had no future with the man whose mantra was 'No kids, no carats.' Though she knew the rules, Jess had broken them. Now she had no choice but to walk away from Ryan ... unless the man with a heart as hard as diamonds could learn to love her back....
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Silhouette Desire,
eBookwise Release Date: February 2008
92 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats [Secure - What's this?]: OEBFF Format (IMP) [304 KB]
GEOGRAPHIC RESTRICTIONS: Available to customers in: US, NZ, SG, TW, ER, GQ, LS, MG, MW, SD, SN, HM, MN, GD, JM, LT, SI, BY, FO, TR, PS, BM, AS, IO, SB, FK, SR, AF, FJ, CA, ES, PR, PH, BF, EG, KE, NG, RE, BV, TF, GE, KP, MV, PK, TL, BQ, HT, KN, CZ, CH, GI, IS, RS, SJ, BH, MH, NU, BO, AD, AL, AE, GF, MX, FR, IT, BE, CF, DZ, EH, GN, MA, MZ, SO, TD, TG, BT, KG, NP, VN, IM, AW, BB, CW, EE, LU, VA, IQ, QA, KI, PF, TK, AR, PE, AM, NI, KR, VI, UM, KM, MR, NA, NE, TN, TZ, KH, TJ, GG, LC, CY, FI, GR, HR, MD, JO, KW, OM, SY, YE, CC, FM, GT, MY, CD, CG, GA, ZA, ZM, ZW, MM, DM, GP, TT, VG, DK, HU, IE, LV, PT, SE, MC, ME, NO, IL, LB, GL, CK, GU, NR, PG, CL, GY, BL, BZ, DE, CN, BJ, CM, CV, GM, SH, UG, HK, UZ, GS, PN, SX, AT, AX, BG, MT, RO, BA, LI, MK, RU, PM, CX, PW, VU, CO, SV, UY, AU, BR, JP, BI, BW, CI, SL, BD, BN, ID, IN, LA, MO, TH, TM, MS, BS, CU, DO, MQ, TC, VC, PL, SM, UA, SA, TO, WF, HN, PY, NL, DJ, ET, GH, GW, LY, ML, MU, RW, ST, SZ, AZ, KZ, KY, MF, SK, JE, IR, MP, NC, NF, TV, WS, CR, EC, PA, VE, LK, AG, AI What's this
"It's time to wake, sleeping beauty." The voice was deep, dark and achingly familiar.
Jessica Cotter's eyelashes fluttered in response. A masculine hand cupped her shoulder and stroked her skin. Her lover's touch. Warm and secure under the down duvet, Jessica gave a small moan of contentment and snuggled deeper under the bedclothes.
"Wake up, Jess."
Even through the mist of sleep she sensed him coming closer, bending over her. Instead of kissing her, he pulled the covers back. Screwing her eyes tightly shut to resist the onset of the day, Jessica curled into a ball and murmured a protest.
Then she caught his scent. One hundred percent pure male. Turn-on sexy. A hint of the heat they'd shared in the dark of the night still clung to the air. The protest became a soft moan. She shifted against the sleek satin sheet, stretched a little. Her body arching toward him, her eyes still closed, she waited for his touch.
His fingers tightened on her flesh. This time he gave her shoulder a little shake.
"Get up, Jessica!"
She opened her eyes. It took a moment to get her bearings.
Ryan Blackstone's penthouse.
The morning of his father's funeral.
Howard Blackstone's funeral. Little wonder Ryan wasn't in the mood for—
"Wipe that. You don't need to get up yet." He interrupted her thoughts. "I'll shower first. I need to get moving. Take your time."
Jessica sat up, wide awake now, and reached for the covers intent on hiding her suddenly inappropriate nakedness. She need not have worried. Ryan was already turning away.
She collapsed back against the pile of pillows and felt a hollow heaviness filling the pit of her stomach. The sound of the shower hissed in the bathroom. A sideways glance at the clock on the bedside table revealed that it was much later than it should be…. Damn, she'd overslept.
They both had.
The running water stopped. Jessica didn't move. She waited. The bathroom door opened and Ryan emerged, towelling his dark hair, surrounded by steam billowing out of the bathroom behind him.
He was utterly, unashamedly naked. His wide chest bare, his narrow hips lean. The most gorgeous male she'd ever known. Jessica watched furtively from under her lashes as he glanced at the Seamaster on his wrist, made an impatient sound and headed for the walk-in closet.
She closed her eyes.
God, this was going to be difficult.
"Are you asleep again?" Even with the hint of impatience, his voice was deep, a sexy rasp that never failed to ignite her senses.
Her eyelids flicked open. Immaculately dressed in a dark suit that contrasted with the crisp white cotton shirts he preferred in Sydney's February heat, he was picking his way through the clothing they'd torn off last night and dropped on the floor. Jessica felt herself flush at the memory. He must've read something in her face because his eyes darkened with secret knowledge and he came toward her. He reached the bed and bent over her, planting a muscled arm on either side of her, and his eyes softened.
"You are the most tempting woman in the world," he murmured.
He smelled clean and fresh—of soap and man. "And you're easily tempted?"
"I could stay here the whole day."
His words cast a shadow over her thoughts. So much would happen today. Howard Blackstone's funeral…the will reading…the discussion she needed to have with Ryan. Yet, despite everything hanging over her, he was irresistible.
One last kiss. That's all, she promised herself. Jessica threaded her arms around his neck and tugged.
"Hey." He landed on the bed beside her, his face so close to hers she could see the jade hue of his irises, the verdant richness that never failed to set her heart pounding. His jaw was tanned and smoothly shaven, his features strong and bold.
His hand stroked a tendril of hair out of her eyes. "You look tired. Pale. There are shadows under your eyes this morning. I shouldn't have kept you up so late."
"No problem." She forced a smile to conceal her worry about him. Their predawn lovemaking had held a certain desperation. The disappearance of his father's jet and the subsequent recovery of Howard Blackstone's body had blighted Ryan. On her part, the desperation came from other causes…a sense of time running out.
She changed the subject. "You're meeting Ric before the funeral, aren't you?"
At the mention of Ric Perrini, interim chairman of Blackstone Diamonds and his sister's husband, Ryan's mouth tightened into a hard line. "No. I'll have plenty of time to talk to him afterwards."
Jessica hesitated, then said softly, "Today is going to be hard on Kimberley as well." Ryan's sister had returned to Australia after her father's death having spent the previous ten years working for Matt Hammond, the son of Howard Blackstone's most bitter enemy—his brother-in-law, Oliver.
Jessica almost said, "Go easy on her," but bit the words back at the last minute.
Ryan wouldn't want her counsel. She was only his lover, after all, not his wife.
Heck, she was less than his lover—she was the secret mistress that no one was supposed to know about. With a touch of dark humour Jessica wondered what people would say if they knew that the cool blonde who ran Blackstone Jewellery's Sydney store in the day came apart in the boss's arms under the dark cloak of night.
Shock. Horror. A Blackstone sleeping with a lowly member of staff? A mechanic's daughter living with a groomed-for-greatness millionaire?
Copyright © 2008 by Tessa Radley.