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Home > Executive's Pregnancy Ultimatum (Kings of the Boardroom #2)(8)

Executive's Pregnancy Ultimatum (Kings of the Boardroom #2)(8)
Author: Emilie Rose

The elevator shot up, then the doors opened. Gavin motioned for her to precede him. “Nice meeting you, Renee.”

She stepped out. A slim woman with short brown hair sat behind the reception desk directly ahead of Renee. Swallowing the nervous lump in her throat, Renee scanned the area while she waited for the receptionist to end her phone call.

In the waiting room white sofas faced two monstrously large flat-panel TVs streaming advertisements—Madd Comm’s work, no doubt. The stark white walls and acrylic tables combined with the black oak floors gave the place a contemporary edge. The other walls held extremely colorful modern paintings, some new to Renee like the TVs, some not.

“May I help you?” the receptionist asked in a cheerleader-chipper voice.

“I’m Renee Maddox. I’m here to see Flynn.”

The woman’s eyes widened. “I’m Shelby, Mrs. Maddox. Flynn told me to expect you. It’s great to finally meet you.”

“Thank you. You, too, Shelby. Should I head back or is Flynn with someone?”

“He doesn’t have an appointment, but I’ll call and let him know you’ve arrived.”

Before she could dial, an attractive auburn-haired pregnant woman approached from the offices section. The receptionist perked up. “Lauren, this is Flynn’s wife, Renee,” she blurted as if she couldn’t contain the news.

Smiling, the newcomer stopped. “Hello, Renee. I’m Lauren, Jason’s wife.”

Renee scanned her memory and came up empty. “Jason? I’m sorry, you’ll have to forgive me. I haven’t been here in…a long time. I’ve been living in L.A., so I’m a little out of the loop.”

“I’m new here, too. I just moved from Manhattan last month. Jason is an advertising executive. We’ll have to get together sometime and do lunch.”

Lauren seemed warm and friendly and Renee could use a few friends in the area. She had no intention of repeating her past mistake of isolating herself. Also, an insider could give her an idea of what Flynn’s life was like now. “I’d like that.”

“Good. Can I reach you at Flynn’s home number?”

“Yes. Or you can call my cell number. I’ll be in and out a lot.” She dug into her purse for a business card and passed it over. “I’m trying to open a branch of my catering business here in San Francisco, and I have a lot of running around to do while I set up.”

“Something else we have in common. I’m opening a branch of my graphic-design business here, too. We will have a lot to talk about. But I have to run to an appointment now. I’ll call, okay?”

“I’m looking forward to it.”

Lauren ducked into the open elevator and the doors closed. The receptionist seemed to be hanging on their every word and then startled as if she’d suddenly remembered she was supposed to be calling Flynn. “I’ll let Flynn know you’ve arrived.”

“Don’t bother. I’ll just go back.” Renee’s heels tapped on the wood floors as she made her way to the east corner office as she’d done so many times before. This time her pulse raced with nervousness instead of excitement. If Flynn had changed offices, this would be embarrassing.

The chair behind his PA’s desk was empty, but Cammie’s nameplate on the desk told her at least Flynn’s assistant hadn’t changed. Cammie had been with him since his first day at Madd Comm and Renee had always liked her.

Flynn’s door stood open. But Flynn wasn’t alone. A woman with long red hair had her arms around his neck.

Shock stopped Renee in the outer office. She struggled to inhale, but her tight chest resisted.

You’re not jealous.

Oh, yes, you are.

And that did not bode well for her mental health or the temporary nature of this assignment.

Four

W as Flynn involved with another woman?

The poison Flynn’s mother had spread in the past and again yesterday percolated through Renee, filling her with doubts. About him. About herself. About their plan to make a baby.

Renee’s throat tightened. Could she stand knowing that while he held her, made love to her and impregnated her, he was thinking of someone else?

The woman backed away from Flynn and bent to scoop a file folder from the visitor chair. “Thank you again, Flynn. I’ll keep you abreast of the project.”

“Do that. You’ll need to run the proposal by Brock before pitching it.” Flynn glanced up and caught sight of Renee. Her expression must have given away her chaotic thoughts. His gaze sharpened on her face.

Smiling tightly, Flynn came around his desk, took Renee in his arms and kissed her without warning. She stiffened automatically as his hot body pressed hers and his warm, firm lips moved over her mouth. Conscious of their audience, she had to fight to relax and look as if this was a regular occurrence.

Getting used to being touched by him again was going to take some work. Not that she didn’t enjoy his kisses and caresses. She did. Too much. Even now, despite the other woman in the office, desire curled in Renee’s belly and her pulse fluttered wildly. But she had to hold herself in check. She couldn’t let herself crave him or surrender to him the way she once had.

