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Page 58 of Just Desserts (Holland Springs 4)

Daisy’s heart rate kicked up. That could be her. Shopping. Alone and talking to her child, without actually understanding anything he was saying. She broke out in a cold sweat and her knees went all wobbly.

Somehow, she made it inside without falling flat on her face. The cool air and Sebastian’s breezy attitude were actually calming her down. By the time they were done and headed back outside to his car, she was smiling and joking with him.

“Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean I am,” she reminded him, taking the little pot of African Violets from the buggy. “I still have your brother’s wedding to cater, which means more recipes to try out while I’m here.”

He maneuvered the buggy to the cart return. “There is a God.”

“Of course there is. Which reminds me, you made me forget to say my prayers last night, because I was too exhausted to even remember my name.” They’d climbed eleventy-billion steps at the ruins of an old keep built on the edge of a cliff. Sebastian had held her hand or arm the entire time, cautioning her against slipping.

“I’m not helpless,” she had joked.

Sliding his gaze to her stomach, and then back at her face, he had replied, “But I am.”

Don’t think about that. Be in this moment.

He gave her a funny look. “Seriously?”

She placed a hand on her hip. “My best friend is the daughter of a preacher. What do you think?”

“That she need never to meet mine.”

She blinked. “Why?”

The corner of Sebastian’s mouth lifted. “In his spare time, Liam travels the world, challenging theists on their beliefs.”

Isabella’s spare time consisted of mission trips to third world countries, running faith-based food pantries and volunteering at women’s shelters. “Ye-ah, I think you’re right.”

“I think this is a topic best left to professionals,” he said with a wink. “Religion’s not really my thing either.”

“Whatever.” Frowning, she got in the car, watching as he jogged to the other side. “I wasn’t planning on converting you,” she muttered to the interior as he joined her. “Except to putting the steering wheel on the right side.”

He closed the door, fastened his seatbelt and started the engine. “It is on the right side.”

“Not for me.” She gripped the door as he merged into traffic. “I feel all discombobulated.”

“Hold on to your knickers.” Laughing, he raced the car through the streets, making her stomach drop. She glared at him, but it was short-lived.

Sebastian’s house was a short drive from the center of town, or rather the village. It was a beautiful place, all charming shops and sidewalks lines with trees. They even had to drive over a bridge that crossed a river with large rocks and a mill with a water wheel that was still in use. In short, so far, her trip had lived up to every fantasy and Internet image she’d ever seen.

She sighed as they went through the opening in the tall brick wall surrounding his property and pulled onto the semi-circle gravel drive. The newly installed iron gates closed behind them, leaving behind the outside world and prying eyes.

Three stories of brick with ivy creeping up the sides, back and front, greeted them, with lots of big windows. There was a kitchen garden in the backyard, filled with every herb imaginable. Flowers beds were everywhere. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbird flitted and buzzed from flower to flower. Trees ancient and graceful bent toward the house, with shady bases perfect for reading.

It was charming.

Sebastian parked the car beside the old stable turned garage, and then raised her hand to his lips. “You look exhausted. Let me take care of the groceries.”

“Do all earls bring in their own groceries?”

He smiled, devilishly handsome. “This earl does.”

Another sigh.

He was charming.

She was in love, and possibly pregnant.

Oh God. She was in trouble.

Glancing down at the boxes in her purse, she took a depth breath. In about three minutes, she’d find out just how much trouble.

***

Sebastian finished putting up the groceries in record time. Unfortunately.

He needed to find something else for them to do, because if he didn’t, he’d end up making love to her again.

And he couldn’t do that right now, not until they knew.

“I’m going to, uh…I’m—” Her face turned as red as the roses that bloomed in the garden. “I’ll be back.”

One look at her retreating form and he sagged against the door to his art studio. He was terrified, not only of possibly becoming father but of the lie that still was between them. The lie he still hadn’t fessed up to.

After today, he told himself. Let them get through today and he would reveal all. He would confess, move Heaven and earth, and if he had to, walk five hundred miles on his knees to beg her forgiveness.

He heard the toilet flush, the sound of water running, and the door swinging open. His stomach knotted tight, like a hangman’s noose. He lurched towards the stairs and she met him halfway, her cheeks still bright flags of color.

“Do you mind if we have a movie marathon today, instead of going everywhere?” Daisy asked. “I’d like to finish your grand tour of the house, too.” She’d changed into her signature swingy skirt and form-fitting cardigan. The ring he’d given to her caught his eye. Today, her chopsticks were the exact color of the pink diamond in the middle. He knew this, because he’d had that pair made to match it.

“As long as you don’t mind if I watch whatever you pick through my eyelids,” he said lightly. God, he would need to be at home if the results were positive.

He followed her up the stairs to the third floor. She entered the theater first.

"I think I could live in your kitchen forever,” Daisy said as he sat down beside her on a large sofa big enough for two grown men to stretch out on together. She curled her legs to the side and picked up his iPad.

“You only want me for my bun warmers?” He thumped his chest and let out a mock groan of pain, deciding that humor was the only way he could calm them down. “That hurts, darling.”

“Bless your heart.” She glanced down at his iPad, pressed the home button, and frowned. “Speaking of buns.”

“Sorry?”

Handing him his iPad, she narrowed her eyes. “Why don’t you read this, your royal ogleness?”

“My what?” He glanced at the screen to find a recent image of the two of them, only he’d been captured checking out her ass. The article was filled with questions and quasi-facts. Apparently, the two of them were playing house and a close friend of Sebastian’s told the Internet magazine—in complete anonymity, of course—that Daisy was set on having the new heir of Spenserfield.

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