Draco couldn’t believe she was dismissing him! Usually, he was the one to make an exit. He didn’t know whether to be annoyed or amused. He settled for amused. He didn’t want their parting, however brief this time, to be tainted by any sour words between them. But when he came back he planned to absorb all her attention—to the extent that she wouldn’t want to be without him again.

“Ciao, bella. Until next Wednesday.”

“Take care, Draco.”

Her attention was already back on her computer screen before he’d even left the room.

“It’s a bugger, isn’t it?” Gustav said at his side.

“What is?”

“That she’s so absorbed in her work.”

“A minor problem, si. But nothing that can’t be dealt with,” Draco replied confidently. With any luck she’d miss him as much as he knew he would miss her in the next few days. It would make his suggestion to her when he got back that much easier to implement.

“Well, good luck, buddy. You’ll need it. She’s married to this place, you know.”

“We will see about that.”

He would definitely see about that, Draco decided as his driver pulled away from the front of the restaurant.

Blair picked up the phone and dialed her father’s number. He deserved to know that tonight could be the night they’d all been waiting for.

“Dad!” She said the second the phone was picked up, not even waiting for his gruff “hello,” then gushed with the news that Bill Alberts could be reviewing them that night.

He was understandably excited for her, and apprehensive. As they finished their call he said, “Well, good luck for tonight, honey. I wish I could be there with you. What about your man, will he be there?”

“Dad, Draco’s not my man, he’s just—” Blair hesitated, unsure and unwilling to peg a title to exactly where Draco fit into her life right now, let alone examine her growing feelings toward him or how difficult it would be to say goodbye when he returned to his homeland.

“A friend?” Her father laughed in her ear. “Be careful, Blair. He doesn’t strike me as the kind of man who takes ‘friendship’ lightly.”

“I know,” Blair sighed, “but it will be okay. He’s away at the moment, and when he gets back? Well, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”

A few minutes later, when she hung up, she wondered just how tricky that bridge would be to negotiate. He’d been so Italian today, expecting her to drop everything and just be there with him at his behest.

She stared at the wall calendar. Five nights he’d be gone. Five whole, lonely nights. She wouldn’t bother going to his apartment, even though she had a key. She preferred the familiarity of her flat, if she was going to be alone.

It was time she changed for work, she thought, flicking a glance at the wall clock, when her eyes drifted back again to the wall calendar. Something wasn’t quite right, she thought, looking back over the past two months. She was missing the annotation that marked the start of her period. It wasn’t a big mark, just something she did to keep track, out of habit. But since her trip to Tuscany, nothing.

She searched her memory, had she had a period and forgotten to mark it up?

A cold chill settled on her shoulders. No. She knew she hadn’t had a period since about a week before she’d gone away. But she’d faithfully taken her pill. There was no way she could be pregnant, could she? She counted two weeks forward from her last period and her finger stopped slap bang in the middle of the week she’d spent at Palazzo Sandrelli. The week that should never have happened. She’d forgone the balance of her culinary tour for the pleasure of being with Draco. Besides, she’d learned so much more from his chefs than she’d have picked up elsewhere.

So what had happened? Was her cycle so out of whack because of the travel and how busy she’d been since her return? But she had been, and still was, on the pill.

Her stomach flipped uncomfortably, reminding her of the nausea, the dizzy spells.

No. She couldn’t be pregnant.


“So, you’re saying that because I didn’t take my tablet at the exact same time every day, being the time I would take my tablet here in New Zealand, that I was unprotected?”

Blair fought back tears as she tried to simplify what her doctor had told her. She’d already left a urine sample with the nurse, but if what her doctor said was true, she had a horrible idea she knew exactly what the result of the pregnancy test would be.

“Blair, you are on a very low dose contraceptive. You were aware of that at the beginning, weren’t you?”

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