Virgin Mistress, Scandalous Love-Child
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“Obey me, and it will be easier for everyone. Especially you.”
That was what had gotten her into this trouble in the first place. Just off Copacabana Beach, to the rhythmic beat of samba music and the howls of the crowds, he’d looked back at her. He’d taken her in his arms and kissed her with a sudden ferocity that had made her weak. “You’re coming home with me,” he’d whispered against the flushed heat of her skin. “You’re coming to my bed…”
And she hadn’t resisted. She’d thought she was in love with him. She’d dreamed so long of being his, and she’d surrendered to his orders without a fight.
But back then she’d only risked herself. Now she was pregnant. Her baby had to be protected at all costs. If Diogo meant her harm….
“You said you didn’t want to be a father. I accept that.” She shook her head desperately. “Send me back home. We’ll never bother you again. The child will never even know about you!”
Diogo’s dark eyebrows lowered. “Because you have other plans? No,” he said with a curl on his lip. “No baby of mine will leave Rio.”
Jennie Lucas grew up dreaming about faraway lands. At fifteen, hungry for experience beyond the borders of her small Idaho city, she went to a Connecticut boarding school on scholarship. She took her first solo trip to Europe at sixteen, then put off college and travelled around the US, supporting herself with jobs as diverse as gas station cashier and newspaper advertising assistant. At twenty-two she met the man who would be her husband. After their marriage, she graduated from Kent State with a degree in English. Seven years after she started writing she got the magical call from London that turned her into a published author.
Since then life has been hectic, with a new writing career and a sexy husband and two babies under two, but she’s having a wonderful (albeit sleepless) time. She loves immersing herself in dramatic, glamorous, passionate stories. Maybe she can’t physically travel to Morocco or Spain right now, but for a few hours a day, while her children are sleeping, she can be there in her books.
Jennie loves to hear from her readers. You can visit her website at www.jennielucas.com, or drop her a note at email@example.com
Virgin Mistress, Scandalous Love-Child
To Pete, who offered to whisk me to Rio for “research”. Happy anniversary, honey, today and forever.
As Ellie Jensen came up the stairs from the subway, her body was still shaking. She dimly heard taxi drivers yelling curses and honking their horns.Vendors were already setting up hot dog and pretzel carts on the sidewalks. After a long, gray winter, New York had finally surrendered to the brilliant warmth of May.
But Ellie was cold to the bone. She hadn’t felt her fingers or toes for hours. Not since she took the pregnancy test that morning and saw those two parallel pink lines
She was getting married in six hours, and she was pregnant.
With another man’s baby.
Her boss’s baby.
Ellie stopped dead in front of the Serrador Building. She craned her neck to look up at the thirtieth floor, and panic ripped through her.
Diogo Serrador, the dark, ruthless steel tycoon who’d employed her for the last year, was going to be a father.
I cannot get you pregnant, querida. She still remembered his sensual voice that hot night, riding the hot drumbeat of Rio’s Carnaval. He’d whispered against her skin, Do not worry. It’s impossible.
And she’d believed him!
How could she have been so stupid? With her history, how could she have fallen prey to the oldest clich? in the world—an innocent country girl moving to the big, bad city and getting seduced by her arrogant, wealthy, vastly sexy boss?
She should have left the company at Christmas, when Timothy did. At the very least, she should have given notice weeks ago—as she’d promised him she would. But she’d kept procrastinating. As if something would stop her from losing the city she loved. The life she loved. The man she…
She stopped the thought cold.
It had been just a crush. A wild, heart-pounding crush. Then a seduction…
Ellie’s heart hurt as she looked up at the brilliant blue sky above the sweetly singing birds. The air was fresh and warm. The world was new.
But the news of her pregnancy wouldn’t make Diogo a father. She knew that already. The notorious playboy had his choice of gorgeous, brilliant women. He took them out, treated them like goddesses, then discarded them like last night’s rubbish. If women like that couldn’t hold his attention, no wonder he’d forgotten Ellie, a high school dropout with cheap clothes and unremarkable looks!
Diogo Serrador, a decent father?
The most likely scenario was that he’d carelessly offer her money for an abortion.
“Oh…” Covering her face with her hands, she cursed him aloud, causing the pedestrians hurrying past her on the sidewalk to give her a wide berth.
As inconvenient a shock as this pregnancy was, Ellie had already come to love this baby ferociously. This child was hers. Her family.
But Diogo had the right to know. Didn’t he?
Ellie ground her teeth. She would fling his lie back into his face!
She pushed open the building’s wide revolving door and took the elevator to the thirtieth floor. Determination steeled her as she passed the glassed-in offices down the hall.
“You’re late,” Carmen Alvarez snapped at Ellie as she passed her desk. “The numbers you gave me last night were all wrong. What’s the matter with you, girl?”
