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Page 75 of Just Desserts (Holland Springs 4)

“Doubtful,” Isabella replied, but Daisy noticed her gaze didn’t stray from Liam’s retreating form.

Sebastian looked their way and caught her gaze. The air electrified. Daisy’s hand automatically went to her stomach and he frowned, then began to stride in her direction.

Oh God, not now. “I need to go inside, to take a little break, okay?” Daisy whispered and Isabella nodded.

“Make it a long break.”

Only pride and everyone watching kept Daisy’s steps measured. Once inside the house, she placed the tray on the island in the middle of the kitchen and bent over it, head falling in her hands. There were no noises beyond the sound of the band outside.

He hadn’t followed her. Disappointment rose, sharp and painful as it tried to hollow her out. “I don’t care,” she whispered.

For the rest of the afternoon, she kept her heart strong and tears at bay. She laughed, smiled, and urged the wedding guests to eat their fill. When it was over, she joined everyone else as they threw rose petals and blew bubbles at the couple.

Unable to stop herself, she searched the crowd for him. Maybe…there were no maybes, no wishful thinking that somehow they’d work it out.

Sebastian had made his choice, and it hadn’t included her. Despite wanting to check on him, on his new life, she had forbidden herself to look at Internet sites that featured stories about him. It was for the best, really, because there was no way she could handle seeing him with Kate.

“He’s not here, baby girl,” Haven said, giving her a hug. “Your earl left about forty-five minutes ago.”

Her stomach dropped. So much for wishful thinking she’d told herself not to think about. “He’s not my anything, and I’m not looking for—”

Haven’s silver eyes narrowed, effectively cutting Daisy off. “You are, and you know what—that’s okay with me.”

Daisy chewed on the inside of her cheek as they walked to the back of the house. She directed the clean-up crew while Haven shot murderous glares at Heath. He merely smiled and toasted them, then made a face at the couple—Isabella and Liam— still on the dance floor.

“Over her my tail,” Haven muttered.

“Sebastian doesn’t want me, just like Glen,” Daisy finally said.

Haven turned her attention to Daisy. “I think you’re wrong.”

A soft snort escaped her. “You got that right: I’m wrong for both of them.”

Pushing her pink bangs out of her eyes, Haven pursed her lips. “You’re exactly what you are and it’s exactly the friend I’ve always needed.”

Warmth spread through her heart and tears gathered. Though she and Haven hadn’t always been the closest of friends, like Daisy was with Isabella, she valued and loved her to pieces. “Thank you.”

“Why don’t you go home? I’ll take care of everything else for you.”

Normally, Daisy would have declined the offer. But normally, Daisy wasn’t emotionally and physically drained. “I think I will. There’s a hot bubble bath calling my name.”

“But not too hot,” Haven warned.

Daisy shot her a look. “Not you, too.” But she didn’t mean it. She was grateful for her friends. “See you later.”

***

It took less than twenty minutes to drive back to her apartment, another two to trudge across the parking lot and up the stairs. She unlocked her door and went inside, only to smell food.

Brow creasing, she sniffed. It smelled like roast beef and carrots and potatoes, but she hadn’t cooked roast. And she sure as heck didn’t remember leaving the lights on. Maybe she had pregnancy nose and memory.

Her stomach rumbled as she walked further inside and then froze, her jaw dropping to the floor.

The table in the corner was set for two, with her china and food she knew she hadn’t cooked. In the center of the table sat a very familiar looking pot of African Violets.

“Hullo, Daisy,” a deep, sexy voice she recognized said, and she spun around, only to find her earl standing there.

“Why are you here?”

He shrugged and rubbed the back of his neck. His shirtsleeves were rolled up and his tie was half-undone. “Thought I’d make you dinner.”

Oh my mercy. “I’m not hungry.” Her stomach rumbled again.

Sebastian gave her midsection a pointed look. “You didn’t eat at the reception.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I watched you the entire time.”

“Because you care so much, right?” She swept past him, ready to leave the apartment and go to Haven’s.

He caught her by the elbow, his grip gentle but firm. “I do care. You look exhausted.”

“All day morning sickness tends to make me less than pretty,” she snapped.

“All day.” Concern lit his blue eyes. “Have you spoken to a physician about this?”

She couldn’t decide whether to be mad at him or cave and weep in his arms. “Look, we have nothing to say to each other, and I’m taking care of myself.”

“Perhaps you need someone to take care of you,” he said, pulling her toward the table and gesturing at the food. “Weren’t you the one to say grumpy equals hungry?”

Her lips twitched despite her best effort. “Yes.” He pulled out her chair and sat down, then began to serve her. Everything looked cooked to perfection. The beef medium, the carrots just this side of squishy and the potatoes soft enough to be pierced by a fork.

Ravenous, she took a bite before he sat down across from her and almost moaned her appreciation. It tasted perfect.

“Full disclosure: I did not make this meal.”

“Hmpf,” she said, mouth full of carrots.

“I had G.R. flown in and he cooked this meal for you.”

She blinked at him. “For me?”

A faint smile lifted his sexy mouth at the corners. “I couldn’t very well subject you to my cooking.”

They ate in silence, mostly because she was hungry and didn’t actually want to talk to him, because she might say something stupid like stay with me forever. Then he would laugh at her and leave. Only why go to all the trouble?

She grimaced, glancing up at him.

His fork clattered to the table. “Is it the baby? Shall I take you to—”

It hit her, then, right in the heart. Sebastian only wanted to check on the baby, not her. “The baby’s fine. You saw the ultrasound.”

He visibly swallowed. “Thank you for sending me the picture, but it’s not enough. I want more. I want you and the baby with me every day.”

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