Copyright © 2016 by Khristina Atkinson
Connecticut, January 2016
The euphoria of her new marriage, and the impending arrival of a new baby in seven months, kept Kate’s mind occupied for the most part. The holidays had been an additional and welcomed distraction, but were now over. Occasionally, she would drift back in time to her encounter with Howard Kensington. Why did she lose all control of her mind and her body when she was with him? He was certainly powerful and exuded confidence. She had to admit he was sexy as hell.
Her mother had been able to resist him, so why did she end up being weaker? For heaven’s sake, she was Julia Hollingsworth’s daughter with a father cocky enough to steal her mother away from the man. He sired and raised her to follow in his footsteps. Where was her resolve?
She should have drawn from the courage and strength of her parents. Instead, she became a helpless female beguiled by his masculine appeal. She couldn’t figure out her strange attraction to him, and maybe she didn’t want to. Still, the memories of their single tryst haunted her.
When Kate’s grandfather informed her that Howard insisted on a face-to-face conversation, she had a hard time covering her apprehension. There was no way she could be alone with the man after what had happened a little over a month previously. Her pregnancy hormones had turned her into an animal in the bedroom, consumed with satisfying her carnal lusts and desires. Nathan was up for the task of being her love slave and never complained, but he was her husband. Their relationship was finally doing well, and she had no intention of sabotaging her happiness by going anywhere near her previous lover.
Her thoughts were suddenly sidetracked to the hours of sheer bliss spent in his arms, and the way she'd responded to a man she barely knew that afternoon. Concentrate, Katherine Elizabeth! You have to come up with a legitimate excuse not to meet with Howard, and it has to be believable to Grandfather. She reached down and touched her stomach, which only served to remind her of the child they’d conceived on that fateful day.
“Katherine dear, do you have any idea why Howard is hell bent on meeting with you?”
“The man makes everything sound imperative. He probably just wants to ask me some more questions about his charity work. Give me his number, and I’ll set something up.” She would simply ignore Howard. When her grandfather brought the subject up again, she would blame pregnancy brain for her forgetfulness.
Leo placed a call to her cell several weeks later after she’d eaten lunch with the children and her grandfather. Nathan had a mysterious appointment.
She felt the need to answer. “Hello.”
“Kate, I need to see you. It’s important. I don’t want to discuss this over the phone. Can you come over?”
“I’ll be there soon.”
The butler, Milton, greeted Kate and led her toward the living quarters. When he swung open the double wood doors, she could see Leo, standing in the drawing room as he waited for her. She had been worried about his recovery from his addictions since the day she returned his engagement ring, but he looked well—really well as a matter of fact. The man was breathtakingly handsome. He motioned for her to have a seat and came to sit beside her on the sofa with two refreshing glasses of iced tea. He immediately brought to her attention that her beverage was decaf. Her ex-fiancé always thought of everything.
She was nervous and started drinking immediately. “Leo, why did you want to meet?”
“I don’t know how to tell you this. I overheard my grandfather and Howard discussing you. For some reason, my uncle thinks the baby you’re carrying is his. Would you like to explain why?”
She took another long sip of the tea and tried to evade the question. “You must have misunderstood him. Nathan is my baby’s father.”
“Katie, I have known you were lying to me since the last time I saw you. You should never have told me all your secrets.”
She tried her innocent act once again, but was perfectly aware of exactly what he was referring to. They had discussed in detail the ways to detect a liar. “I swear I’m telling you the truth.”
“Are you willing to swear on your unborn baby’s life?”
“That’s not fair.” She stood to leave, and he gently grabbed hold of her arm.
“Princess, if Howard really is this baby’s father and has figured out the truth, you’re going to need my help.”
She slumped back down on the sofa in defeat. Leo was right. If she couldn’t persuade her dear ex-fiancé, then all Howard would have to do was stare her down with his intimidating glower. A full confession would fall effortlessly from her mouth. She took another sip of her drink before helplessly pleading, “Leo, what am I going to do?”
“You’re going to sit here with me until we come up with a solution to your dilemma. Now how in the world did you get yourself in such a predicament?”
She let out a deep, long sigh. “Why are you being so nice to me? I had sex with your uncle while I was engaged to you. I didn’t even have the courage to tell you what happened.”
“Do you love him?”
He touched her hand. “Do you still love me?”
Kate tried to elude his eyes, but he reached for her chin and gently lifted her face to meet his gaze. She took one look in his gorgeous blue eyes and responded without thinking. “Yes.”
Memories flooded her mind of every passionate, romantic moment they’d ever shared. Flashes of their kisses and dates, and both of his proposals, swept quickly before her eyes. His lips were moist and delicious as she pressed her mouth to his. Stop, Kate! You’re married to Nathan!
