“You know he reminds me a little of Art, only different,” Piper said.

“The contractor?”

“Jean-René. He flirts. All the time, but there is no sexual heat behind it.”

“And there was with Art.”

“Yes. He accused me of being immaturely jealous, but after seeing Jean-René in action, I can say definitely that the intent behind the flirting makes all the difference.”

“Yes, Jean-René is a Frenchman. He flirts with a ninety-year-old grandmother as warmly as he would a runway model.”

Piper nodded. “It’s all about making a woman smile, without making her feel like sexual prey.”

“Art did not understand the difference?”

“How could he? Any woman even halfway attractive to him was sexual prey.” The disgust that tinged Piper’s tone was a definite improvement over the grief that used to lie so heavily on her when she talked about her ex.

“I do not flirt.” Or rather, he only flirted with intent and since he and Piper had begun their liaison, there had been no other woman he wished to seduce.

She laughed and hugged him, right there on the stairs. “No, you don’t.”

He enjoyed the spontaneous embrace. While she never drew away from his displays of affection, she had been more circumspect in offering her own since they reached the villa. He didn’t know if that was because she blamed him for her possible pregnancy, though she’d said she didn’t. Or maybe she was responding to his pulling away from talking about personal things.

He just did not see the need to discuss their future when they did not know whether they needed to take a pregnancy into account, or not. He’d also resisted talking any more about his past. It was over and done. They did not need to keep revisiting it.

He followed her into the bedroom and closed the door behind them. “Are you ready to go back to Seattle tomorrow?”

Drawing aside the drape at the window, she did not answer for several seconds. “I don’t know.”

“It is hard to leave here.” He began divesting himself of his clothes.

“But I want to know.”

He did not ask what she wanted to know. There was only one thing causing worry lines between her elegant brows.

Part of him, a very large part if he were honest with himself, wanted her to be pregnant. Then he could be selfish and convince her to marry him despite the lack of love between them. It would be the best thing for the baby and he trusted her to make the needs of her child paramount.

He cupped her shoulder, caressing her nape with his thumb. “I have something more interesting to focus on than a dark vista.”

She turned to face him, her expression soft and yearning. “Do you?”

“Can you doubt it?”

She just shook her head and waited. Waited for him to kiss her, to touch her, to show her that in this at least, they had perfection.

And that was exactly what he did.

Piper flew back to Seattle in Zephyr’s private jet with him. When they landed, she learned that he had already made an appointment for the next morning with her doctor. She wasn’t even a little surprised by his excessive efficiency. She was a bit startled by the fact that he’d gotten an appointment so quickly. She was never so lucky with her doctor’s appointment keeper.

But then Zephyr Nikos moved entire ranges, not simply single mountains, when he wanted to.

He spent the night with Piper in her apartment. They didn’t make love that night, but he held her close in the darkness protecting her dreams and making her feel safe.

“We’ll call you tomorrow with the results,” the nurse said after setting the vial with Piper’s blood aside.

Piper stood up and put the chair they’d used for the blood draw back against the wall at the head of the exam table. “Thank you. Have the doctor call my cell phone, all right?”

“Of course. I don’t think our office has ever successfully gotten hold of you on your house or business line.”

“I travel a lot.”

“It must be nice.” The nurse put the vial in a small red carrier.

“It can be.” When she’d first moved to Seattle, she’d loved the travel, but after she and Zephyr became friends, she missed him when she was away. Even before the sexual side to their relationship started. “It can be exhausting, too.”

“Well, if this test comes back positive, you can count on being exhausted even more.” The wry grimace on the usually friendly nurse’s face could in no way be described as a smile.

What was she supposed to say to that? Thank you? She was sure the other woman thought her information necessary, if not welcome. Piper would rather focus on the upside of this pregnancy…just as soon as she figured it out. She got up and grabbed her bag. “Well, um…goodbye.”

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