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Home > Executive's Pregnancy Ultimatum (Kings of the Boardroom #2)(11)

Executive's Pregnancy Ultimatum (Kings of the Boardroom #2)(11)
Author: Emilie Rose

If the baby plan came to fruition, she had to have this furniture.

“Gorgeous, isn’t it?” a saleswoman said.

“Yes.” Renee looked around for Lauren, but her new friend had moved several displays deeper into the store.

“Each spindle is hand-lathed, and of course, the bears are hand-painted. It’s a one-of-a-kind piece from one of our most talented and sought-after craftsmen. When are you due?” the woman asked.

“Oh, I’m not pregnant. Yet.”

A polite smile stretched the woman’s lips. “Ah. Then may I suggest that if you’re going to wait until you conceive to make your purchase, you might not want to set your heart on this crib. This gentleman’s work always sells within a week of being put on the floor.”

Indecision twisted inside Renee. If she walked away now, she’d probably never have this set. But if she bought it, she’d be making a commitment to an idea that still terrified her. “I…I’d better catch up with my shopping partner.”

The saleswoman’s interest cooled. “Of course.”

With turmoil tossing inside her like a stormy sea, for the next five minutes Renee shadowed Lauren through the store. Questions tumbled through her brain, distracting her from the task at hand.

“Renee, are you okay?”

“Can I ask you something?” She waited for Lauren’s nod. “Starting a family, moving and expanding your business simultaneously is a lot to take on, and yet you seem so serene. Doesn’t this much change at once make you nervous?”

Lauren chuckled. “Of course it does. And if I appear calm, it’s an illusion. I adore my husband, and I can’t imagine not having this baby or sharing the pregnancy with Jason now. My only concern is that Jason loves his work so much that he might miss a few things if I don’t make sure he puts us ahead of business.”

The words struck a chord deep inside Renee. “I understand that concern all too well. After Flynn joined Maddox he became a workaholic. I almost never saw him.”

“I’ll bet that contributed to your need for a break.” Renee hesitated, then nodded. “For what it’s worth, I make Jason take time out most weekends for a sail on his boat. That allows us some quality one-on-one time and gives me an opportunity to polish my painting skills.”

The wicked glint in Lauren’s eyes caught Renee’s attention. “Do I want to pursue that topic?”

Lauren flashed a mischief-filled grin. “Probably not.” She tapped a hand-carved toy chest. “What do you think of this piece? It’s not too feminine, is it?”

“No. It’s lovely.” Renee realized she and Lauren were approaching pregnancy with polar-opposite attitudes. Lauren’s pregnancy had been unplanned and yet she’d happily embraced the coming baby and the upheaval in her life. Renee, on the other hand, was trying to plan and control every detail and was petrified of failing and falling in love with Flynn again. She wished she possessed a fraction of Lauren’s courage.

Lauren smoothed her hand over a quilt. “I don’t want you to think I’m making light of your fears. I’m not. It’s all terrifying—moving across the country, getting married, having a baby—but I choose to focus on the positives, and I refuse to live in fear of what might go wrong. There are no guarantees in life. Sometimes you just have to take a chance and believe that you can make things right.”

The words wrapped Renee in a familiar embrace. “My grandmother always said the same thing.”

“There you go, then. Great minds think alike.” Lauren punctuated the words with a wink.

Renee had never known anyone wiser or stronger than her grandmother. When Emma’s husband had gone off to war, she’d taken over running the diner and continued doing so after her husband’s death in battle. She’d not only succeeded, she’d excelled.

Emma had raised a daughter alone and then stepped in to help raise her granddaughter when her alcoholic daughter couldn’t cope. Renee had never heard Granny complain about the unfairness of life or how hard it was to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. Renee wanted to be as strong as Emma.

Renee’s spine stiffened as realization dawned. Carol Maddox was right. Renee hadn’t had a backbone before. She hadn’t stood up for herself or fought for what she wanted. But she had the strength to do so now. She could do this.

She wanted a baby, a family. And she wanted to expand her business. Flynn was offering her the opportunity to achieve her dreams. All she had to do was guard her heart for the next twelve to eighteen months or so and then divorce Flynn.

Just like her granny, she could have her baby, her career and keep her sanity. She wouldn’t have to keep the San Francisco catering biz in Flynn’s basement once it started making enough profit to cover a lease elsewhere. All she’d have to do is move it to a new location.

With so much to gain, how could she afford to say no?

A combination of trepidation and excitement filled Renee with three parts can-do attitude and one part yellowbellied coward as she pulled into Flynn’s driveway.

“Please don’t let this be a mistake,” she whispered as she shoved open the van door and slung her purse over her shoulder.

Commit to a goal and go for it, Granny’s voice echoed in her head.

But she didn’t have a clue how to approach her husband for a procreation-only get-together. In the past when they’d made love she hadn’t minded initiating the encounters, but this time there would be no love involved—just sex and if she was lucky, a baby. She’d checked her calendar and the timing seemed right.

