The American Heir(The Billionaire Duke Series Book 4)(7)By: Gina Robinson
I wanted my old life back. The one where I expected people to let me down and women to sleep with me for my money. It was the betrayal that hurt the worst. Haley had seemed so honest.
Oh, shit, of course I knew who was behind the leak to the media. Rose. Who else? Haley would have told me about the baby, probably sooner rather than later. I didn't know Rose's exact motives, but revenge was a probable cause. She didn't understand that I wouldn't want her, even if given the opportunity. I could have chosen her, had I been inclined. Or so I'd thought at the time.
As nasty as it was, I couldn't get the niggling concern out of my mind that Haley had gotten pregnant on purpose. Yeah, I knew I was complicit. But…I shouldn't have had to wear a condom every damn time when she'd assured me she was on the pill. Was that all a ruse?
I read her text again.
Don't say it. Don't ever say that you don't want this baby. You'll regret it forever.
I swallowed hard, gulping back my guilt and thinking about my old man. Did I have any sympathy for him now? What if he hadn't wanted to be a father either? Was that an excuse worthy of not manning up to the task?
Was Haley right? Would I regret it? Anger was a nasty, blinding beast, and I was furious right now. There was more to her text.
You can say whatever else you want to me or about me. Yell and scream. Call me names. Even threaten to throw me out. But don't reject your child. Don't pass that legacy on.
And whatever else you're thinking or imagining, I didn't plan this pregnancy. I didn't trap you into anything. I'm as surprised as you are.
Surprised, was she? I was in shock.
But I'm already in love with this baby. Partly because it's yours. Yeah, you big douche. Get over yourself and I think you'll come to your senses.
I know. It's the shock. I've had longer to get used to the idea. Give it some time to sink in and you'll realize this is the best thing that ever happened to you, too. This isn't how I wanted you to find out, but it is what it is.
And as for you and me, read the letter. We're fated to be together.
Thanks for the bra and panties. Won't they be a scandalous addition to the duchess' jewels?
I smiled despite myself at her attempt at humor, picturing future duchesses parading around in their tiaras and diamond underwear. Very dignified. The other dukes may have had their extravagances, but diamond and jeweled lingerie? That was a new excess.
My amusement was short-lived. I scowled. Damn her. My heart pounded. I swallowed hard. I wanted her worse than anything. So desperately I was feverish for her. I wanted her to be guileless and telling the truth. I needed her to be the Haley I'd fallen in love with. Which raised the question—assuming Haley was telling the truth, how did our birth control fail?
I read Clara's letter for the third time.
Rans, you dead bastard, we've both been taken in by women. Two women who look eerily alike.
I called Sid, still trembling. I had to tell her about the baby before the news reached her. I'd always imagined telling her in some fun way. Curses on Rose for ruining things.
I glanced at the clock. It was the middle of the afternoon in Seattle. Sid would be out of class and hopefully someplace she could talk.
When she picked up on the second ring, I nearly collapsed with relief.
"So. Are you wearing that diamond-crusted bra Riggins is rumored to have bought before he jumped on a plane and raced to you?" she said.
At the sound of her voice, I almost cried. I missed her, obviously, but I hadn't realized just how much.
"What?" I was momentarily caught off guard by her flippancy.
"Oops! Obviously not, I guess." She laughed. "I hope I didn't spoil the surprise. If he bought it for a mistress, I'm going to kill him myself."
"Since when did his underwear-buying habits become public?" I bit my lip.
"Since he became a duke and a billionaire. It's all over the entertainment news." She laughed again. "So is it true? Are you wearing diamond underwear right now?"
"Not exactly. Though I can confirm I'm in possession of a jewel-encrusted lingerie set." I paused, hoping that the underwear was all that had been in the American press and that social media hadn't picked up the British story. Poor Riggins. It was hard to keep a surprise secret.
How much had someone been paid for the diamond underwear story? At least Rose wasn't the prime suspect this time. "Has anything else about us been in the news?"
"No." There was a suspicious frown in her voice. "Is there something I should know?"
"I'm pregnant," I blurted inelegantly. "Half of England already knows. Don't blame me. Rose sold the story."
Before Sid could either squeal with delight or chastise me, the whole story tumbled out. Everything. Clara's letter to the Dead Duke and all its contents. Riggins walking in. The bruised roses. The bra and panties in the box. I seemed unable to stop myself.