I only have eyes for you, p.12
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       I Only Have Eyes for You, p.12

         Part #4 of The Sullivans series by Bella Andre
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Page 12

  Author: Bella Andre

  She looked uncertain and uncomfortable. Along with tired—at least as tired as he felt.

  “Could I come inside?”

  “Don’t you remember what happened the last time?” He all but growled the words at her, but even though she paled and her eyes widened, she didn’t make a move to leave.

  “Yes,” she said softly. “That’s exactly what I’m here to talk to you about. ”

  Jake didn’t trust himself around her. Just as he’d expected—if he saw her again, one look would be all it took for him to be gripped with a fierce urge to drag her off and chain her to his bed.

  God, he was sick, thinking even now about all the ways he could corrupt her.

  Nice.

  He had to remember she was nice. . . rather than the innately sensual woman who had writhed and cried out beneath him, desperate for pleasure when it turned out that beneath her sweet, innocent, nice facade was a naughty woman who—

  “I don’t have time for this tonight. ” The last thing he wanted to do was hurt her, but if she stayed, if she let him touch her again, he’d only end up hurting her more. “I’ve got to get back to the pub. ”

  “Too bad,” she said, “because you and I need to talk. Now. ”

  She shoved past him, a fierce Sophie Sullivan he hadn’t known existed until now.

  As he shut the door and turned to face her, Jake was wholly focused on tamping down his reaction to how beautiful she was, how good she smelled, how much he wanted to pull her against him. He was so focused on hanging on to his almost nonexistent control, that he nearly missed her next words.

  “I’m pregnant. ”

  The earth actually stopped spinning, nearly pitching him off the edge. His brain tried to hold on to what she’d just said, but he couldn’t wrap his head around it. Couldn’t believe he’d heard what he thought he’d just heard.

  He stared at her stomach, her sweater and skirt tight enough at the waist for him to see that it was still flat.

  “I probably won’t start showing for another month. ”

  Panic gripped him at the thought of being a father. He’d never planned on having kids. Had made damn sure something like this would never happen.

  “You’re sure it’s mine?”

  She looked like he'd hauled off and nailed her with a fist to her jaw, rather than asking her a question. “The wedding was two and a half months ago. ” She worked visibly to calm down. “You are the only man I’ve slept with in—” She paused. “—a long time. It couldn't have been anyone else. ”

  Panic and shock still clawed at his guts, but it couldn’t override the purely primitive male instinct to claim her and his kid that instant.

  Relief swept through Jake at knowing she was his.

  Only his.

  She took a deep, shaky breath. “I came here to tell you what. . . what happened. You deserve to know, not to always wonder if my little girl or boy is yours. ”

  Her words, and the image they conjured up, nearly brought him to his knees.

  A little girl. Or boy.

  His daughter or son.

  “When?” he asked in a voice that was still too harsh.

  “I think I’m somewhere between twelve to fourteen weeks, so…fall. ”

  Jake had never marked time by anything other than business trips and vacations. . . and beatings when he was a kid. “Have you seen a doctor yet?” Again, the words were rough as he couldn't manage to temper the primitive instinct to claim her and the baby as his. Now.

  Forever.

  She looked surprised by his question. “I have an appointment for tomorrow. ”

  “Good,” he said, needing to get closer to her, her glow pulling him in the way it always had. Only he couldn’t remember how to fight it anymore. “I’m coming with you. ”

  “Wait. ” She shook her head, took a step back from him, widening the gap he’d just been closing. “I didn’t just come here to tell you I’m pregnant. I also came to tell you that I don’t want anything from you. And that no one needs to know you’re the father. ”

  “Like hell. ”

  She looked shocked by his reaction. But despite her shock, she didn’t budge an inch, even as he continued to close the distance between them.

  “Why are you saying that?” she asked. “I thought you’d be happy to hear that I don’t want anything from you. That way you can keep your free lifestyle. ”

  The word free twisted on her lips until it sounded like a curse.

  “I’m not going to let you walk away, Sophie. And I’m not going to let you tell your family, your friends, that some random guy did this to you. ” He pointed his index finger at his chest. “It was me. ”

  Sixty seconds ago, he’d been trying to get her to admit it wasn’t. But now the truth came out: He was desperate to claim this kid as his.

  And her, too, a mocking voice in his head told him. Finally you can have everything you’ve ever wanted. Even though you don’t deserve any of it.

  “I know you’ve probably forgotten what happened that night, but I haven’t. ” Sophie’s frustration had morphed into full-on anger. It was another side to her that he’d never known existed. “You were gone as soon as you could sneak away, probably wishing for an escape hatch long before you actually left. We both know you have absolutely zero interest whatsoever in being with me. The fact that I’m pregnant doesn’t change any of that. For so long, I wanted you to notice me. To see me. And you did, for one night. But then I realized that even though I got what I thought I wanted, it didn’t mean anything. ” She shook her head. “It was great sex, but I want more than lust. I want undying love. I want that look that Chase gave Chloe when he promised to be hers forever. ”

  He hated the way she was looking at him, with none of the hero worship, none of the undisguised admiration she used to have for him.

