Either way, she’d leave in six weeks—apparently this was what she always did, from what he’d seen in her apartment.
He turned a sharp right into the Stone Security parking garage and steered toward her lone car in the lot. “Here you are, safe and sound.” Lingering frustration darkened his tone. “Uncompromised.”
“So you think.” She reached for the door handle.
She paused. He slapped his palm against the steering wheel, wrapped his fingers around the curve, knuckles white. He looked away.
There was nothing left to say. The dead silence cued her to open the passenger door. She slid out and slammed the door shut.
Pulling the collar of her coat up around her ears, she walked to her car. Her still-heated breath frosted in the air making it hard to see. She fumbled for her keys.
Logan’s engine revved and he peeled out of the parking garage. She didn’t blame him, but it served as the exclamation mark punctuating a dismal night. She blinked away the sudden swell of tears.
On her way home, she stopped at the drug store—just to ease her mind. She didn’t need their attraction and the fear of pregnancy hanging over her working relationship with Logan. She was sure the test would read negative, just as it had the nights she’d held her breath and prayed her ex-husband hadn’t gotten her pregnant during his leaves from duty. So far, the tests had offered overwhelming relief, and she hoped the same of this one.
When she arrived home, she peed on the stick and then paced her tiny living room. “It’s nothing. Stop worrying,” she told herself.
The past six weeks flashed through her mind.
At the recent security convention, she and Logan had struck up conversation several times, since he kept miraculously appearing everywhere she went. Before the event ended he’d asked her to join him at the hotel bar, refusing to take no for an answer. No harm, she’d figured. He was fantastic eye-candy, full of wit and charm, and he’d lured her with the promise of a lucrative opportunity to use her skills to further his company. His confidence, and her secret attraction to him, had led to great conversation. It hadn’t taken long to see where things were headed. Her pent-up sexual desire won out over her usual detachment. She hadn’t slept with a man since leaving Trevor four years ago.
She’d gladly let him talk her into stopping by his hotel room so he could go online and show her his security systems. She’d known where that would probably lead. She’d gone anyway. She’d wanted him to claim her, needed to feel his strong arms around her. She’d enjoyed his subtle, seductive pursuit. It had been forever since she’d felt chemistry or attraction the way she did with Logan.
Once they were alone, the second he’d touched her, she let all dormant desires out to play. The muscular perfection of his body, the way her pleasure came first, and the appeal of no-strings-attached bliss let her shed her fear of intimacy. His kisses promised long-denied pleasure, and his mouth and body had delivered.
Pulling in a tight breath, she shoved those sexual thoughts from her mind. Yes, Logan was male perfection. Yes, the way he touched her convinced her no man on the planet could make her feel the way he did in bed.
That did not mean she’d give up the personal and psychological freedom awaiting her in France for an affair of the heart. Her heart had led her down terrible paths. Had let her forgive people who didn’t deserve forgiveness. She couldn’t lose her heart to someone again. All that led to was hurt and betrayal.
She forced her restless steps toward the bathroom. She shut the door behind her.
Taking a deep breath, she exhaled. Assured herself everything was fine. She looked at the results.
Two pink stripes.
Oh, God .
The truth slammed into her. She staggered back.
I’m pregnant…with Logan’s child .
Allison trudged into work the next morning with all the enthusiasm of a death row inmate heading to the gallows. Denial swirled thickly around her. Her mind erected a steel blockade to shield her from the complications and staggering changes awaiting her. She was carrying Logan’s baby.
As she walked into the building, the lobby looked too bright, the marble too shiny. A weightless sensation took over as if she were moving under water. Muted voices echoed around her. People bobbed in slow-motion. The elevator heading up was cramped, confining, unbearable. She got off on the second floor and took the stairs to the eighth.
She went through the motions of the workday in a cloudy, surreal haze. Thank God she hadn’t run into Logan yet. She had no idea what to say to him. How to tell him. If she should tell him at all.
A wretched taste hit the back of her throat at the thought. He deserved to know. She’d never keep something like this from him. She just didn’t want to face him, his reaction, when she revealed the truth.
Her legs moved like lead weights, carrying her about on menial missions, a series of mindless errands filling the day. No demonstrations until Friday, thank goodness. She dreaded that, though, knowing how close they’d be. She’d feel the heat of his body, the warmth of his touch, the sexy charm of his smile. She’d want him all over again.
Don’t go there , she warned herself. It was pointless.
Last night’s events had certainly ended whatever might’ve been between them. They’d both made that clear. The problem was they’d be forever linked with this baby. That anchor of reality plunged her hopes of living fear-free in France to an unreachable abyss.
She’d already wrestled through the night with a deluge of shock, denial, resentment, amazement, awe, devastation. About every conflicting feeling accessible to the human range of emotion, she’d experienced.
Now she was plain exhausted. Numb. Wrung dry.
Returning from the second floor marketing office, she sank wearily into her chair. She closed her eyes, resting her forehead on the back of her wrist.
Any sensible course of action eluded her, as though she floated alone on a life raft, seeing nothing but endless ocean in every direction. Her options were bleak. Which heaped on horrible guilt for not being happier about the small miracle inside her.
A baby . She placed her hand lightly on her abdomen. What right did she have to receive this gift? What did she know about raising a child? She’d had no role models, no practice—she’d never even given it a thought, too focused on France to consider anything else.
What do I do?
No answer came. Nothing. Her brain, her heart, and her soul had left the building. She was a shell facing the crushing weight of the unknown.