Expecting His Royal Baby [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Susan Stephens
eBook Category: Romance/Romance
eBook Description: Prince boss, virgin secretary ... unexpected heir! The prince with a provocative past has returned to claim Niroli's crown ... Nico Fierezza has never relied on his royal name. But now the king has summoned him. Niroli is ready to welcome its new ruler! Carrie Evans has been in love with Nico, her boss, for years. But he ruthlessly discarded her after one night of loving and now she's pregnant! Carrie will do anything to protect her baby's future. Does anything include marrying Nico?
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Presents
Fictionwise Release Date: November 2007
19 Reader Ratings:
THERE WAS A single white rose on a coffin splattered with raindrops….
It made Carrie sad to see the tender bloom lying on the brass plate that spoke to a world that would never read it: the name of an aunt who had never loved her. But love could not be controlled at will, and Carrie had loved her aunt in spite of the woman's rejection of her. Sad as she was, Carrie was glad there were some things words could never destroy and that love was one of them.
Carrie turned to find a man standing behind her. He was sheltering beneath the oily spread of a black umbrella, which made the shadows on his saturnine face all the deeper, adding to his air of gloom. There were only four people at her aunt's funeral other than herself—the minister and three undertakers—and it was hard to feel brave as the small group peeled away to allow her some privacy. Lifting up her chin, she gazed squarely into the face of the man. 'I'm Carrie Evans. Can I help you?'
'Sorry, miss…I tried the house.'
Carrie didn't know the man, but she could guess what he had come for. He was here to serve papers evicting her from her aunt's house on the instructions of relatives who hadn't been to visit Aunt Mabel in Carrie's living memory. A solicitor had rung her yesterday to explain.
Yesterday, the day when everything in her life had changed for good….
Carrie was twenty-five, but she looked much younger. Her complexion was pale and she dressed conservatively, keeping her luxuriant hair scraped back neatly in a practical twist. She found the lush tresses an embarrassment. Her natural hair colour was a rich golden red that painters called titian, and she believed it better suited to an actress or a glamour model. She had even thought about dying her hair a pale shade of brown, but the upkeep would have been too much on a secretary's salary. Her eyes were large and cornflower-blue and were perhaps her most expressive feature. Widely set and fringed with sable lashes, they were quick to darken with emotion, but could turn steely when there was something or someone to defend.
The man addressing Carrie saw a capable young woman, a little too plump to ever be called stylish, but determined, nonetheless, he concluded.
'I have already cleared my belongings from my late aunt's house,' she told him without rancour, 'and as soon as we're finished here I will collect my suitcase and deliver the house keys to my aunt's solicitor….'
She couldn't do any more, and he felt some sympathy for her. He'd heard she had nowhere to go since her aunt's heirs had turned up and laid claim to the house where she lived. 'You're so well organised,' he said, trying to soften the blow for her, 'I hardly need to give you this….'
'I think you do,' she told him.
Her tone was serious and exposed his attempt to console her for the sham it was. She held his gaze as she reached for the documents he was carrying and, as he handed over the eviction notice, he couldn't help thinking that, in spite of the downturn in her fortunes, the young woman in front of him possessed a quiet dignity that commanded his respect.
* * *
She had forgotten how cold and bare her attic room was. The eviction notice allowed her twenty-four hours to clear out her things. She neither wanted nor needed twenty-four hours. She missed her aunt, but she was pleased to be leaving such a sad and lonely place. Her aunt's house could so easily have been filled with love and laughter if only Aunt Mabel had been able to forget that Carrie's father had chosen Carrie's mother over herself.
But things could be worse. Carrie's mouth tipped down wryly as she totted up the facts. She was jobless, homeless, single and pregnant.
Carrie's wry smile turned into a smile of true happiness when she thought about her baby. The pregnancy was a source of great joy to her that nothing could dim. She was going to have someone to love; someone who would love her, someone she could care for and champion. The only problem was her baby's father. He would have to be told. He had a right to know, Carrie thought, even as her stomach clenched with apprehension.
Unfortunately, her baby's father was the hardest and most unfeeling man she had ever known. He was about as approachable as a tiger with a thorn in its pad. He was also the man she was in love with, the man she had loved since the first moment she had set eyes on him; the only man she could ever love…The same man who barely knew she was alive. And the longer she left it, the harder it would be to tell him that he was about to become a father.
Crossing her arms over her stomach in a protective gesture, Carrie determined she would not allow anything to stand in the way of her baby's future happiness, certainly not her own lack of nerve. She had to face up to him and she would. She didn't want anything for herself, but she did want recognition and security for her child. Her baby's father was a very wealthy man and she wondered if he could be persuaded to set up a trust fund to provide for college fees when the time came.
Before Carrie had learned she was pregnant she had dreamed of leaving the office where she had worked as a secretary to try and turn her hobby of painting into a profession, but that was out of the question now. She planned instead to find some cheap accommodation and work until the baby came. Her goal was to build up a small nest egg so that one day she could buy a modest property with a child-friendly garden. A solid base was important. She didn't want a child of hers to be pushed from pillar to post as she had been after her parents' tragic accident. She might be homeless today, but not for long.
Copyright © 2007 by Harlequin Books S.A.