He already had her in his arms and was carrying her up to his bedroom while smothering her lips with fervent kisses. Damn those pregnancy hormones! She wanted to make love to him so badly.
The door was closed and locked. Kate was lowered onto Leo’s bed, and he was removing her clothes. Her mind tried to scream out once more that she had a husband, but the effort was futile a little too late. He had already entered her and was making love to her. She could feel his body moving up and down in a slow rhythmic motion. His kisses were flaming her yearning and passion. Her hands grasped his shoulders tightly, and she arched herself to take him deep within her. Soon, they both exploded together with a vehemence that she was certain surpassed anything she had ever experienced.
As Kate lay breathless next to Leo, staring at his naked body, she could feel the heat rising within her once again. She climbed on top of him and began their coition with more intensity than the first time. As she desperately ran her fingers over his muscular chest and arms, the evidence was quite apparent that he kept working out in the months since their break-up.
Leo had wanted to make love to Kate since the day he met her. The fear that he wouldn’t be able to perform in the bedroom was what previously held him back. He hadn’t even taken one of his pills. Not rising to the occasion would have been the perfect excuse for him to back out of his arrangement with the devil—also known as Uncle Howard. The woman he desired more than anything in the world had proven to be able to hold his sexual interest not once, but now twice. His shaft was holding up quite well. As she rode him and started to moan, he could feel the pressure building again. He erupted inside her and the deep moans from both of them resounded in his ear.
They were both exhausted from their physical exertion and fell asleep in each other’s arms. Kate woke up to Leo’s kisses on her lips. When she became fully conscious and gazed into his loving eyes, she was horrified at what they had done. “Damn it, Leo! I have to get home before Nathan sends out a search party.” She crawled out of the bed and began getting dressed.
“Are you going to tell your husband what happened?”
“No! And you have to promise me that you’re not going to say a word.”
“Usually wealthy married men have a mistress. What’s the man called when a woman does this sort of thing? Lover sounds so common, and I am a Kensington—let’s not forget. That term will never do. Perhaps, inamorato is more fitting.”
“You’re not the least bit amusing right now.”
“Seriously, Princess, I love you. I’ll never stop. I want to be angry at you for sleeping with Uncle Howard, but I can’t. I won’t mention a word of this to Nathan if you agree to meet me again.”
“I can’t do that. You need to forget this ever happened.”
“I’m willing to say whatever you want to appease you, but it’ll only be a lie. Don’t tell me you can forget any more than I can. We belong together. Why didn’t you simply tell me the truth and admit you had an affair with my uncle and got pregnant? How could you think I wouldn’t forgive you?”
“I can’t even forgive myself. I told Nathan he had to marry me, because you’d never be able to accept my baby. Now I’ve made a total mess of my life. I just cheated on my husband. It’s something I vowed to him I’d never do. This was a horrible mistake.”
“Like the mistake Nathan made with Melanie when you were married to him the first time.”
“I don’t ever want to talk about her. We’ve put the whole mess in the past.”
Leo slipped on his underwear and circled his arms around her waist. “I’m sorry, Kate. If you want to stay with Nathan for the time being, I guess I’ll have to accept your decision. I’ll wait for you forever if I have to. I’m not going anywhere.” He placed a sweet kiss on her lips.
She had to get away from him before she fell victim to his seduction once again. “I have to leave. We’ll talk later.”
Leo wanted to feel remorse for going along with his uncle’s nefarious ploy, but it worked. Howard had sworn the drug wouldn’t hurt the baby. The only effects were simply to intensify Kate’s libido, which apparently was all he needed for her to make love to him. She had also confessed she loved him. He was still bothered the drug also worked for his uncle. What the hell were her feelings for him?
He had to put those concerns out of his mind and concentrate. Howard had suggested the option of getting Nathan out of the way for good, and he didn’t want the man’s demise on his conscious. If he was going to win Kate back, he didn’t want the murder of her children’s father weighing on him for the rest of their lives. He would prove to his uncle that such extreme measures wouldn’t be necessary. She would soon be his. As long as he had the drug for sexual arousal, she didn’t stand a chance.
Fortunately for Kate, Nathan wasn’t at home when she returned. He tried to quietly slip into his chair at the dining room table when the family had almost finished their meal. She had already become irritated by his unaccounted for absence and questioned more sharply than she intended. “Where have you been?”
“Jaeger Cove’s police commissioner is retiring. I just had a meeting with the mayor. The job’s mine.” His wife didn’t appear to be thrilled for him. “Aren’t you going to congratulate me?”
Kate managed a slight smile and tried to reply with conviction. “Congratulations, sweetheart.”
She didn’t actually think he was going to stay at home with her and raise their brood together, but they had discussed him going back to college and finishing his law degree. They could have been partners at their own law office after the children were all in school. He took this job without a word to her.
