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

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

After years of silence, he had a reason to contact her. A reason besides finding out why she’d tried to pull a fast one with his sperm. But for now it was enough to know they weren’t divorced and she wanted to have his baby.

The surreal feeling left him reeling. “I’ll call my lawyer and find out where I stand. I’m going to take a few days off.”

“You? You never take time off. But as much as I hate to say it, now is not a good time.”

“I don’t care. The situation has to be dealt with. Now.”

“I guess you’re right. Here. Again, I apologize. If you’d ever demonstrated any real interest in another woman, maybe it would have tripped my memory. Maybe not. It’s a lousy excuse, but there it is. What brought on this sudden interest in your divorce? Is Renee planning to remarry?”

Flynn flinched. Logically, he knew Renee had probably dated since their separation, as had he, but the idea of her with other men filled him with a possessiveness that should have died long ago. He rose to his feet and took the document that should have ended his marriage and made an instant decision not to share the sperm news. His family was better off not knowing.

“I don’t know Renee’s plans. I haven’t seen her in years.” She’d wanted it that way. But now he would see her. His pulse accelerated at the prospect.

“Flynn, I’m sure I don’t need to warn you that we need to keep this quiet, but I’m going to, anyway. News of this getting out won’t help our cause against Golden Gate Promotions, and I’ll be damned if I want to hear that bastard Athos Koteas crowing in glee if we lose more clients.”

The mention of their rival almost dampened Flynn’s excitement. “Understood.”

He returned to his office and crossed straight to the shredder. Through the window above the machine, the sun glowed just above the roof lines in the distance. The symbolism of a new day and a new beginning didn’t escape him. Losing Renee had been the biggest regret of his life. His older brother’s negligence had given Flynn the perfect opportunity to see if the attraction was still there and if so to win her back.

He fed the papers through the slot one page at a time, enjoying the whine and grind of the machine turning his biggest failure into crosscut paper fragments. When he finished he felt like celebrating. Instead, he sat down at his computer.

He needed to locate his wife.

MADCOM2.

The light blue BMW’s license plate snagged Renee’s attention as she turned into her driveway. She almost clipped her mailbox post with her minivan’s front bumper and quickly jerked the wheel to the left.

MADCOM equaled Maddox Communications.

Her stomach churned like a dough mixer as she parked beside her visitor. She knew the identity of the car’s owner from the “2” part of the tag before her ex—her husband—climbed from the driver’s seat.

Ever since she’d heard the clinic’s message on her answering machine informing her that her request for Flynn’s sperm had been denied, she’d known it was only a matter of time before he came looking for her. The clinic must have contacted him. Her attorney had warned her of the possibility.

But nothing could prepare her for Flynn looming over her car even before she could pull the key from the ignition. The moment she disengaged the locks, he opened her door. Heart racing and her mouth going dry, she fought to appear calm, grabbed her purse from the passenger seat and stepped from the vehicle, ignoring the hand he offered in assistance. She couldn’t touch him yet, and wasn’t sure she’d ever be ready for that again even in the most casual way.

Dreading the conversation ahead, she tipped back her head to look up at the man she’d once loved with all her heart. The man who’d broken her.

Flynn had changed. And yet he hadn’t. His eyes were still impossibly blue and his hair inky dark, but a few strands of silver now glimmered at his temples. His shoulders were as broad as she remembered and even with him wearing his suit, she could tell he hadn’t added any fat to his lean torso. If anything, his jaw looked more chiseled.

But the past seven years had been hard on him. There were grooves beside the mouth she’d once lived to kiss, and a new horizontal crease divided his brow. She didn’t think those were laugh lines fanning out from his eyes, although he used to smile often during the early days of their relationship, before he’d begun to work for Maddox Communications.

“Hello, Flynn.”

“Renee. Or should I say, wife?” His deep, gravelly tone filled her tummy with the sensation of scattering butterflies. “How long have you known?”

She could have played dumb, but didn’t see the point. “That we weren’t divorced? Only a few weeks.”

“And you didn’t call me.”

“Like you didn’t call me when you decided not to file the papers?”

He frowned at her snippy tone. “There’s more to it than that.”

“Enlighten me.” And then she remembered the Wednesday-morning fish-market cargo in her cooler. “But you’ll have to finish this riveting story inside. I have to get the seafood into the fridge.”

She opened the van’s back door. His hip and shoulder bumped hers when he nudged her aside to grab the cooler. Her senses went wild over the contact. The way they used to. Darn it. Her reaction didn’t mean anything. She was over him. Well and truly over him. He’d ripped out her heart piece by piece before she’d left him. No feelings remained other than regret and disappointment.