Ellie felt the floor move beneath her in a sway of nausea. She’d nearly been sick twice on the subway ride from her tiny Washington Heights studio apartment. She’d been queasy for months. That should have warned her, but she’d told herself her cycle was erratic. She couldn’t be pregnant. Diogo Serrador had given his word! I cannot get you pregnant, querida.
“Are you sick?” Mrs. Alvarez demanded with narrowed eyes. “Partying all night?”
“Party?” Ellie gave a weak laugh. That morning, when she’d finally been unable to zip up the black pencil skirt or button her close-fitting white shirt, she’d gone to the twenty-four-hour drugstore and bought a test from the pimply-faced teenager at the cash register. “No, not a party.”
“Then it’s some man,” the older woman said. “I’ve seen this before. Wait right there.” Holding up her finger in warning, the executive secretary answered the phone. “Diogo Serrador’s office,” she chirped brightly, turning away.
One of the other junior secretaries crept up to pat Ellie’s shoulder.
“Did you see Mr. Serrador’s picture in the papers this morning?” Jessica said in a sweet Southern drawl. “He took Lady Allegra Woodville to the benefit last night. She’s so elegant and beautiful, don’t you think? But then she comes from an upper-class background, just like he does. Blood will tell, my mama always used to say, class—” she looked over Ellie with hard eyes “—or trash.”
Ellie ground her teeth. She never should have confessed her infatuation for Diogo—or her heartache after Rio.
Jessica saw her job simply as a way to pass the time until she found a rich husband, and she’d long ago set her sights on Diogo. Ellie had been trying to warn the girl with her own heartbreak.
Instead, Jessica had spread malicious rumors all over the office. Ellie was now despised by all the staff as a gold-digging slut. Ellie—a slut! She, who’d never even kissed a man before. Diogo had swept her up into his arms in Rio!
Thank God she’d finally given up on her dreams. She’d finally realized that her grandmother was right. Her heart wasn’t hard or modern enough to survive city life. She’d given up. Given in.
Three weeks ago, she’d finally told Timothy yes.
He had left his prestigious job as Diogo Serrador’s general counsel at Christmas, abruptly deciding to be a simple country lawyer in their small hometown. He’d pressured Ellie to leave with him, but she’d refused.
But after today she would never have to see New York again—or Diogo. She would be married to a safe, respectable man who loved her. A man she could trust.
Assuming Timothy still wanted her when she was pregnant with another man’s child.
Mrs. Alvarez hung up the phone and turned to face Ellie. “I don’t know what you’ve been doing in your spare time, but your work has been unacceptable. This is your last chance—”
Diogo’s deep, accented voice interrupted her, booming through the intercom on the elegant dark wood desk. “Mrs. Alvarez, come at once.”
A thrill of panic raced through Ellie at the sound of his voice, causing her heart to nearly leap out of her chest.
“Yes, sir,” the executive secretary replied, then released the intercom button. Her critical eyes traced over Ellie’s pale, sweaty face and shapeless dark dress. “I need you to create a new SWOT analysis on Changchun Steel in dollars.” When Ellie didn’t move, she said sharply, “Get going, girl.”
“No,” Ellie whispered.
Mrs. Alvarez turned back with surprise and anger in her eyes. “What did you say?”
Shaking but determined, Ellie faced down the older woman. “I need to see him.”
She looked dumbfounded. “Certainly not!”
“Let her go,” Jessica muttered under her breath. “Once he sees her in that dumpy dress, he’ll fire her for sure.”
Ignoring her hurtful comment, Ellie started toward the office door.
“Stop right there!” Sputtering in outrage, the older woman stepped in front of her, pointing at Ellie in an angry staccato as she spoke. “This is the last straw. Whatever you might think you’ve earned on your back, you’re nothing here. I’ve had it with your incompetence. Your insolence! Collect your things. You are fired!”
Desperately, Ellie pushed past Mrs. Alvarez into the private office of her billionaire boss.
Diogo Serrador was having a week from hell.
After a year of nonstop work and millions of dollars spent, his hostile takeover bid for Trock Nickel Ltd. had just failed.
Because he’d lost his ally on their board of directors.
Because he’d missed an important appointment.
Because his junior secretary had written down the wrong time.
And it was only Ellie Jensen’s most recent mistake. For the last few weeks, he’d seen her work performance fall to ridiculous levels. He’d seen her come in late. Leave early. Take long lunches and spend far too much time hiding out in the bathroom.
Cursing under his breath, Diogo got up from his desk and paced in front of the curved wall of windows that revealed the skyscrapers of southern Manhattan and Battery Park. For an instant, he leaned his forehead against the cool glass, staring across the New York Harbor to the distant Statue of Liberty silhouetted against the pale morning sky. In spite of Miss Jensen’s inexperience, and in spite of the way he’d hired her—sight unseen, on his head lawyer’s recommendation—she’d been promising enough for him to take to Rio for an important deal when Mrs. Alvarez had been ill. Ellie Jensen had been on her way to becoming a valuable asset in his office.