“I know what you’re thinking, Angel. It’s mainly a desk job. I’m going to be around for a long time. You’re not getting rid of me.”
If he only knew what was really going on in her brain. She couldn’t stop reminiscing about her afternoon rendezvous with Leo. At least, she wasn’t fixated on her tryst with Howard anymore.
Kate was playing with the boys when she received a text from Leo. “I miss you already. All I want is to be able to hold you in my arms all night. Maybe someday soon. Love you.”
How was she supposed to respond to his message? Her husband was sitting in the floor right across from her. Leo was a recovering addict who had now been clean for a year and a half—no thanks to her. Not only had she lied to him when she broke off their engagement by saying Nathan was her baby’s father, but he managed to find out the truth on his own.
Instead of turning to alcohol and cocaine, he decided to help her. How did she repay him—by practically attacking him and proceeding to have sexual intercourse. She was becoming quite the stereotypical heiress, taking everything she coveted in life without caring about the consequences. Kensington men were apparently at the top of her list.
When Nathan came to bed that night, Kate pretended to be asleep. He gently kissed her shoulder. Then he raised her hair up and lovingly pressed his lips to the back of her neck. Every ounce of willpower in her body almost wasn’t enough to stop her from rolling over and kissing him back. She simply couldn’t face him after what she had done.
The next morning Kate was awake and out of bed long before Nathan. She had a hard time sleeping that night. Cheating on her husband was eating away at her. She wondered if he had suffered the same guilt and remorse with his mistress.
Nathan’s first day at his new job was hectic. He glanced up from his desk as someone entered. Just what he needed—a surprise visit from Melanie. His greeting was ice cold. “If you’re not here on official business, I have nothing to say to you.”
“I wanted to wish you luck with your new position, but I’m also here to do you a favor.”
“I don’t need any more favors from you. Did you honestly think I wouldn’t figure out you were the one who sent the DVD to Kate? You recorded us having sex and blew my marriage apart.”
Melanie leaned over the desk for emphasis, and having her breasts exposed more provocatively didn’t hurt her cause. “Don’t try to blame me. Did you think your wife was never going to find out about us? I only hurried the process along.”
Nathan swallowed hard. “Tell me why you’re here and go.”
The effect she still had on him was obviously reflected in his eyes. “I overheard Aunt Deirdre talking to my father. Howard suspects Kate’s baby is his. He wants to pursue a relationship with her and has asked my aunt for a divorce. He’s a very powerful man, used to getting what he wants.”
Nathan interjected, “He can’t have my wife.”
“We’ve been through a lot together. I’d like to think we can still be friends, and you obviously need someone to talk to. Would you like to tell me how your wife ended up pregnant with Howard’s baby?”
Nathan still didn’t trust Melanie. “He’s not the father. I am.”
She persisted. “Are you sure?”
“The timing is all wrong with Howard. We’re both a hundred percent positive.”
“Well, someone needs to tell Uncle Howard before he breaks Aunt Deirdre’s heart for no reason.”
“Is that all you need? I’m kind of busy today. You can show yourself out.”
Melanie leaned back against the door as soon as she shut it and briefly closed her eyes. She had done her part in the deception. Nathan didn’t confess that he wasn’t the father, but she had laid the groundwork for the scheme to work. It was now up to Howard to finish the job.
Paige rushed into the office. “I’m sorry, Commissioner. I tried to stop her, but when I grabbed her arm, she rather loudly announced that she was a lawyer. She threatened me and the whole department with a lawsuit.
“Don’t worry about Melanie. No one could have stopped her.”
Paige went back to her desk. Nathan’s new assistant was a blonde haired, blue eyed beauty, but almost young enough to be his daughter. His own wife had been near her age when they first met, and he was ten years older at the time. After being introduced to her at the start of his day, he thought she was going to be the biggest problem he’d have to deal with. Faced with the possibility that Kate would be jealous, he briefly considered finding a replacement. The girl seemed competent enough, and he couldn’t fire her simply because she was attractive.
Nathan had to get his mind off of Melanie’s revelation and back on business. He quickly concluded why Lloyd Delaney had retired. In fact, his resignation was probably forced. A morning conference with the mayor, Barrett Somers, revealed news that Nathan wasn’t thrilled to hear.
The mayor’s appearance closely matched his attitude. He was average height and stout with hair a little too gray for him to only be in his mid-fifties. A permanent scowl was affixed to his face. He had appeared to be a little more jovial during their initial meeting.
Reports of corruption within the police department had recently hit the news. The mayor wanted something done about the problem and fast. Maybe Kate had been right about pursuing a career as a lawyer. He hastily dismissed the idea. If he had become a lawyer, he wouldn’t have all the fun of catching the bad guys.