Home > The Tycoon's Secret Affair (The Anetakis Tycoons #3)(6)

The Tycoon's Secret Affair (The Anetakis Tycoons #3)(6)
Author: Maya Banks

He looked up when she tapped on the frame of his open door.

“Miss Henley, come in. Have a seat please.”

She settled down in front of him and waited expectantly. He cleared his throat and tugged at his collar in an uncomfortable motion. Then he leveled a stare at her.

“When you hired on, it was with the condition that it was a temporary position. You were to be Mr. Anetakis’s assistant for the duration of his stay here.”

“Yes.” They’d been through all of this and she was impatient to get on with it.

“I’m sorry to say that he no longer requires an assistant. He’s had a change of plans. As such, your services are no longer required.”

She stared, stunned, for a long moment. “Excuse me?”

“Your employment here is terminated effective immediately.”

She stood, her legs trembling, her fingers curled into tight fists. “That bastard. What a complete and utter bastard!”

“Security will escort you to your room and wait while you collect your things,” he continued as if she hadn’t let loose with her tirade.

“You can tell Mr. Anetakis that he is the lowest form of pond scum. Verbatim, Mr. Patterson. Make sure he gets my message. He’s a gutless piece of chicken shit, and I hope he chokes on his damn cowardice.”

With that she turned and stormed out of his office, slamming the door as hard as she could. The sound reverberated down the hallway, and a few people stuck their heads out of their cubicles as she stalked past.

Unbelievable. He hadn’t even had the courage to fire her himself. He let his personnel director handle it while he ran for the hills. What a crock.

Two security guards fell into step beside her when she neared the elevator. It pissed her off that she was being treated like a common criminal.

She rode the elevator with them in stiff silence. They walked behind her to her door and positioned themselves on either side of the frame while she went in. How long would they give her before bursting in? The thought amused her even as rage crawled over her in waves.

Shedding her uncomfortable heels, she sank onto the bed like a deflated balloon. Damn the man. She had enough money to get off the island, but little else. Certainly no money to plan her next venture. She’d spent what she had to get here and taken the good-paying job to restock her resources. With the money earned in this job, she would have been able to travel, albeit economically, for the next six months without worrying about finances.

Now she faced the only choice available to her if she wanted a roof over her head. Going back home to San Francisco and the apartment that belonged to Kirk was her only option.

It had been an agreement between them. If she ever needed a place to stay, she was to go there. The utilities were taken care of each month and the pantry was stocked with staples.

She didn’t even have a way to contact him other than e-mail, and sometimes he went weeks without checking it. She just hoped he hadn’t planned one of his rare trips home at the same time she’d be there.

Her fingers dug into her temples, and she closed her eyes. She could look for work here on the island, but she’d already exhausted most of her possibilities when this job had landed in her lap. Nothing else paid nearly as well, and now she had no desire to stay where she might actually run into Piers Anetakis. The worm.

San Francisco was it, she admitted with forlorn acceptance. Hopefully she could land a job, save up some money. Having a rent-free place to stay would be helpful but she hated to take advantage of Kirk’s generosity.

“Damn you, Piers Anetakis,” she whispered. He’d managed to turn the most beautiful night of her life into something tawdry and hateful.

With a resigned shake of her head, she knew there was little point in feeling sorry for herself. There was nothing to do but pick up and go on and hopefully learn a lesson in the process.

Four

Five months later…

P iers descended the steps of his private jet and strode across the paved runway to the waiting car. The damp, chilly San Francisco air was a far cry from the warm, tropical air he was used to. He hadn’t taken the time to pack appropriate clothing, and the thin silk shirt and light suit coat didn’t offer much in the way of protection from the pervading chill.

The driver had already been instructed as to Piers’s destination, so he sat back as the car rolled away from the airport toward the hospital where Jewel was being treated.

What had happened to her? It must be serious if she’d broken down and phoned him after he hadn’t been able to uncover her whereabouts for five months. Guilt was a strong motivator, and yet his efforts had come to naught.

No matter. He now knew where she was. He’d see to it that she had the best care and settle an amount on her to compensate her loss of employment, and then maybe he could get her out of his head.

When they finally rolled up to the hospital, Piers wasted no time hurrying in. At the help desk he was given Jewel’s room number, and he rode the elevator to the appropriate floor.

At her door, he found it slightly ajar and issued a soft knock. Not hearing any summons, he pushed the door open and quietly walked in.

She was barely more than a rumpled pile of sheets on the bed, her head propped haphazardly on her pillow. Her eyelashes rested on her cheeks, and her soft, even breathing signaled her sleep.

Even in rest, she looked worried, her face drawn, her brow wrinkled. Her fingers were clutched bloodlessly at the sheet gathered at her chest. And yet she was as beautiful as he remembered, and unfortunately for him, he’d been haunted by her beauty for the last five months.

He removed his suit coat and tossed it over the chair beside her bed and then settled himself down to sit and wait for her to wake. The slight movement alerted her, and her eyes flew open.

Shock registered as soon as she saw him. Her eyes widened in what looked to be panic. Her hands moved immediately to her stomach in a protective gesture he’d be blind to miss.

Then he saw what it was she was protecting. There was an unmistakable swell, a taut mound that shielded a baby!

“You’re pregnant!”

Her eyes narrowed. “Well, you needn’t sound so accusing. I hardly got that way by myself.”

For a moment he was too stunned to realize her implication, and then when it came, it trickled like ice down his spine. Old memories came back in a wave, and hot anger quickly melted away the cold in his veins.

“Are you saying it’s mine?” he demanded. Already his mind was moving in a whir. He wouldn’t be trapped again by a conniving woman.

“She,” Jewel corrected. “At least refer to your daughter as a human being.”

Damn her. She knew that by personalizing the vague entity she shielded that he’d be inhuman not to react.

“A daughter?”

Against his will, his voice softened, and he found himself examining her belly closer. He impatiently brushed aside her cupped hands and then snatched his own hand back when her belly rippled and jumped beneath his fingers.

“Theos! Is that her?”

Jewel smiled and nodded. “She’s active this morning.”

Piers shook his head in an attempt to brush away the spell. A daughter. Suddenly he envisioned a tiny little girl, a replica of Jewel but with his dark eyes. Damn her for making him dream again.

His expression hardened, and he once again focused his attention on Jewel. “Is she mine?”

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