The Texas Tycoon's Baby

By: Crystal Green



So she became that woman for them.

“I know every one of you is going to impress Chet when he gets here,” she said, avoiding the clock on her desk that counted down to the moment he’d be arriving. “So go to it.”

And they did, leaving her alone in her cream leather-and-teakwood office, which sat right next door to the one Chet would occupy.

Even without him there, she felt him.

But, really, wasn’t he with her in a sense?

She adjusted her jacket over her tummy as nerves surged through her. The last thing she wanted to do was tell him she was expecting, and that’s why she’d been putting it off for as long as she could while he was off on all those business trips. That family scandal of his had done its work, chipping away at him until he was only a shell of the man she’d fallen for all those months ago, when he’d first appeared at the Group’s offices.

How would a man who was having such issues with his illegitimate birth react to the news that he was having an out-of-wedlock baby?

A car’s beeping horn tugged at her attention, and she went to her long window, where a view of the pure blue Utah sky and the ridges of the claylike mountains reached toward the heavens.

Her pulse started jogging double-time now, but it wasn’t exactly the breathtaking scenery that did it.

In the near distance, Chet emerged from the back of a town car, shutting the door without waiting for the driver to do it for him. He sauntered over the stone-lined path leading to the offices, his cowboy hat pulled low over his brow, his shoulders wide, his chest broad under a long-sleeved Western shirt. He walked like a man in charge of everything around him, but from the way his gaze was shadowed, Mina knew better. Even from here she could imagine the darkness that turned his blue irises to a midnight hue, that made him resemble a mysterious—and dangerous—man huddled in the corner of an Old West bar, one hand near his holster, the other resting near a half-empty drinking glass.

Just a glimpse of him made Mina go weak, light and floaty in a nerve-racked way that also caused her to feel more alive than ever before in her life. A little sob wrestled itself down in her—she was so glad to see him. So scared.

Now that they’d be spending some quality time together, she would have to choose the right moment to tell him her news.

If there was a right moment…

He disappeared from her view, entering the administrative building, and her heartbeat got louder, as if the ground was vibrating and sending thunder through her veins.

All she could think about was that night… Or, more to the point, the moments after they’d made love, when the world had come crashing down around her.

But now wasn’t the time to think of that, especially when she heard him at her doorway.

She exhaled once more, turning around and telling herself not to look as if she had a secret that might send him running.

“Long time, no real see,” he said, leaning against the door frame, grinning, as if he was happy to confirm that she’d made it here from San Antonio safely a few days ago when he’d sent her ahead to inspect the property before he arrived.

Mina’s insides did something like a thousand individual back bends, tying her up.

Was it because there was something in his gaze? A pow that turned the dark blue of his eyes into a second of firework brightness?

Was he remembering how perfect they’d been for each other just when he’d needed someone to hold him and ease him?

Mina had seen the same pow in him a couple of times since then, during car rides to or from the airport where she would debrief him on the run, or during their frequent long-distance teleconferences. But she could never be sure.

They’d never mentioned that night again. And she’d never told him that the condom he’d worn hadn’t worked.

“How was the flight?” she asked.

“Just fine. I can’t stand being cooped up though, even if I’m taking the corporate jet. There’s something about being in an enclosed place, especially thousands of feet in the air where I don’t have the choice of getting out.”

“Sounds like a man who misses the open range.”

He smiled, doffing his hat and holding it by his side, as if remembering the old days, before Abe had called him down to Texas from the comfort of a Montana cattle operation. Chet had sold his holdings to go to work for the Barron Group—a move that he’d made after finding out about Abe’s cancer.

That was even before Abe had told Chet about his true parentage though, before his world had broken open. Mina couldn’t imagine what that kind of news would do to anyone—making them doubt all the truths a person had ever known, shattering their trust in the people they depended on for honesty.

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