“Why not both?” She waited for him to situate himself firmly into his chair before lowering herself onto his lap. “That was Monica. You know. Lady Warren. Or whatever they’re calling her now.” A woman could only go through so many titles.

“What did she want? Must have been good for you to immediately come out here and say hello to me.”

Lana made herself comfortable against his chest and in his lap. Really? He was going to get a hard-on that quickly? Whatever happened to the medical fact that men found it harder to get it up as they aged? Sure, Ken was only forty-ish, but so far he was as spry as he had been when they met at twenty-eight. Maybe even sprier. Lana did love knowing that even after a dozen years together she could still get her husband hornier than a young stud in Vegas. (And she had known a few of those.)

“Our favorite trollop Cassandra is coming back to town. You know what that means?”

Ken stiffened. No, not his cock, but his whole damn body. Someone wasn’t as eager to be reminded of the woman as Lana had been. “Do I want to know what that means?”

“We’ll probably get to find out who fathered that cursed child of hers.”

“Lana, I swear to God…”

She put a stop to whatever he was going to say. Lana didn’t need to hear his pleas for clemency regarding what role he may have played in making Cassandra a mother. Like Lana wouldn’t have known about it! She was there when it happened, wasn’t she? Drunk on champagne, sure, but she had done her duty encouraging the three of them to spend some quality time together in a downtown hotel room. Lana didn’t often get so sexually involved with other women, but she had made an exception for the younger woman. As demure as she projected her image in the public sphere, Cassandra was a kinky little kitty once behind closed doors.

“If you’re the father, then she ran out only a month into this supposed pregnancy. Please. More likely that she was already pregnant when we got our hands on her. No wonder she was so willing, hm?”

“Lana.” Ken furrowed his dark, thin brows. “Let’s not go speculating about that. We should leave the woman alone, unless she approaches us first. We don’t even know if her having a child is actually true.”

“What? Her grandmother practically told me when I saw her last Christmas.” Granddame Welsh was one of the only members of the family who kept somewhat regular appearances. Lana didn’t spend a lot of time at the country club like the Welshes did, but one game of bridge revealed that the little granddaughter had ran off because she was in the family way. The insinuation was that Lana might have known who else was involved. Why? Had Cassandra implied something about Kenneth? Lana nipped that notion in the bud back then as well. “Don’t be daft. We know she had a kid. What we don’t know is who the father is. Highly doubt it’s you, but Monica seems to suspect it could be her husband.”

“Henry Warren? That would be a fun scandal.” The public loved to pretend that Mr. Warren was a straight-up ace of a guy who only cavorted with women he ever intended to marry. That may have been half-true, but anyone who even slightly knew the guy also knew that he was a fan of occasional one night stands and girlfriends of convenience. Cassandra had been one of those. While it wasn’t a secret those two dated for a hot minute, it would be scandalous to find out he unknowingly fathered a child. And right after having one with his wife! Lana could practically taste the sweetness of the whole situation. “There are other candidates, though. Cassandra was in full self-destruct mode by the time she set her sights on us.” They hadn’t known it at the time. But in retrospect? So obvious.

“Yes. I was just thinking of calling a friend to gab about it. Highly possible that her husband is the genetic culprit.”

“Now, Bunny, don’t go causing mischief for the sake of it.” The desk blocked any contractor’s ability to see Kenneth Andrews firmly grab his wife’s ass. Lana squeaked in amusement, her arms squeezing tightly around her husband’s shoulders. Nope. The man hadn’t lost his erection yet. What in the world could Lana do with it? “Even though I know it’s one of your favorite past times.”

“One of, yes.” She growled in arousal against his cheek. “But my absolute favorite past time is making love to you.”

“Oh, thank God, I thought I was going to be the one to have to bring it up.”

“Honey, your dick has been digging into my leg for the past three minutes. You did bring it up, jackass.”

Ken looked over his shoulder. “Bathroom?”

