Certainty and something like a fatalistic dread settled inside her. Though maybe for the first time, she began to understand her parents’ thinking; she wasn’t about to play that kind of game with Zephyr.

She quickly finished her shower, dressed and pulled her hair into an easy ponytail, rather than styling it. She bypassed makeup and exited the en suite bathroom a good ten minutes ahead of schedule.


Zephyr was just closing the door behind their roomservice delivery. He turned to her with a sexy smile. “Breakfast is served.”

“Perfect.” Should she tell him now, or wait until later?

“You look a little shaken,” he said with a frown of concern. “Did you see a spider in the shower, or something?”

“Please. I’m not even a little arachnophobic.” But shaken described nicely how she felt.

“That’s good to know.”

“Yes, well, um…”

He stopped uncovering dishes and stared at her, his concern obviously amping up a notch. “You’re starting to worry me.”

“That might be wise. To be worried, I mean. Though, honestly, they say it takes positively months to get pregnant after you stop using birth control usually.” Oh, man, she was making a cake of this, a very messy one. “There’s no reason to assume tragic consequences now.”

“What are you talking about?” He stopped, going absolutely still. “Did you say pregnant? You’re on the birth control patch.”

“Yes, I would be, if it was actually there, I mean. If I had it on.”

“Of course it’s on. You never forget it.” He was starting to look a little shaken himself.

“I didn’t forget it this time, but it’s not there.”

“Not there?” Six feet three inches of solid muscle went boneless and he dropped to sit on the chair behind him. Hard. “Your…my…you…I…”

“You sound as coherent as I felt when I first realized it was gone.” Truth was, she wasn’t feeling that much better right now.

He stared off into space for several seconds and then shook his head. “I don’t remember seeing it.” He leaned on the table with his elbows, his head in his hands. “I don’t remember seeing it, but I wasn’t looking, either.”

“Since that first time day before yesterday?”

“I wouldn’t have noticed anything then. But no, not since.” He looked at her with an expression she’d never seen on the big tycoon’s face. Fear coupled with guilt. Severe guilt. “I never even noticed. Can you forgive me?”

Okay, that was not expected. She’d anticipated anger, blame, even horror, but not an obviously genuine guiltfueled apology.

She crossed the room and dropped to her knees in front of him, putting her hands on his thighs. “It’s not your fault. I didn’t notice it was gone, either. We were, um…busy, in the shower yesterday and I’m just so used to it being there, I never even thought to check.”

“But you checked today.”’

“More like I noticed when I went to wash that area more carefully.”

“I cannot believe I did not pay closer attention. And then I asked you to stop using condoms.” His voice dripped with agonized culpability.

Okay, so she definitely did not have to worry about him blaming her, but she didn’t want him feeling guilty, or like an idiot. Even if she did. “We’re both adults. We both didn’t realize. The patch was my responsibility.”

“That is like saying that remembering to use a condom was my purview alone and I know you did not see it that way.”

“It’s not the same thing.”

“Of course it is. Besides, sharing the blame does no good and makes no difference to the child we may have created.”

“There’s no reason to assume I’m pregnant.” That was one leap of faith she did not want to make right now. “I told you, many women take months to get pregnant after they stop using the patch.”

“You also called possible pregnancy a tragedy.” He didn’t look very happy about that. At all. “You would not consider termination?”

“What? No, definitely not. That would never be an option for me.”

He looked relieved, but no happier. “Still, you consider the possible consequences tragic.”

“I didn’t mean that. Not really. I’m frightened of what this would mean for me, for us, if I were pregnant,” she admitted, emotion choking her.

“I am neither of my parents. You understand?” He said something in Greek she had no hope of understanding, then gave her a look she wouldn’t want to see across a boardroom or in a dark alley for that matter. “I will not abandon my child.”

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