‘I DON’T have anything to say to you, Nikos.’ Heart racing, desperately flustered, Ella pushed at his shoulders but he didn’t budge.
This wasn’t a man about to apologise for anything. Mouth grim, he backed her against the wall and planted an arm either side of her shoulders, imprisoning her and blocking her escape. Through the fabric of his shirt she could feel the heat and power of his body and the immediate response of hers, and it appalled her that she could still feel like this after the casual, careless way he’d treated her.
He didn’t care and yet still she couldn’t switch off the screaming need inside her.
Her body was no judge of character, she thought bitterly, turning her eyes away from his in the hope of reducing temptation. He was everything male, from the top of his glossy dark head, down six feet four inches of supremely fit body, to the arrogant way he stood in front of her, as if he owned the world.
Which apparently he did, she thought, biting back a hysterical laugh as she remembered all the things she’d learned about him during that one, awful afternoon four months ago.
‘You don’t have anything to say to me? You are pregnant with my child and you don’t think you have anything to say to me?’ His voice shook with emotion, his eyes narrowed to dangerous slits as he focused on her face. ‘Answer me one question—were you going to tell me? If your friend Helen hadn’t written that letter, would you have told me?’
‘Why would you even care?’
The hiss of his breath was the only sound in the room. ‘You are seriously asking me that question?’
She pushed at his chest, the enormity of the issue closing in on her like huge brick walls. ‘We can’t talk about this here. It’s going to have to wait until we’ve finished work.’
He laughed, but the sound was bitter and contemptuous. ‘I’m not letting you out of my sight, agape mou. And this is as good a place to talk as any. At the moment we have no patients. And I repeat—were you going to tell me?’
‘I don’t know!’ Shaking now, Ella lifted her hands to her cheeks. ‘You want an honest answer? I don’t know. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.’
His mouth tightened into a grim line. ‘I fail to see what is hard about telling a man that he is going to be a father.’
‘It’s hard when that man is already married!’ Her passionate outburst was greeted by frozen silence.
It was as if she’d shot him at close range.
Nikos’s sinfully handsome face grew several shades paler and his breathing became decidedly unsteady. ‘What possible grounds do you have for making a statement like that?’ His voice was hoarse and she shook her head, wondering why she suddenly felt guilty when it was his behaviour that had driven her away.
‘I found out everything, Nikos.’ It was hard to get the words past the lump in her throat. ‘Everything that you were hiding from me.’
His sudden stillness was marked. ‘What,’ he demanded in a thickened tone, ‘was I supposed to be hiding?’
‘Your secret life—the fact that you’re a billionaire, with a wife waiting for you back in Greece.’
The silence that greeted her statement was like the strike of a blade through her heart. For months she’d nurtured a secret hope that she’d got it all wrong. She’d wanted desperately to be wrong, even though the evidence was damning. Even now, she was hoping for a denial.
But no denial was forthcoming.
Before that moment she hadn’t realised that a silence could say so much.
He looked down at her, the shimmer of his eyes a warning of danger. ‘This is the reason you didn’t tell me about the baby? Because of some rumour you heard?’
‘It wasn’t a rumour.’
‘Did you hear it from me? Did you hear from my lips that I have a wife?’
‘You know I didn’t.’
‘And you didn’t think it was worth asking me about this “secret life” of mine before you decided to deprive me of my child?’
‘You walked out on me, Nikos! How could I ask you?’
‘I did not know you were pregnant.’
The temperature between them was rising, the atmosphere so highly charged that Ella half expected the smoke detectors to be activated at any moment.
‘What difference would it have made? You’re married.’ Reminding herself of that fact, Ella pushed at his chest and then wished she hadn’t because touching him was sweet torture. She let her hands drop. ‘I understand why you left me.’