  Jake had never felt like a hero. But in one person’s eyes, at least, he hadn’t been complete scum.

  Until now.

  Hurt spilled from every word she’d said. But he couldn’t deal with that now, not when there were more important things to settle. He’d never had a mother and would probably have been far better off if he hadn’t had a father, either. Kids weren’t supposed to have ever been in the cards for him, but since he was just starting to realize that he wasn’t in control of nearly as much as he liked to think he was, one thing was for sure.

  He wasn’t going to let his kid miss out on having a mother and a father.

  “Now that you’re having my kid, we’re getting married. ”

  Her mouth fell open. “Didn’t you hear anything I just said?”

  Yes, he’d heard her. Every brave, courageous word intended to push him out of her life.

  “We can be in Vegas in a couple of hours, just get it done. ”

  “I’m not going to marry you, Jake,” she said, and then with a confused shake of her head, “Of all the people in the world, I wouldn’t have expected this from you. ”

  How could she not understand that his upbringing was exactly why being a part of his child’s life would be so important to him? Just because she was pregnant with a kid he hadn’t planned on ever having didn’t change the fact that he wasn’t going to let that child grow up without knowing his father.

  “You’re pregnant with my kid. ” He reached for her, putting his hands on her shoulders before she could get any farther from him. This was his chance to finally claim everything he’d ever wanted. Not just Sophie, but a family. “My kid, Sophie. You can’t keep it from me. ”

  “No,” she said, tense beneath his grip, “I wouldn’t do that to you. ”

  “It’s exactly what you’re threatening. ”

  She shook her head, but she didn’t try to pull out of his arms. “I’m not. I swear I’m not. I’m just trying to let you off the hook. ”

  “Fuck being let off the hook. ”


  She flinched at his foul language and Jake nearly cursed again as the thought of losing Sophie already tore his guts to shreds. But losing his child too?

  Not a chance.

  Jake’s desperation to keep them both took precedence over everything else.

  “One week. ”

  “What?”

  “I want one week to convince you to marry me. ”

  “You seriously think you can convince me to marry you in seven days? You must be the most arrogant, self-absorbed—” She stopped mid-insult, clearly trying to regain control. She took a deep breath. “Look, if you want to be a part of your child’s life, I’m not going to keep him or her from you. But you and I both know we don’t have to get married to be involved parents. I don’t understand why you’re acting like this. . . or how you could possibly think I'm going to agree to your demands. ”

  Because just a handful of hours with you in my arms made it so I can hardly remember what my life was like before you. I only know it wasn’t any good.

  Growing up, Jake’s neighborhood had been rough enough that he’d quickly learned to do whatever he had to do to make sure he walked away in one piece. Right, wrong, none of that mattered when your life was on the line.

  This time, three lives were on the line—his, Sophie’s, and their child’s—and he’d fight as dirty as he had to for them.

  “You’re the one who came to my house in Napa and took your clothes off. ” He let his reminder of who seduced whom sink in before saying, “You owe me at least seven days. ”

  Sophie stared at him for a long moment, long enough that he knew he had her right where he wanted her. Finally.

  “If I say yes, at the end of the week you’ll agree to do this my way?”

  No. He’d never be able to do that, could never in a million years not claim his baby or the mother of his child. But it wouldn’t help his cause if she knew that going in.

  Knowing he needed the week to work his magic, he nodded, just one more lie to add on top of the pile. But he wasn’t done playing dirty yet, not when he knew using their sexual connection was his best chance to get her to change her mind. Even if he burned in hell for it.

  “The bed is part of the deal, Sophie. It’s non-negotiable. ”

  “Obviously,” she replied, shocking the hell out of him, yet again. “We’ll have a bunch of sex for a week and then you’ll leave again and I’ll deal with the rest of my life. ” She shrugged as if she couldn’t have cared less about it either way.

  Jake belatedly realized his misstep. At the end of the week, Sophie was going to use all the great sex they were bound to have to prove that’s all there was between them. He’d never had to prove the opposite to a woman, had never wanted to.

  It was one heck of a situation. Especially considering, he knew now, that it didn’t matter how hard he tried not to touch her. He was barely going to make it another seven minutes, let alone seven days, without making love to her again.

  “So we’re agreed?”

  “Fine. ” The one word from her mouth held a world of irritation. “I’ll give you seven days, but you can’t tell anyone in my family about us. About the baby. ”

  It made sense that none of them knew. Because if they did, her brothers would already have hunted him down. And killed him.

  “Does anyone know apart from the two of us?”

  “Only Lori. She wanted to do terrible things to you when she found out. Still does, actually. ”

  It would definitely be easier for him to win her over in seven days if her family wasn’t constantly interfering in their business, especially if her brothers put him in a full body cast. But Sophie’s keeping something so big, so important from the family that meant everything to her, didn’t sit right with Jake.
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