Vin Borgia. She pictured the dark eyes of her unborn baby’s father, so hot one moment, so cold the next. Pictured the ruthless edge of his jaw. The strength of his body. The force of his will.
A shiver went through her. What if he...
Don’t think about it, she told herself firmly. One impossible thing at a time. Another maxim she’d learned from her father.
As the chauffeur slowed down at a red light, she knew it was now or never. She took a deep breath, then opened her eyes with a brittle smile.
“Blaise.” Scarlett leaned forward as she tightened her hidden right hand into a fist. “You know what I’ve always wanted to do...?”
“What?” he breathed, licking his lips as he looked down at her breasts.
“This!” She gave him a hard uppercut to the jaw. His teeth snapped together as his head knocked backward, shocking him into releasing her.
Without waiting for the limo to completely stop, she yanked on her door handle and stumbled out onto the sidewalk. Kicking off her two-inch heels, she put her hand protectively over her belly and ran with all her might, feet bare against the concrete, toward the enormous cathedral.
It was a perfect day for a wedding. The first of October, and every tree in the city was decorated in yellow, orange and red. St. Swithun’s Cathedral was the most famous in New York, the place where the wealthy and powerful held their christenings, weddings and funerals. Two hundred years old, it was a towering midtown edifice of gray marble, big as a city block, with soaring spires reaching boldly into the bright blue sky.
Panting as she ran, Scarlett glanced down at the peeling gold-tone watch that had once belonged to her mother. She prayed she wasn’t too late.
A vintage white Rolls-Royce Corniche was parked at the curb, bedecked with ribbons and flowers. Next to it, a uniformed driver waited. Bodyguards with dark sunglasses, scowls and earpieces stood guard on the cathedral steps and around the perimeter.
The wedding had started, then. Scarlett had been trying not to think about it for the last four months, since she’d seen the announcement in the New York Times. But the details had been blazed in her memory, and now she was glad, because only Vin Borgia could help her.
A bodyguard blocked her with a glare. “Miss, stand back...”
Clutching her belly theatrically, Scarlett stumbled forward on the sidewalk. “Help! There’s a man chasing me! He’s trying to kidnap my baby!”
The bodyguard’s eyes widened behind his sunglasses. “What?”
She ran past him, calling back, “Call the police!”
“Hey! You can’t just—”
Scarlett ran up the cathedral’s steps, gasping for air.
“Stop right there!” A second bodyguard came toward her with a thunderous expression. Then he turned when he heard the shout of his colleague as two of Blaise’s bodyguards started throwing punches at him on the sidewalk below. “What the...”
Taking advantage of his distraction, she pushed open the cathedral doors and went inside.
For a moment, she blinked in the shadows.
Then her eyes adjusted, and she saw a wedding straight out of a fairy tale. Two thousand guests sat in the pews, and at the altar, beneath a profusion of white roses and lilies and orchids, was the most beautiful bride, standing next to the most devastatingly handsome man in the world.
Just seeing Vin now, for the first time since that magical night they’d created a baby, Scarlett caught her breath.
“If anyone here today has reason,” the officiant intoned at the front, “why these two may not lawfully be joined...”
She heard a metallic wrenching sound behind her, then Blaise’s harsh triumphant gasp as he burst through the cathedral doors.
“...speak now, or forever hold your peace.”
Desperate, Scarlett stumbled to the center of the aisle. Holding up her hand, she cried, “Please! Stop!”
There was a collective gasp as two thousand people turned to stare at her. Including the bride and groom.
Scarlett put her hands to her head, feeling dizzy. It was hard to speak when she could barely catch her breath. She focused on the only person who mattered.
“Please, Vin, you have to help me—” Her voice choked off, then strengthened as she thought of the unborn child depending on her. “My boss is trying to steal our baby!”