Mistresses: In His Bed: The Billionaire's Trophy / Strictly Temporary / Whose Bed Is It Anyway?. Robyn Grady
his handsome features, lingering on the spiky black lashes shading his dark golden gaze, the strong blade of his nose, the hard cheekbones and the beautifully modelled mouth. She swallowed hard, taking a mental snapshot of him because she already knew it would be a long time, if ever, before she saw him again.
‘I’ll phone when I can,’ Bastian told her at the front door, looking down at her, wondering how she could look so beautiful and yet so painfully vulnerable at the same time, wishing he could take her abroad with him to give him something to look forward to at night other than an empty hotel suite. She needed looking after though, not foreign travel, he acknowledged grudgingly, and he had never looked after anyone before and didn’t quite know where or how to begin.
Tears trickled down Emmie’s face as she checked the train times online to plan her journey home to the Lake District. It would be madness to stay where she was when she and Bastian wanted such different things. She wanted more than sex from Bastian but she suspected that he still saw her as little more than the escort he had hired at such great expense to attend his sister’s wedding with him. How on earth had she contrived to fall in love with him? He might be great in bed but he had to be the most insensitive man alive! And yet Bastian’s constant phone calls and visits had still become ridiculously precious to Emmie in recent weeks. She blinked back the tears, ashamed of her weakness, her wanton desire to stay on in London and settle for whatever he was offering. Bastian was being as supportive as he knew how because it was his fault she was pregnant. Beyond that did he feel anything for her but basic sexual attraction? And how long would that last once she began to resemble a blimp? No, Emmie told herself angrily, she had to cut the connection and leave while she still had her pride. Sleeping with Bastian again had been a serious mistake but staying on in an apartment he owned would be an even worse mistake.
‘Emmie’s moved out…are you sure?’ Bastian growled down the phone at his PA. After months of unanswered calls and considerable concern on his part he had finally caved in and asked Marie to check Emmie’s apartment for him.
‘Well, the wardrobe and the drawers are empty but she’s left her teddy collection behind in a box on the bed,’ Marie told him, working tactfully at keeping the amusement out of her voice. ‘Oh, wait a minute, there’s an envelope here with your name on it. Looks like she’s left you a note.’
Bastian wanted to know very badly what was in the note but he refused to ask his PA to open it and read it to him over the phone. Some things were private. On the other side of the world he stared blankly at the wall of his hotel suite: Emmie had walked out on him. Rage momentarily electrified him. Diavelos, she was expecting his kids, she had no right to stage a disappearance when he had been doing everything possible to make her feel happy and secure! Well, possibly not everything, conscience bade him admit, discomfiture infiltrating his angry sense of betrayal.
In the following months since Emmie had travelled to visit her sister Kat, everything had turned out very differently from what Emmie had initially expected, she reflected wryly, while conceding that different didn’t necessarily mean bad.
Firstly, her plan to help her sister run her guesthouse had died the very first day when Kat admitted that business was very poor and she was actually on the brink of bankruptcy. Luckily, a very wealthy Russian had come out of the woodwork to save the day for her sister. Mikhail Kusnirovich had invited Kat to stay on his mega yacht and act as hostess to his guests. While Kat was away Emmie stayed on in the farmhouse to keep her youngest sister, Topsy, company during the school holidays. A few weeks later, Kat admitted that she and Mikhail had fallen in love and that she was moving into his Georgian country mansion, Dane-gold Hall, to live with him as his partner. Within months Mikhail and Kat were married.
Denied her elder sister’s company aside of occasional weekends spent in the lap of luxury at Danegold, Emmie had been thrown very much on her own resources. She had taken a temporary job as a shop assistant in a local supermarket but was currently engaged in looking into the possibility of opening a gift shop/café in a property available for rent in the village. Her new brother-in-law, Mikhail, had blithely offered her unlimited funds with which to start up her own business.
‘I don’t care what it costs me. Kat’s worried sick about you. If she sees that you’re making a new start in life on a decent income, she’ll stop worrying about you being a single parent,’ Mikhail had told Emmie cheerfully, not even trying to hide the reality that his main motivation was to make her sister happy.
As the months passed and her pregnancy advanced, Emmie had suffered less from nausea, and holding down a job and working regular hours had become a good deal easier. Yet when her twin, Saffy, had announced that she was remarrying her first husband, Zahir, Emmie had used her health as an excuse not to attend the wedding and she was still ashamed of that. Her sister was now the wife of the King of Maraban and a future queen. And as Saffy had always enjoyed a good deal of natural dignity and assurance, Emmie believed her sibling would be a stunning success as a royal. Unfortunately, Emmie’s own deep unhappiness had persuaded her that she would be a sad spectre at the feast if she attended her twin’s wedding and that she would only cast an unwelcome pall of gloom over her sister’s big day. When all was said and done, after all, her sisters already pitied her for being pregnant and alone, and Emmie had been equally quick to notice that even Kat was shy of expressing her love and affection for Mikhail in her sister’s inhibiting presence. No, the unmarried pregnant sister had been wiser staying at home when she had the excuse.
To avoid such negative thoughts, Emmie had spent every spare moment researching local craftspeople to supply merchandise for the gift shop while also checking out the strict requirements for running a café. That project had kept Emmie extremely busy. Although she had little time to mope she often lay awake late into the night picturing a lean, darkly handsome face and aching unbearably as though she had lost a limb. In spite of the fact that she had found it impossible to envisage a feasible future with Bastian, walking away from him had still hurt like hell. But it would have been crazy, she reasoned, to hang around on the outskirts of Bastian’s life, sleeping with him in the forlorn hope that he would eventually want to take their relationship to another level or assume a regular paternal role once the twins were born. She needed to get over him and she needed to do it fast, she told herself impatiently. And in her opinion seeing too much of Saffy’s and Kat’s deliriously happy marriages to the men they loved was unlikely to help her to recover from her own unrequited love any more quickly. Indeed her sisters’ success and contentment on that front only made Emmie feel like a total failure in the love stakes.
For the second time in as many weeks, Bastian drove up to the Lake District. A glossy celebrity magazine lay open on the passenger seat beside him and every time he noticed it he gritted his teeth, a ferocious sense of injustice assailing him. On this occasion, Bastian needed no directions to reach his destination because he knew exactly where he was going as he nosed his Ferrari into the driveway of the farmhouse, parked it, dug the magazine into his pocket and sprang out to stride impatiently to the front door.
Emmie groaned as the doorbell buzzed because she was in the middle of making pastry and her hands were covered with flour. She wiped her hands on the front of her apron, surprised as she always was to feel the firm swell of her pregnant stomach arching out in front of her. She was the size of a small house, which, according to the local doctor, was only to be expected with twins on the way. She trundled to the front door and pulled it open, lashes fluttering up on startled blue eyes as she focused on the tall black-haired male on the doorstep.
Sheathed in a dark suit and a cashmere overcoat, Bastian surveyed her with brooding intensity, narrowed dark eyes glittering like polished jet. ‘Surprise…surprise…’
EMMIE STEPPED BACK and Bastian stalked through the front door, slamming it shut in his wake with an imperious hand.
‘I wasn’t planning to invite you in,’ Emmie snapped.
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