The Millionaire Affair

By: Jessica Lemmon



His heart lurched in a not entirely uncomfortable way. A baby. He clutched the book to his chest, still hidden behind the sad bouquet of dyed purple and pink and royal blue daisies, and forced the words out of his throat. “Can I come in?”

She pushed a lock of long, brown hair away from her face and shook her head.

Okay. She was angry. But he could get past angry. He’d thought a lot about their predicament, about the unexpectedness of raising a child while they were in college—of getting married way, way sooner than he’d planned. She’d have to drop some classes as her pregnancy advanced, though he knew she’d insist on working after. Meanwhile, he’d hustle to finish his degree. He’d landed an internship at an ad agency in Chicago that sounded promising. The two-hour train ride from campus would be inconvenient, but he was willing to commute. When the internship turned into a career, she could finish out her degree and he could balance the rest. They’d make it work.

Rachel, like him, was far too logical and pragmatic to allow her future to be compromised. Besides, people dealt with unexpected pregnancies all over the world, all the time.

We’ll make it work, he told himself again.

“Come on, Rachel. Let me in. It’s one in the morning and I’m standing out here getting eaten by mosquitoes.” When she didn’t smile, he said, “We need to talk.”

“There’s nothing to talk about.”

Was she joking? There were fifteen things to talk about. He knew because he had a typed list in his back pocket. “Yes. There is,” he told her. “Plans need to be made. Plans for us.”

“There is no us,” she said, her face a placid mask.

He blinked, taking in her puffy, red eyes and curled upper lip. She was… leaving him? What was she going to do? Raise his child without him? No, no. He wouldn’t allow it. She was angry; saying things she didn’t mean. First, he’d talk his way into her room, give her the name book, then pull out the list he’d made and they would work this out.

“If not for us”—he swallowed thickly and tried again—“then for the baby.”

She lifted her chin, her eyes filling with tears. “There is no baby.” She shot him the coldest, hardest glare he’d ever seen. Landon’s heart dropped into his stomach, the air snagging in his lungs.

Then she slammed the door in his face.





CHAPTER ONE


16 years later.

Another shout sounded from beyond the bathroom door and Landon reached out and silently flicked the lock. He didn’t know how long he could remain in here undetected, but it was worth a shot.

“Hang on,” he said into the phone.

His sister, Angel, chuckled. “Where are you, anyway? You sound all echoey.”

He pressed his cell phone to his cheek and lowered his voice. “Echoey is not a word. I’m hiding in the bathroom.”

She barked a laugh. “From our nephew? Landon, really.”

“I think I bit off more than I can chew,” he mumbled, pacing the tiled floor. On his second pass between shower and sink, he noticed the ruckus that had driven him in here had stopped. Suspicious. He shushed Angel and held his breath, pressed his ear to the door to listen. Nothing. He unlocked it and poked his head out.

“Hello?” she whispered.

“He’s gone into stealth mode,” he said quietly. She erupted into another fit of laughter. “Send reinforcements.”

Tiptoeing in his socks through his bedroom, he sidled along the wall and around the dresser. Back pressed against the bedroom door, he peeked into the hallway.

“Rawr!”

A blur that may well have been his life flashing before his eyes nearly took Landon’s head off. He stilled the object with one palm—a plastic light saber—and Lyon grinned up at him, a gap where one of his front teeth should be. Thankfully, the tooth had been missing when he got here.

“You’re dead!” Lyon shouted.

“Not in the hall.” His voice held a comical tremor. “You’re going to break something.” Like my nose.

“Okay!” With that, Lyon turned on a heel and went tearing down the hallway, swinging the light saber with renewed vigor.

“Do you want Auntie Angel to talk to him?”

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