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Page 8 of Be Mine (Holland Springs 6)

Sebastian’s face softened a little. “I could lend you the money.”

“Thank you, but no.” Liam picked up the packet of papers and shuffled through them. “I’ve no choice but to find an agreeable woman to marry and get an heir off.”

“You’re worse than I am,” Sebastian muttered. “Perhaps you shouldn’t advertise that bit.”

“I’m not putting out an advert.”

“Know of someone, then?”

Bella Edwards’ inconvenient image came to mind. He hadn’t spoken to her in months, yet he thought of her every day. The weekend they had spent together burned in his memory. She’d been the most responsive lover he’d ever had. Actually, she’d been more than that. There had been something very sweet in their time together. Whether it should be attributed to the woman herself, or the reasons why they chose to take solace in another, he couldn’t say.

Only, he couldn’t contact her, not after their disastrous parting.

“Perhaps,” Liam said, steepling his fingers together and pressing them against his mouth.

Sebastian rose. “Whatever you decide, I’ll support you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve a wife to join at Hampshire’s Deli. She’s craving the most disgusting combinations.”

“Saw that, did you?” Liam smiled.

His mate’s blue eyes became shadowed. “It’s my job to keep her safe, even when she thinks life is nothing but fun and cupcakes. I intend to keep Daisy that way.”

“She has no idea?”

A touch of a smile pulled up one corner. “She’s not quite sure if that part of my family is actually real.”

Oh, it was real all right, and he suspected Daisy did know. He doubted very much a regular American girl would allow a bodyguard to follow her everywhere if it were not of upmost importance. And Liam knew Daisy was of upmost importance to Sebastian. She was his life.

“Carry on, then.” Liam stood as well. “I’ve a flight home to catch.”

The flight to Edinburgh had been quick and uneventful. He poured himself a glass of whiskey and leaned against the mantle of the fireplace.

His mobile vibrated. He pulled it out of his pocket and glanced at the screen, nearly dropping the phone in shock.

Bella: I’ll be in Edinburgh around 5 PM. Will you be home?

Now that was entirely unexpected. Why was Bella in Scotland? He checked the time and grimaced. It was a quarter to five.

Quickly, he texted back an apology and his address.

Forty minutes later, he was still nursing the same drink when there was a light scratch on the door to his study, before it opened. His body tensed in anticipation. She was there, right behind him, and all he had to do was turn slightly to the right and—

“Hi, Liam,” she said as the door shut.

He turned and though he knew to expect her… though he remembered every inch of her body, every moan and sigh she made when he was inside of her, having her in his home struck him hard.

She didn’t look the same at all.

Gone was the golden hair and equally golden skin. Gone was the playful light in her pretty eyes. Instead, her hair was black as night, her skin nearly pale as the moon, and her eyes were wary.

His forced his mouth into a semblance of a smile, wanting to put her at ease. “Bella, what brings you here? Your text was a bit vague.”

“You.”

That single word was enough to set him into motion. Pushing away from the fireplace, he crossed the small distance between them, tipped up her chin with one hand, and kissed her.

“Stop,” she gasped.

He pulled away, staring into her face. “I thought you were here for me.”

“No,” she said, cheeks flushing. “I mean, I am.”

“Sorry?”

“There’s no other way to say this, Liam, but I’m pregnant,” Bella said in a rush. “I had to tell you in person, because over the phone was too impersonal, and there was no way I’d tell you over email or text. So here I am. Pregnant.”

“With your baby,” she added.

Jesus. His drink slipped from his hands, hitting the wooden floor with a thunk, and he laughed. “You’re joking.”

“No.”

He only laughed harder. “This is too much. Oh God. Seriously, did Bastian put you up to this?” Sebastian had to have done this. No one else knew about the conditions of the will, not even his mother or sister.

She grabbed his hand and placed it against her stomach, where the barest hint of a bump greeted him.

“Does this feel like I’m joking?” she said.

His laughter died away. No joke. In fact… “It feels like you’re the answer to my prayers.”

“But you don’t pray,” she pointed out.

He used to pray, but this wasn’t the time for semantics. Instead, he glanced down at his hand, at where it connected to the life inside of her, and nearly fell to his knees in gratitude. “Perhaps I should start.”

“I don’t understand,” she said in a quivering voice. “I thought… I thought you’d be unhappy.”

Unhappy? His gaze sliced to hers. There were tears in her eyes, unshed, but on the verge of falling. “I am whatever you want me to be.”

She let go of his hand and turned away from him. “You would be.”

“Yes, I would be supportive. I was more than clear about it when we last spoke,” he said, anger rising. What did she want from him? He was doing the right thing by respecting her decision. What else could a woman want in this situation? His mother certainly never had any support. She’d done it all on her own, until his grandfather had made his son do his duty and bring his wife to Edinburgh when Liam turned seventeen.

“I don’t know why I thought coming here was a good idea.” She walked away from him, going to the windows and looking out. There was a rather lovely view of the garden from this vantage point.

Not that the view mattered. “How long do you plan on staying?”

Black hair shifted to one side as she moved. Why had she stopped dyeing her hair? “Long enough to tell you about the baby.”

“And now?”

She shrugged. “I guess I’ll leave.”

“And do what?” Really, he had to know. What were her plans? Abortion, adoption, or would she keep it? His baby. Bloody hell. He rubbed his eyes, and then bent to pick up the glass he dropped. Setting it on the desk, he made a mental note to get the rest cleaned after he and Bella were all sorted.

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