“Get the door,” he ordered.

His words shocked her into motion. She locked the car and hustled up the flower-lined brick sidewalk of her bungalow, scanning the exterior and trying to see it through Flynn’s eyes. He hadn’t been here since the early days of their short marriage when this had been her grandmother’s home. Renee had made a lot of changes since then as she’d turned a private retreat into an inviting place of business.

She’d added flower beds beneath the lemon and orange trees, as well as a bubbling fountain, and she’d hung multiple trailing-flower baskets and a swing on the porch. The stone foundation and shingled exterior had been pressure-washed last year and the trim freshly painted a rich emerald-green, but she’d done the majority of her work inside.

She unlocked and pushed open the front door, then followed him through the foyer and living room to the kitchen, her masterpiece.

He stopped abruptly. “You’ve expanded.”

“I needed a larger kitchen for my catering business, so I enclosed Grandma’s back porch and redid everything. I’m using her old bedroom for an office.”

Stop babbling.

She closed her mouth and focused on her stainless, commercial-grade appliances, acres of granite countertops and bright white cabinet—a cook’s dream. Her dream. Something she had not been allowed to pursue as Flynn’s wife.

“Nice. What made you decide to open your own business?”

“It was something I’d always wanted. Granny talked me into taking the leap before she passed away four years ago.”

From the shock in his eyes, she guessed he hadn’t known about her grandmother’s passing. She probably should have notified him, but she’d had enough heartache to deal with over losing Granny without having to face Flynn at the funeral.

“I’m sorry for your loss. Emma was a wonderful lady.”

“Yes, she was. I don’t know what I would have done without her, and I still miss her. But she would have loved this—another generation of Landers women working with food and feeding the masses.”

“I’m sure she would.”

In the silence that followed, Renee looked across the kitchen to the ladder-back chair that had been her granny’s favorite. There were days when it felt as if Emma were watching over her, but then, Emma had been more of a mother to Renee than her own had been. Her grandmother had certainly been a rock of support when Renee had arrived brokenhearted on her doorstep after leaving Flynn. Emma had opened her arms, her heart and her home, offering Renee a sanctuary for as long as she needed one.

“Where do you want the cooler?” Flynn asked.

“On the floor in front of the fridge.” As soon as he set it down, she transferred twenty pounds of shrimp and six large salmon filets into her Sub-Zero refrigerator, then washed her hands and faced him. “So…what’s so complicated about slapping a stamp on the envelope containing the divorce paperwork?”

“Brock thought he was doing us a favor by giving us cool-down time. He put the papers in a file cabinet.”

“For six years?”

“They’d probably still be in the drawer if you hadn’t tried to get my sperm.” Eyes narrowing, he leaned against the counter and crossed his arms and ankles. “So you still want to have my baby.”

His speculative tone put her on guard. “I want to have a baby. You just happened to be a donor I knew.”

“And you planned to have my child without informing me?”

She grimaced. “Probably not one of my best decisions. But after going through page after page of other potential donors, I had too many unanswered questions. But now that you’ve refused I’ll go back to my anonymous candidates.”

His unblinking gaze held hers. “Not necessarily.”

“What do you mean?”

“Renee, I always wanted you to have my baby.”

“Not true. I asked seven and a half years ago. Correction, I begged. You said no.”

“The timing was wrong. I was trying to adjust to my new job.”

“A job you hated. One that made you miserable.”

“Brock and Maddox Communications needed me.”

“So did I, Flynn.” She hated the telling crack in her voice, but the sadness of watching their love unravel hit her all over again, making her throat tighten. “I needed the man I fell in love with, the one I married. I was more than willing to help you deal with your grief over losing your father. But I couldn’t stand by and watch that job destroy you. You gave up your dream of becoming an architect and in the process became a silent, uncommunicative stranger. We didn’t talk. We didn’t make love. You were barely ever home.”

“I was working, not cheating on you.”

“Watching our love die was more than I could bear.”

“When did it die?”

“You tell me.” When she’d caught herself turning to alcohol to dull the pain of her unhappiness, she’d known that no matter how much she loved him she’d end up just like her bitter, unhappy alcoholic mother if she didn’t get out. If she’d stayed, Flynn would have ended up hating her the way each of her mother’s lovers had eventually despised her mother over the years.

The childhood memories of loud arguments, slamming doors, cars roaring off and “uncles” who never returned had been too vivid. She couldn’t live that way and she would never raise a child in that atmosphere.

“I loved you right up until the day you left me. We could have made it work, Renee, if you’d given us a chance.”

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