Too bad he’d made the mistake of seducing her.
Diogo ground his teeth. Biskreta, he never should have taken her to Rio. He should have fired her at Christmas, along with his treacherous ex-lawyer.
His body went tense just remembering the gleam in Timothy Wright’s pale, feral face when Diogo found out what he’d done. “You should thank me, Mr. Serrador,” the man had said slyly. “I saved you millions of dollars.”
Thank him? The man deserved to burn in hell.
Diogo should have fired Ellie, too. Why trust a woman who was Wright’s friend? But Diogo’s conscience hadn’t allowed him to fire her. Hadn’t thought it fair.
And perhaps, he forced himself to admit, he’d liked having her in the office. Unlike many of the other secretaries, she’d always acted cheerful and kind. She hadn’t stooped to gossip. She’d added brightness to his office.
Until he’d slept with her.
Diogo ground his teeth. He’d known the girl was fresh from the country, but since she was twenty-four years old, it had never occurred to him she might be a virgin. If he’d known, he never would have touched her. Virgins were off-limits. They took lovemaking far too seriously. They saw it as a relationship. Plus, they were usually boring in bed.
But Ellie Jensen had been so sweetly stunning. With those china-blue eyes, that angelic white-blonde hair, and the curvaceous body of a swimsuit model, he’d naturally assumed she had experience. In the heat and lust of Rio’s Carnaval, he’d acted on impulse. Ah, and it had been such a night… His body got hard just thinking of it.
But no, he was done. There were many beautiful women in the world, and he had no interest in breaking little innocent hearts. Or encouraging naive little farm girls that they might be the ones to tame him.
He heard a scuffle outside his office door. Irritated, he turned and pressed the intercom button a second time. “Mrs. Alvarez? What is the delay?”
The door was abruptly flung open, banging loudly against the wall. He looked up, his jaw hard. “Finally. Please take a letter—”
But instead of his competent executive secretary, he saw the bane of his existence. The woman whose beauty and innocence had just cost him a billion-dollar deal.
“I need to talk to you!” she gasped, struggling with Mrs. Alvarez. “Please!”
“Miss Jensen,” he bit out scathingly, then paused when he got a good look at her.
Her blond hair was pulled back in a disheveled ponytail, and there were dark hollows beneath her eyes as if she hadn’t slept. Her forehead had a pale sheen, as if she’d been ill. She looked truly awful, and her rumpled sack dress made her look as if she’d gained twenty pounds overnight. What had happened to his neat, tidy, cheerful junior secretary?
Inwardly, Diogo sighed. He should have expected this. The girl no doubt intended to tearfully confess her love for him, then beg him for a commitment.
Exactly what he’d wanted to avoid. He would have liked to keep her as his lover for far longer than a one-night stand, but he’d denied himself the pleasure. He’d purposefully ignored her, hoping that she’d realize they had no possibility of a future.
It had been difficult for him, working in the same office. Seeing her in her cubicle, he’d often wanted nothing more than to drag her back to his office and make love to her on his desk, against the wall, on his leather sofa. But he’d held himself back. He’d tried to be noble.
And this was the result.
Three months without a woman in his bed, and now a blown billion-dollar deal.
“I’m sorry, sir,” the furious Carmen Alvarez panted, still pulling on the girl’s sleeve. “I tried to stop her—”
“Leave us, Mrs. Alvarez,” he said shortly.
The older woman’s jaw dropped. “But, sir—”
He gave her a look that immediately caused her to back out of the room, closing the door behind her.
Diogo placed his fingertips on his wide, dark wood desk. “Sit down, Miss Jensen.”
The girl didn’t move. Folding her arms, she looked up at him bitterly. “I think you should start calling me Ellie, don’t you?”
Ellie? He would never be so unprofessional to refer to a member of his staff by first name. Mrs. Alvarez had been his executive secretary for ten years, but he wouldn’t dream of calling her Carmen. But then…he’d never taken her body in the heat and madness of Rio’s Carnaval, kissing her in the street amid the collective madness of lust…
He pushed the thought aside.
“Sit down,” he repeated, and this time the girl obeyed. Her knees trembled as she sank into the leather chair across from his desk. She hugged herself, looking unhappy, almost ill. It made him feel uneasy. The look in her eyes troubled him. Made him feel guilty.
He resented the feeling. Maldi??o, he hadn’t known she was a virgin! If he had, he never would have touched her!
Still. Best to have it out now. Obviously his silence hadn’t given her the message. Nor had the fact that he’d taken out other women—although that had been for charity benefits and business engagements, hardly pleasure.