She slipped her key into the lock and let herself in the front door. The aroma of grilling beef reached her, making her mouth water and her tummy grumble. She stopped in surprise. Flynn was home? And cooking? “Flynn?”

“In the kitchen.”

She dropped her bag, took a deep breath for courage and made her way to the back of the house. Her legs trembled like a virgin’s. Crazy.

Flynn stood by the range, turning steaks.

“You’re home early and you’re cooking again.”

He turned. “I had this great wife who spoiled me with delicious food. When she left I couldn’t stomach the old bachelor fare of sandwiches or frozen stuff, and a man can’t live by takeout alone. I had to learn to cook.”

He twisted the cap on a bottle of sparkling water and filled two champagne flutes waiting on the counter. He brought one to her.

“Are we celebrating something?” How could he know she’d conquered her reservations and made a decision?

“The builder called. He said you’d signed the contract.”

Oh. That. “Yes.”

He chinked his glass to hers. “Congratulations. You’ll have your new branch open in no time. May it be as successful as the first.”

Her heart pounded against her chest wall. She took a sip, swallowed and then blurted, “I bought nursery furniture today.”

Flynn’s chest expanded on a deep inhalation. “’Bout damn time,” he muttered and set his glass aside, then he took hers, too, even though she’d only had one sip.

He grasped her waist, his hands burning her through her knit dress, and pulled her body flush against his. “Wanting to hold you, touch you and taste you has been driving me crazy.”

Her nervousness dissolved like sugar in boiling water—right along with her knees. She and Flynn had been good together. She should have known he wouldn’t let this be awkward. The sex would be easy and natural, the way it had always been. All she had to worry about was protecting her heart.

He bent and kissed her, a soft sweep of his mouth over hers, a gentle nip of her bottom lip, and then he settled in. His lips pressed hers apart and his tongue tangled with hers—slick, hot, wet and full of hungry passion. He tasted good, like the Flynn she remembered. Her heart raced as she ran her hands over his thick biceps, broad shoulders and strong back.

His hands skimmed over her, hitting every erogenous zone. She’d missed this. Missed him.

A timer beeped, intruding into her euphoric haze. “What’s that?”

“Dinner,” he muttered against her neck, then grazed the tender skin with his teeth.

Renee leaned back and met his passion-darkened gaze. “Looks like dinner is going to get cold.”

A sexy, hungry smile eased over his lips. “Good plan. Give me two seconds.”

He spun from her, turned off the burners and the grill. When he turned back, the need tightening his face made her gulp. He crossed the room in long, deliberate strides, and her heart rate doubled.

Flynn fisted the hem of her shirt and pulled it over her head. She gasped at the suddenness of the move. He stared down at her br**sts and cupped them with his hands, sending a current of need straight to her core.

“I never thought it possible for you to be more beautiful than you were before. I was wrong.”

She cupped his face and stroked his beard-stubbled jaw. “Thank you.”

He bent and nuzzled her cl**vage. The softness of his lips contrasting with the coarse rasp of his five-o’clock shadow caused desire to fist in her abdomen. He dusted a string of butterfly-light caresses across each curve until she ached for more. She arched to give him better access and to press her pelvis against his. His thick erection burned into her.

Reaching behind her, he released her bra and peeled the lace away, then captured a tight nipple with his mouth. Wet heat surrounded her sensitive flesh. He tugged with his lips, his teeth, his fingertips, forcing a moan of pleasure from her.

Heat radiated from her core. She raked her fingers through his soft hair and held him close. He knew exactly how she liked to be touched. Not too rough. Not too gentle. No one had ever been able to play her body the way Flynn could.

His fingers stabbed into the waistband of her slacks, making her gasp, and then the fabric loosened. The zipper rasped open seconds before he pushed her pants and panties to the floor. His palm coasted over her hip, her belly and then into her curls. Pleasure sliced through her. “Flynn.”

Eager to have his skin against hers, she kicked her shoes and clothing aside. And again he pulled back a few inches to study her. His expanding pupils and quick breaths gave approval as he reached for the buttons on his shirt. “Beautiful.”

A moment’s self-consciousness swept her. “I’ve gained weight.”

He hushed her with a brief, hard kiss. “Baby, your new curves make me hot.”

A smile bubbled to her lips. “I’m glad. Hurry,” she pleaded and tried to help him disrobe, but her hands tangled with his, slowing him down. Impatient, she abandoned his shirt to tackle his belt and trousers.

Her fingers fumbled with leather and metal, then he was as nak*d as she and it was her turn to feast on his wide shoulders, deep pectorals and washboard abdomen. She traced the thin line of hair bisecting his lower belly and disappearing into the denser crop surrounding his erection. She wrapped her fingers around his hard, satiny flesh and stroked, loving his grunt of approval and the blaze of his skin against her palm.

He scooped her up, swung her around and sat her on the table. His fingers found the slick seam of her body and massaged her swollen flesh, making her womb clench with want. She wound her legs around his h*ps and tightened her grip on his steely flesh. “That feels wonderful.”

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