Brazilian's Nine Months' Notice

By: Susan Stephens







                       CHAPTER THREE

 LUC MARCELOS. SEX GOD. Damaged hero, according to the press, though whatever that meant had been carefully hushed up, Emma reflected as she hurried about her final tasks of the day.

 That was another advantage of being as rich as Croesus. If people wanted to feed at his trough, they had to kowtow to Senhor Marcelos. Yes, there’d been talk about his past—nothing specific, a few high-profile affairs and some mammoth business deals. He let certain gossip get through on purpose, she suspected, so that the things he really cared about remained hidden. She could see something swirling behind his eyes and knew she wasn’t imagining it, because she had the same hurt and shadows in her own stare. They were both private people who relied on themselves and no one else, but she couldn’t pretend that Luc’s shadows didn’t intrigue her, or that she wouldn’t like to know more about him, what made him tick.

 Must she always go looking for trouble?

 Apparently, yes, or she would have found some excuse not to service his room. One of the other chambermaids at the hotel would have jumped at the chance to take over from her.

 Why didn’t she ask them?

 Not a chance.

 It didn’t matter how dangerous Luc might be—while he was here she couldn’t stay away from him. There was a good reason for that. She had to find the right moment to tell him about the baby, and at some point he would leave Scotland for destinations unknown. Luc had homes all over the world, and could go to any one of them. Before he left she had to talk to him. He was hardly going to leave her a forwarding address.

 When her shift was over she ran up the back stairs to her room. Her thoughts were still just as confused. Her main aim was to be a good parent, and to be as honest as she always had been, which meant coming clean with Luc, but each time she saw him her head reeled and her thoughts scrambled. How was she supposed to form a sound judgement about a man she only knew by reputation?

 It didn’t help that Luc seemed to think she was still that girl he knew from London, the girl who would go to bed with him at the drop of a hat. He couldn’t know that things had changed radically for her since then. She’d been half-crazy with grief and shock that night and in her furious despair had found release and pleasure with him, but her reality had changed and she had no excuse now.

 Safe in her tiny box room beneath the eaves, she lay on her narrow cot and thought about Luc... Luc naked. Luc looming over her, bronzed and immense, his wild black hair waving around his face, his stubble thick, his mouth firm and curving in a wicked invitation to sin. He hadn’t needed to seduce her. She had been seduced at her first sight of him. He had made her body sing. He had inhabited every part of her, mind, body and soul, and with pleasure had come oblivion, which was all she’d craved.

 So she had no excuse for still wanting him. She was back on her feet now and had more sense. She should steer clear—except she couldn’t, because there was a baby to consider now. Sinking down onto the edge of the bed, she frowned, trying to imagine a situation where they could face each other and talk sensibly. It didn’t seem likely they ever would. Luc had never been interested in conversation. She had to change that.

 How?

 Luc had a world of women at his beck and call. How was she going to persuade him that becoming a father would be so much more rewarding?

 She shivered as memories of her own father came flooding back. He hadn’t wanted her. He hadn’t changed his life for her. However hard she had tried to win his love, he had rejected her. Was that what she wanted for her child?

 She had to clear her mind and stop panicking. It was better that her child knew its father, rather than that it grew up searching and hoping and hunting for some elusive role model that didn’t exist. And she had a nest egg to build up fast. She couldn’t afford to lose this job. She had to provide a good home for her child. That was more important than anything else.

 Examining her reflection in the mirror, she straightened her uniform and smoothed her hair. She took pride in what she did, and that wasn’t going to change, but she had to face facts. Lucas Marcelos was fabulously wealthy with an aristocratic lineage stretching back to antiquity. She was the last in a long line of black sheep. How likely was it that Luc would take her seriously when she told him about their child? He was more likely to think she was trying to scam him and get money out of him with the news that she was pregnant. But she knew the truth and could hold her head up high. And she wasn’t the first of her friends to deal with a bad boy.

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