The American Heir(The Billionaire Duke Series Book 4)(54)

By: Gina Robinson

I privately suspected that the late Mrs. Bird had known something and had refused to accept a Chinese-looking daughter. She wouldn't have been able to pass Sid off as her biological child so she didn't want her. And Sid's mother probably had few choices but to abandon her.

My great-grandfather had, in reality, been a kind man to take care of Bird's child and place her in our loving home. Whether he'd intended to use her as a pawn later, I could only speculate. As I'd thought before, there was no way of knowing she'd develop the anemia in her teens. Without that crucial illness, he would have had no control over me.

As it was, with Sid's cure in hand, my great-grandfather, the Dead Duke, had nothing to hold over me any more. I could walk away from my crazy marriage now. But I wouldn't. Of course I wouldn't. I was madly in love with my duke and his castle. It was even better now that the castle was as much part of Sid's heritage as it was mine.

Sid and Riggins had carried on, planning the gender-reveal party while I recovered. Which was how I found myself standing beneath a beautiful white marquee with a cake cutter in my hand. Before me was the most elaborate ten-tiered cake I had ever seen. It was covered in handcrafted gum paste flowers in blue, pink, and white. Flowers in varieties that we grew on the estate. And the ducal crest tied with blue and pink ribbons.

Riggins stood next to me.

"Judging from the crowd, it looks like the entire village, and half of London, turned out." I took a deep breath.

He nodded and whispered in my ear, "It's a big deal to them. Rose and your PR team did a great job of getting the media to turn out."

"I'm so nervous, I'm shaking." I smiled at him. "In any case, no matter the outcome, it is a good human interest story. I must be the only expectant mom in history who doesn't know the sex of her baby before anyone else and has to find out at her own gender-reveal party." I bumped him with my shoulder. "I can't believe you've known since the accident and wouldn't tell me."

"It's more fun this way." His eyes twinkled.

"You would say that."

"I love you," he whispered. "You promised me, boy or girl, we stay together."

"Absolutely. There's no way I'm reneging." I kissed him lightly. "Do you think I'd give up my dukedom?"

He laughed.

"Stop snogging and cut the cake!" someone yelled.

"You heard your people." Riggins covered my good hand with his warm, steady one. "All right. All right! Here we go!"

A dozen or more cameramen gathered in front of us, poised to snap a picture of us cutting the cake. If the color of the cake was pink, we were having a girl. Blue, a boy.

"Ready?" Riggins whispered to me.

I nodded.

"On the count of three!" he yelled.

The crowd began counting. "One. Two. Three!"

We slid the cake cutter into the cake, cut a thick slice, pulled it out, and flipped it onto a plate for everyone to see as cameras flashed around us.

"Blue!" Riggins held the slice out to the crowd. "We're having a boy! We have an heir!"

The crowd erupted in applause. I felt like my knees might buckle.

Riggins took my good arm to steady me. The other one was still in a cast. Tears filled my eyes.

"Surprised?" he asked.

"The blue crumbs gave it away as we cut in."

He pulled me into his arms and kissed me as a shower of blue balloons and confetti rained down around us. Servers took over cutting the cake. A group of young people began passing out blue flowers to all the women in attendance. A band began playing.

TV monitors had been strategically placed around the tent. They now showed the ultrasound of our baby with his boy bits highlighted and circled.

"He's going to hate you for that when he's grown," I said to Riggins.

He shrugged. "He'll probably hate me for a lot of things. That's part of being father and son."

Which I hoped meant he'd forgiven his father, at least a little. Riggins had said that his father had gone back to South America, where he spent most of his time when he wasn't haunting our tower. But there was a part of me that wondered if he was really still lurking around the grounds, watching the festivities and smiling over having a grandson.

Riggins pulled me into his arms and kissed me thoroughly as I rested my hand over our baby.

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