Well, if he could be businesslike, then so could she. She straightened and gave him a brisk nod. ‘Please do.’

‘I will marry you—but only on certain conditions.’

Margo took a deep breath and let it out evenly. ‘Which are?’

‘First, we drive to Athens this afternoon and you undergo a paternity test.’

It was no more than she’d expected, although the fact that he believed the baby might not be his still stung. This, at least, was easy to comply with. ‘Very well.’

‘Second, you resign from your job immediately and come and live with me here in Greece.’

So he wanted complete control of her and their child? She couldn’t say she was really surprised. ‘Fine.’

‘Third, you agree to have a local doctor of my choosing provide you with medical care.’

Her temper finally started to fray. ‘I think I’m capable of finding my own doctor, Leo.’

‘Are you?’ He arched an eyebrow, coldly sceptical. ‘Because you came here looking dreadful.’

‘Thanks very much, but my looks have nothing to do with my medical care or lack of it,’ Margo snapped.

How much of this was she supposed to take? Maybe, she thought with a surge of reckless fury, the answer was none of it. She’d come to Leo as a supplicant, truly believing that their child should know his or her father. Trusting that she was making the right decision in seeking to provide the kind of stable home life she’d never had...no matter what the sacrifice to her.

If Leo was going to snipe at her constantly, was that really an environment she wanted to raise her child in? The kind of relationship she wanted her son or daughter to emulate?

But the alternative was too bleak to consider. Raise her baby alone, a single mother without a safety net. No parents, no relatives, no one who could help or support her besides a few friends like Sophie, who didn’t even want children themselves. One wrong choice or an accident away from destitution, from losing everything. Again.

‘Leo,’ she said, keeping her voice even, ‘if you’re going to snipe at me about everything this whole negotiation process will be very unpleasant.’

Leo’s mouth hardened. ‘I’m just trying to be clear.’

‘You are. Abundantly.’

A muscle flickered in his jaw. His gaze was the colour of a sea in winter, slate-grey and utterly icy. ‘I’m not finished with my conditions.’

‘Fine,’ she said wearily. ‘What are the rest of your conditions?’

‘You don’t work while you’re pregnant—or while our child is small. I want my child to have a mother who is fully present and available.’

‘I’ve already said I would give up my job for a few years,’ she reminded him. ‘And anyway, considering I’ll be stuck in the middle of Greece, a career is hardly an option for me at the moment.’

‘Our marriage might be made for convenience,’ Leo continued relentlessly, ‘but it won’t be that convenient. When you are healthy, and recovered from the birth of our child, I want you in my bed.’

Her stomach plunged again, with that weird mixture of anticipation and dread. ‘I thought you could hardly stand the sight of me?’ she said after a second’s pause. Her voice sounded husky.

‘We have chemistry,’ Leo answered. ‘Why should I look elsewhere when I have a woman to see to my needs right there at home?’

‘Are you trying to be as offensive as possible?’

‘Just stating facts,’ Leo answered in a bland voice. ‘And here’s another fact: if you ever cheat on me again I will divorce you. Immediately. And I will gain complete custody of our child.’

Margo stared at him for a moment, saw the steely glint of challenge in his eyes, the hard set of his mouth.

Her hands clenched into fists at her sides. ‘No.’

‘No? You mean you can’t even pretend you’re going to be faithful?’

‘I’ll be faithful to you, Leo,’ Margo said, her voice very even despite the maelstrom of fury and pain she felt whirling through her. ‘But if you ever threaten to take my child away from me again I will leave you and I will never come back. I will go where you will never find me, and you will never see either of us again—’ She broke off, her nails digging into her palms, her chest heaving.

‘That’s a lot of nevers,’ Leo remarked tonelessly.

‘You started it.’

‘I wonder why you are so fierce and protective,’ he answered, his silvery gaze sweeping slowly over her, ‘when you made it abundantly clear the last time we met that you didn’t even want children.’

Source: www.StudyNovels.com