Brazilian's Nine Months' Notice

By: Susan Stephens



 ‘You should have stayed in London.’

 She recoiled at his tone. What business was it of his? Then she remembered the offer to become his short-term mistress. Did he think that had been a better prospect for her? If he did, he was alone.

 That sensible determination wasn’t enough to stop her mind taking off in one direction while her wilful body took off in another, and only one of those places was safe.

 ‘You must be paid a lot less here than my company paid you in London.’

 ‘Money isn’t everything, Senhor Marcelos.’

 ‘But it helps. And please call me Luc. I think both of us are grown-up enough to handle this situation, aren’t we?’ His steely stare homed in on her face.

 Firming her jaw, she shrugged. ‘I like it here. I’m happy here. I’ve got friends around me—friends who are waiting for me in the ballroom right now. So, if you will excuse me?’

 Luc made her a mock bow. ‘Forgive me for monopolising you. I will escort you back to your friends.’

 Every second she spent with him was torture, because every second she spent with Luc was an opportunity to tell him about the baby, but could she really do that here, in a crowded hotel corridor?

 ‘So, Emma, do you live here permanently now?’

 ‘Not exactly here.’ She glanced around. Luc’s staff quarters were known to be some of the best in London, but though this hotel was comfortable in the public areas it was a lot less so in the parts the public never got to see. ‘I really should be joining my friends.’ She breathed a sigh of relief as Luc ushered her forward towards the dazzle and the noise of the party. They walked together, close but not touching—still close enough to make the women from the cloakroom gape and stare. If only they knew, they wouldn’t be jealous, and she wouldn’t be falling for Luc’s brutal charm a second time. Satisfied she’d got everything in hand, she risked a smile as they parted.

 ‘You look pleased with yourself,’ he said.

 And you’re a practised seducer, she thought, her heart thumping wildly as she took in the suspicion in his face. ‘I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening, Senhor Marcelos.’

 ‘You too, Ms Fane.’

 She would enjoy her evening. Lucas Marcelos would have to look elsewhere for his entertainment tonight.





                       CHAPTER TWO

 HE WOULD HAVE known her anywhere. The bolt of lust he’d experienced in London was back. Emma Fane had invaded his senses again, making the ache in his groin a permanent fixture. Hearing her scream with pleasure in his arms seemed to have happened moments ago. He had wanted to lead her from the wedding reception, not towards it—find a quiet room where they could continue what they’d started—but for some reason he had sensed that she was holding him at bay.

 His lips pressed down as he thought about it. He never bedded the staff. Emma had been an exception. Something about her had driven him to possess her, and as he entered the ballroom now, his hunting instinct sharpened as he spotted her right away. One taste of Emma Fane could never be enough for him.

 ‘This is your table, sir,’ the waiter said, distracting him.

 He thanked the man, who had recognised him immediately. The seat was perfect. It gave him an excellent view of Emma. Seated between the bride and the chief bridesmaid, she appeared relaxed and animated, not a bit like the girl who had confronted him with such icy self-control outside the cloakroom. Of course she would have changed, he mused, trying to make sense of her manner. He’d learned only after she’d left his bed of the tragedy that would have brought her down to earth with a bump. Losing both her parents in a car chase with the police, only to discover they had been criminals on the run, would have been enough for anyone. The Fanes had been selfish and uncaring of their only child, by all accounts, but that didn’t stop a person hunting for love, even if they knew their quest was hopeless.

 When he’d first seen her, Emma had been full of fire, but she looked exhausted now. The job here, he reasoned as he studied her. She was more composed than she had been in London. An attractive air of maturity had settled over her, as if life had taught her some harsh lessons and she had come through. She’d been wild the night they’d wound up in his bed. Her zest for life had been contagious. Now he guessed her behaviour that night had been an attempt to blot out the pain, he suspected that Emma had used him in an attempt to forget.

 That piqued his pride. It made him all the more determined to seduce her—to have her want him for more than forgetfulness. But why was she still here, working a job with no future? Surely she could have stayed in Scotland for the funeral and then returned to her job and the training course in London? Was she trying to avoid him? And, if so, why?

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