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Home > Executive's Pregnancy Ultimatum (Kings of the Boardroom #2)(10)

Executive's Pregnancy Ultimatum (Kings of the Boardroom #2)(10)
Author: Emilie Rose

But this was the one time he’d welcome failure on the first few tries. Hell, he wouldn’t mind if it took a year…or two. As long as he had Renee in his bed he’d be happy.

“So Renee is back,” Brock said as soon as Flynn closed the door marked CEO. “Why?”

“What do you mean why? I told you.”

“C’mon, Flynn. Level with me.”

“You don’t believe she missed me and what we had and wanted to try again?”

“No. You burst in here eight days ago asking questions about your divorce out of the blue. Four days later Renee moved back into your house. The question is, what started that domino fall of events?”

He didn’t intend to tell Brock—or anyone—the whole truth. Telling the truth meant admitting failure. “We still care about each other and we’re going to try again.”

His brother’s expression turned from disbelief to disgust. “You’re sticking with that lame story?”

“Yes.”

“For the record, the rest of the staff may buy it, but I don’t.” Brock rocked back in his chair. “This isn’t about your inability to accept you’re fallible like the rest of us, is it?”

Tension invaded Flynn’s spine. “I don’t know what you mean.”

“You have no tolerance for weakness or failure. That goes double when it’s your own. I credit Dad for that. He rode you pretty hard.”

Flynn had been a failure in his father’s eyes. He knew it and accepted it. Brock, on the other hand, could do no wrong. The old resentments percolated beneath his skin, but he ignored them and focused on what had brought him to Brock’s office. “Sounds like we’re talking about you, not me. You can’t let this Reese Enterprises thing go. You’re obsessed.”

“You’re mistaken. You always blamed yourself for the failure of your marriage,” Brock added. “You couldn’t accept that Renee might have gotten tired of playing house.”

Flynn’s surprise that Brock had read him so well vied with his anger at the unjust accusation, but he wasn’t going to be so easily distracted. Worry for his brother had brought him to the lion’s den. “If you must rehash the past, remember one thing. You’ve already lost a fiancée because of your obsession with work.”

Brock folded his arms. “Good riddance, but we were talking about you.”

“You might have been, but I wasn’t, and I’m the one who scheduled this meeting.” He parked his butt in the chair facing Brock. “Judging by the matching set of baggage beneath your eyes, you’re not sleeping.”

“What, are you a psychiatrist now?”

“You need to get your mind off work and get laid. Find someone to take the edge off. Isn’t there a woman you can speed-dial for an unemotional quickie?”

He could use a little of his own medicine. The trouble was, now that Renee was back, he didn’t want anyone else, and even if he did, he couldn’t risk a scandal that might cost them business.

Living with Renee was like walking a tightrope stretched between heaven and hell. One wrong step and he could fall and land on the wrong side of the rope. She’d insisted on sticking with her get-reacquainted stipulation, which resulted in him having one hell of a time concentrating on work.

The only upside: the lack of sheet time forced him to focus on less carnal aspects of his beautiful wife—like her new strength and confidence. Not to mention her recently acquired curves. A very sexy combo.

Brock pitched his pen onto the desktop. “Sex isn’t the answer.”

“Maybe not, but it relaxes you enough to get the blood flowing back to your brain.”

A knock preceded the door opening a crack. Elle Linton, Brock’s executive assistant, poked her head through the gap. Her gaze flicked between Flynn and Brock and then settled on her boss. “Your next appointment is on his way up.”

Flynn turned back to Brock and caught a quick glimpse of something on his brother’s face he hadn’t seen before. But then Brock blinked and straightened, his mouth reforming into a tense line, before Flynn could decipher the expression. “Thank you, Elle. Give me five minutes.”

“Yes, sir.” The door closed.

His own lack of sleep had him imagining things. Was there something between his brother and Elle? No way. Brock would never condone an office affair. Maybe thoughts of another woman had brought that hungry expression to Brock’s face just before his assistant had knocked. Did he have a speed date in mind already?

Flynn rose. “Think about what I said. Get a little R & R before you crack up. I don’t want your job.”

“I’m fine. You watch your step. I don’t want to have to clean up again after hurricane Renee blows out of town.”

“Not going to happen.” Flynn intended to make damned sure of it. He might be fallible and he did make mistakes.

But he never made the same one twice.

Five

R enee’s cell phone vibrated in her pocket, making her jump. She grimaced at Lauren. “Oops. Sorry. My phone buzzed me.”

Lauren waved her hand. “No problem. Go ahead and see who it is. Like me, you’re waiting to hear from contractors and can’t afford to miss something important.”

Renee checked the caller ID. Flynn. Her pulse took a ba-ba-boom misstep.

“It’s my husband.” She had to force herself to say the H-word. In her head Flynn had been her ex for so long it would take some time to get used to his new/old status.