Lana was already up. “Don’t mind if I do. And then you can come in and fuck me against the sink. I’m not in the mood for an audience right now, anyway.” She nodded toward the contractors as she sauntered across the office and entered their newly remodeled bathroom.

What Lana never – nor Ken, for that mattered – counted on was how important the idea of an heir would become to them in the coming year. They were both over forty now. Sure, they could still have as much sex as they had in their twenties, but they weren’t getting any younger. In twenty, thirty years they would begin to regret not having anyone to immediately take over the company should anything happen to them. Well, they weren’t having children. That had been decided before they even got married. They would have to find some other way to address their heirship issue. But knowing them, they wouldn’t get around to it until they had sated themselves silly with sex.

And that could take… a while. As the foreman found out half an hour later when he unfortunately found them enjoying a second round against the bathroom sink to absolutely nobody’s surprise. By that point, not even the foreman’s.

Chapter 7

The Monroes

Mrs. Alice Monroe had greatly missed her tea and coffee. So much so that she didn’t see the irony in dragging her tiny entourage to one of the most hipstery teashops near her downtown office building, even though she was on one of the strictest “no caffeine” drink regimens any pregnant woman was ever subjected to.

Probably because she was Mrs. Damon Monroe and currently growing the next heir of a vast and mighty kingdom in her womb. Her obstetrician was going to do everything in her power to keep Alice from ingesting anything she shouldn’t be, in order to improve her chances of having the healthiest baby any woman gave birth to before. Still, Alice was human, and her body craved – nay, demanded – at least a nose hit of good coffee and tea.

She commandeered an old couch to herself. Behind her, the rain-splattered window overlooked a busy neighborhood street filled with cyclists and shoppers. Next to her, bodyguard Dee McCormick took a coffee break reprieve, while personal assistant Alisha sighed into a plush chair and answered emails on her boss’s behalf. It was heaven. Minus the part where Alice, with her swollen feet and a stomach swelling even bigger, didn’t get some damn caffeine.

That was until the bearded barista on duty brought over a sampling of his pregnancy-friendly red teas.

A year ago, Alice would have never been able to command this kind of respect from any establishment, let alone one that catered to hipsters. Poor, lower-class Alice would have never been given a sampling of rare red teas to test out before buying a mug to enjoy with her work comrades. But she was no longer Alice Culver, woman in T-shirt and jeans lounging around with her ratty backpack, buying the bare minimum to get to stay in her seat, and waiting for it to get late enough so she could go home and hope that maybe her roommate was done having sex with some guy. Nope. She was now Alice Monroe, matriarch in Prada and bespoke Gucci maternity wear. Even the high as a kite barista recognized her the moment she entered. Well, the moment Dee entered and canvassed the place before allowing Alice and Alisha to find a seat.

“That is some fancy stuff,” Dee said while her charge sniffed three different red teas and took judicious sips. Alice decided on the center one and asked for the biggest mug possible. The barista was more than happy to go back to his station and oblige. “Think I’ll stick to my straight coffee.”

Alice relaxed against the back of the couch with a smug smile. Sometimes she didn’t mind indulging in how ridiculously rich she was now. It was her privilege that allowed her to get out of the high-rise office for the rest of the afternoon and come here to “work” to begin with. Her doctor had told her at her checkup that day to lay off as much stress as possible now that she was solidly in her fifth month of pregnancy. What better way to lay off stress than to stay out of her glass office and hang out in a cozy little café? Almost felt like home!

“Should I confirm with Kevin Welsh’s assistant that you and Mr. Monroe will be attending their Christmas gala? We never did return the RSVP.” Alisha lowered her tablet when she addressed her boss, but her eyes never left the screen.

Alice pulled a manila envelope out of her big black bag and flipped it open to the first image inside. A pang of maternal gratitude hit her heart and compelled her to rest one of her hands on her bulging stomach. Her baby hadn’t been very active that day. Usually wasn’t this time in the afternoon. No, all the movements and acid reflux kicked up in the middle of the night. Because of course. The baby wouldn’t be a Monroe unless it was making Alice’s life hell at the most inconvenient of times.

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