‘We’ll talk inside shall we? It’s not something I particularly want to discuss standing here outside in the rain.’ Squinting up at the sky as icy droplets of moisture started to fall, Kate gave him a wobbly smile.

Reluctantly releasing her, Luca broodingly accompanied her back to the entrance of the house. Once inside the high-ceilinged Victorian hallway of her flat, Kate unwound the pink mohair scarf she wore from round her neck and looped it over one of the hooks on the coat-stand. Then she removed her now dampened raincoat to accompany it.

‘Do you want to give me your coat?’ she asked Luca as he stood there, his enviable Mediterranean tan appearing somehow less vibrant this morning.

‘You should have called me!’ he said accusingly, completely ignoring her outstretched hand. ‘You were at the hospital, you said? What is the matter? Is it the baby?’

‘Why don’t we go and sit down?’ Trying to stay as calm as possible, even though her stomach was churning, Kate led the way into the comfortable living room that she’d decorated with such loving care in the five years she’d lived there. Approaching the plain oatmeal couch, with its sunburst of brightly coloured cushions, she almost jumped out of her skin when Luca’s authoritative tone rang out behind her. He was clearly at the end of his rope.

‘Dio! Why won’t you tell me what is wrong? Do I have to stand here in ignorance all morning until you finally decide to explain?’

Tucking her hair behind her ear, Kate struggled with the sudden giant wave of embarrassment that washed over her. Confessing to Luca that she was pregnant was one thing—discussing the intimate facts of that condition with him was entirely another, she was discovering. Especially when he stood there looking so devastatingly gorgeous, and not a little intimidating.

‘I had some vaginal bleeding this morning that worried me. I rang my doctor and he told me to go straight to the hospital to have things checked out.’

The tension in Luca’s enigmatic features had definitely increased. Something in Kate was genuinely moved and surprised that he seemed to care so much. At least about the baby…

‘They told me that there’s nothing to be alarmed about. Apparently it’s very common in the first twelve to fourteen weeks of pregnancy for women to experience some bleeding. But they did an ultrasound scan as an extra precaution.’

‘And what did the scan reveal?’ Luca all but demanded.

‘That everything was fine and the baby is growing perfectly normally inside the womb. The ultrasound can show if a woman is having an ectopic pregnancy, for example—that’s when the baby is growing outside the womb.’

‘And are you still bleeding now?’

‘No.’ Kate smiled a little self-consciously. ‘I’m absolutely fine.’

Her calm reply belied the sheer panic that had swept over her earlier that morning, when she had gone to the bathroom and discovered the bleed. Until the idea of possibly losing her baby had presented itself, Kate had not fully realised to what extent she truly wanted the child. If her relationship with Luca was destined not to last then at least she would retain the most wonderful gift from their passionate union     in which to always remember him. And she would have someone to love and cherish as her own. The ultrasound had shown her the first pictures of the baby in her womb, and Kate had been both awed and ecstatic at the sight of them. Not to mention emotional. A big part of her had wanted to phone Luca from the hospital and ask him to meet her there. But, unsure as to how he would react, she’d decided against it and asked him to meet her at home instead.

‘And you are not in any pain or discomfort?’

‘No.’

‘We shouldn’t have made love last night!’

Seeing the corners of his sensuous mouth tighten in bitter regret, Kate was shocked. ‘What?’

‘Maybe I was a little too passionate.’

‘What happened was nothing to do with us making love, Luca!’ Hastening to reassure him, Kate saw straight away that he wasn’t going to be easily convinced—and her heart went out to him.

When he lifted his chin, his compelling blue gaze captured her in its dazzling and forceful lights.

‘And what did the doctors at the hospital advise you to do now this has happened? Did you tell them that we were just about to fly out to Milan?’

‘Yes, I did.’

‘And?’

‘They told me that it was perfectly okay and to carry on as normal, really. I just need to make sure I don’t overdo things and keep physical and mental stress to a minimum—as well as eat sensibly and rest whenever I can.’

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