“Take the call. Believe me, if Jason called I’d answer.”

“Thanks.” Renee punched the button. “Yes?”

“Join me for lunch,” Flynn’s deep voice said, and her heart clenched in regret.

“Too late. I’m just finishing brunch with Lauren. As soon as we pay our checks we’re going shopping.”

“We’ll do it another time.” Did he sound disappointed? “Don’t forget to get the doctor recommendation. See you tonight, baby.”

That “baby” shimmied down her spine like a feather-light caress. Renee disconnected and pocketed her phone. As much as she liked Lauren and believed they could be friends, Renee had no intention of asking for an obstetrician’s name, because a very insistent part of her subconscious kept yelling, Run before it’s too late!

She dabbed her mouth with her napkin. “How long have you and Jason been married?”

“Three weeks,” Lauren replied with a smile that lit up her face.

Surprise hiked Renee’s eyebrows. “You’re newlyweds.”

“That, of course, leads to the next question.” Lauren pointed to her baby bump. “Jason and I worked together in New York and had a brief affair before he moved out here for the Maddox job. It wasn’t supposed to be more than that. The pregnancy caught me by surprise, and I debated not telling him. I was prepared to have my baby on my own. But when Jason found out, he wanted more. Our explosive chemistry returned and we got married.” She winked. “He is pretty irresistible when he puts his mind to it.”

Love and pregnancy combined to give Lauren’s face a beautiful glow that Renee had read about but never seen. An itty-bitty twinge of jealousy nipped at her heels. She would never have that glow with Flynn. She couldn’t afford to let herself love as deeply as she once had ever again.

“What about you and Flynn? You do realize you’re the hot topic in the Maddox break room at the moment, don’t you?”

Renee grimaced. “I suspected that might be the case. Flynn and I met, fell in love and ran off to Vegas eight years ago.”

“I sense a story there.”

Renee shrugged and decided it wouldn’t hurt to share a little background. “Carol Maddox will never be a big fan of mine. She claimed I wasn’t worthy of her son and said she’d boycott our wedding. Flynn and I took that option away from her by eloping.”

“How did your family feel about missing the wedding?”

Renee winced. “I hated not having my grandmother there, but she understood, and all she wanted was my happiness. Since I loved Flynn she supported my decision.”

“It was just you and your grandmother, then?”

“And my mother. But Mom…well, she’s sort of in her own world.” Lauren’s brows lifted in a silent question. “She’s a chef. Brilliantly creative, temperamental, self-centered—all the clichés you’ve ever heard about top chefs fit. So it was mostly Granny and me. But Granny was wonderful, so please don’t think I’m a pity case. Far from it.”

“Good to know. Do you mind my asking what happened to you and Flynn?”

A fresh wave of pain hit hard and fast. Renee glanced away. If she was over him, then why did it still hurt to think about those miserable months?

“After Flynn’s father died, Flynn and I hit a rough patch and took a break. We’re trying to work out our differences now.” She believed she could trust Lauren and was tempted to ask her advice, but instead, she tucked the cash for her lunch into the vinyl folder with the bill and tactfully changed the subject. “Are you ready to overheat your credit card in the local stores?”

“Absolutely. I appreciate your willingness to tag along and offer your opinion. Most women’s eyes glaze over when I start babbling about nurseries—unless they’re pregnant.” Lauren’s mouth opened in surprise, and excitement widened her green eyes. “You’re not, are you?”

“Pregnant? No. But Flynn and I are discussing it. We’d once planned to have a large family, so I don’t mind looking.”

“You said you were waiting on calls from a contractor, too?” Renee ventured as they strolled side by side toward the shop someone had recommended to Lauren.

Lauren nodded. “We’re building an office behind Jason’s home in the Mission District. It’s a historic property, and we have to have an architecturally equivalent design to meet all the codes and regulations. Our simple addition has become quite a complicated endeavor.”

Renee nodded sympathetically. “I know what you mean. Flynn and I plan to convert the basement of his Pacific Heights Victorian into a kitchen for my catering business. I don’t want to do anything to violate zoning laws or devalue the property.”

“It’s a challenge to make new fit into old, but working so close to home will be worth it, especially after the baby comes.”

Exactly what Flynn had said.

They arrived at a baby boutique catering to upper-class mommies-to-be. Renee followed Lauren in.

Inside the boutique each vignette portrayed a perfectly decorated nursery. Before she’d left Flynn, Renee used to wander through the baby departments of local stores, yearning for a family and someone to love. But she’d done her looking and yearning alone.

Then the oddest thing happened at the fourth display. A sensation of coming home settled over her like a warm blanket. She ran her fingertips over the rails of an oak crib with chubby, tumbling teddy bears painted on the head and footboards and tried in vain not to fall in love with the piece.

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