He would just have to be brutal. Inform her that he had no intention of ever settling down with any woman, no matter how sweet or pure or good in bed she might be.
With any luck, Ellie would accept his decision. She would return to being a competent secretary. He had to give her the chance…. Although, if a different member of his staff had made a billion-dollar mistake, he would have fired the person without thought!
But he couldn’t do that to Ellie. Not after he’d seduced her in Rio on a whim. Not after he’d unthinkingly debauched the innocence of the only purely good-hearted girl he’d met in New York.
He looked down at her.
“What do you wish to discuss with me, Miss Jensen? What is so important that you nearly started a fistfight with Mrs. Alvarez?”
She swallowed. “I need…to tell you something.”
He waited, bracing for her to blurt out that she loved him, that she couldn’t live without him, that she wanted them to move in together, or some other such nonsense. He’d heard it all before.
Instead, she said, “I… I’m leaving you.” She licked her lips. “Resigning. Effective immediately.”
Relief rushed through him. Then…
Regret? Ridiculous. He was just surprised, that was all. And rather sorry to lose a competent secretary.
He sat down heavily in his chair.
“I’m sorry to hear that. But I understand why you want to leave. I’ll write you a recommendation that will get you hired by any firm in the city.”
“No.” She shook her head. “You don’t understand. I don’t need your recommendation. I’m getting married.”
He stared at her, shocked.
“Married?” The center of his chest went cold. “When?”
That soon? His hands tightened. “That’s fast.”
He took a long breath. All these months, she hadn’t been heartsick over him. He hadn’t hurt Ellie at all by seducing her. Since then, she’d just been distracted by a hot new romance. Diogo should have been glad.
But something like cold fury went through his body. For no good reason, he had the sudden urge to punch the man who would soon have Ellie Jensen in his bed every night, doing his bidding and moaning his name. Giving him her body…
He ground his jaw. “Who is he?”
Her posture went straight in her chair. “Do you really care?”
“No.” He clenched his jaw. “I don’t.”
She stared at him for a long moment.
“You really don’t, do you?” she whispered. She shook her head. “Women are interchangeable to you. Useful only for organizing your schedule, making your coffee or warming your bed.”
Warming his bed? If he’d followed his own desires, he could have had her in his bed every night for the last three months. Diogo tried to remember why he hadn’t. Something about being noble. He cursed under his breath. He should have just enjoyed her. Now he’d lost the chance—forever.
He’d been replaced so easily!
Diogo had never had the experience of being left by a woman he still desired. This was his reward for doing the right thing? To see his prize carried off by some other man?
He leaned forward in repressed fury, placing his fingers on his desk. “Useful, Miss Jensen? Hardly. Your distraction over your love affair has just caused me to lose the Trock deal—”
“I told you, call me Ellie!” she cried. “And I’m not finished!”
Feeling like a saint, he folded his arms and forced himself to wait.
She rose slowly to her feet. There was a sheen of tears in her eyes. She seemed to sway with emotion.
“I’m sorry about the Trock deal, Diogo. But there’s something you need to know.” She spoke so softly he could barely hear. “I’m…having a baby.”
The coldness in him spread, turning to ice. A baby?
Ellie was pregnant. With another man’s baby.
For a second, he couldn’t even breathe. He heard the echo of a woman’s voice long ago, pleading in Portuguese. “Will you marry me, Diogo? Will you?” And later, a man’s voice in the same language. “I’m afraid she’s dead, senhor. Beaten to death…”
Ellie’s voice brought him back to the present.
Pregnant. That certainly explained the weight gain and the pallor and all the time she’d been spending in the ladies’ lounge. She hadn’t been suffering tears of unrequited love. It had been morning sickness.
Pregnant. Ellie had been in bed with another man. Her legs had wrapped around his as she pulled him down on her naked body with an ecstatic cry of joy. How many times had they made love for her to get pregnant? Three times a week? Three times a day?
Anger rushed back in force, careening over the numb shock like raging water filling a dry riverbed. Ever since they’d returned from Rio, he’d been celibate as a monk, striving night and day to bring the Trock deal together. And while he’d been blaming himself for taking the poor, sweet, innocent girl’s virginity, she’d nonchalantly gone from his bed into a hot love affair with another man. As if her night with Diogo had been a mere stepping stone to bigger and better things.
She was pregnant.
And getting married in a hurry.
Suddenly, he saw the whole situation in a new light.
He sucked in his breath. He turned to face her, and his lip curved into a sneer.
“Ellie, you’ve got quite the act going, don’t you? Playing the part of a sweet, innocent girl. But when you realized that giving me your virginity wasn’t going to pay off, you quickly moved on to the next man, didn’t you? You accidentally got pregnant. I assume he’s very rich? Congratulations.”
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