Flynn eased back and turned her toward the woman. “Celia, I’d like you to meet my wife, Renee. Renee, this is Celia Taylor, one of our ad execs.”

The beautiful redhead grimaced. “Sorry about the hug, but he just let me break the good ol’ boy barrier. I got a little excited.”

Celia’s words and contrite expression seemed genuine. And what Renee had seen after the hug had looked innocent enough. There had been no lingering body or eye contact. Tension leeched from her knotted muscles. “It’s nice to meet you, Celia.”

“Nice meeting you, too, Renee. Now, thanks to your husband, I have a lot of work to do, and trust me, that is not a complaint. Excuse me.” She left, the quick tap of her heels receding down the hall.

Renee looked everywhere but at Flynn while she grappled with the strength of the emotions that had hit her when she’d spotted him in another woman’s arms. No matter how much she might want to deny it, she had been jealous. That was not good.

The office looked exactly as it had seven years ago—right down to the photograph of the two of them on the shelf and the remains of a half-eaten lunch on his desk. Back then she’d brought him meals time and time again because he often forgot to eat, and in a matter of a few months he’d dropped a lot of weight despite her TLC.

Flynn looked her up and down, making her heart skip. “You’re right on time, and you look great.”

“Thanks.” She brushed a hand over her light, garnetred, cowl-neck sweater and simple black twill trousers. “You have several new staff members. I met Gavin in the elevator, Shelby in the lobby and Lauren on the way in. I forgot who she said she was married to, but it was someone I don’t know. She suggested we have lunch together soon.”

“She’s married to Jason Reagert, another ad exec. You’ll meet him later. But Lauren is a good contact. She can probably recommend an obstetrician since she’s pregnant.”

Panic skipped down Renee’s spine. She wanted a baby. She even wanted Flynn’s baby. But tying herself to a man who made her weak still scared her more than a little—especially given her emotional reaction moments ago. Was she strong enough to endure a temporary marriage and a permanent link through a child without breaking and turning to alcohol again? “I’ll keep that in mind.”

“You’ll have to join us next time the office staff goes out after work to meet everyone at once.”

“What did you tell them about me…about us?”

“That we’d worked out our differences and our trial separation was over.”

Her gaze flicked to the photo. “Have you had that sitting there the whole time?”

He frowned. “No. I dug it out of storage when you agreed to move back in.”

For some reason that seemed like the perfect answer to soothe her rattled nerves. He hadn’t been pining for her, but he hadn’t thrown away the picture. She still had the box of mementos from her marriage that she hadn’t been able to part with, either. As much as she’d wanted to put Flynn out of her mind, she hadn’t been successful.

If you haven’t succeeded in forgetting him in seven years, will you ever?

The nagging voice in the back of her head didn’t ease her worry that this entire plot could blow up in her face.

Renee’s head spun with combinations of paint samples and fabric swatches, cabinet configurations and countertop surfaces as she shoved her key into the front door Monday evening. Just like old times. And it felt good. Eerily good.

She’d forgotten what an effective team she and Flynn made, but today, watching his sharp mind work and his eyes gleam with intelligence and excitement as they discussed the basement conversion had brought all those bittersweet memories stampeding back.

“Do you want to eat in the kitchen or in the den in front of a movie?” he asked from behind her.

Another flashback. In fact, the past had hung over her like a rain cloud the entire day. Déjà vu moments had unexpectedly spattered down on her. Some like big, fat warm droplets and others like icy cold drizzle. There had been no escaping the deluge of memories.

In the early days of their marriage they had ended many a day of labor by having dinner on the sofa in front of the TV with an old movie. Sometimes they’d even watched the entire film before climbing all over each other. But most of the time they’d missed the last half because they were too absorbed in making love to hear it playing in the background.

Her skin flushed and her hands trembled as she dropped her keys into her purse. “Kitchen.”

His gaze held hers and his pupils expanded, telling her he remembered, too. Her chest tightened. She couldn’t get enough air into her lungs and had to open her mouth to breathe. “Flynn, don’t.”

He moved closer, then lifted his hand and cupped her face. “Don’t what? Tell you that I want you? That I can’t stop thinking about losing myself in the softness of your skin and the scent of your body, in the heat of you?”

A shiver of desire rippled over her.

“Don’t tell you that I’ve barely slept for the past three nights because I’ve lain awake listening for sounds of you moving around our house?”

She’d done the same, listened for him.

“Your house,” she corrected automatically.

“Our house. Your touch is in every room, Renee.”

She told herself to back away, but her legs refused to move. “I’m not ready, Flynn, and I’m still not convinced this is a good idea.”

“It’s a good plan. A baby. Our baby. Us doing what we do best. Making a home. Making love.”

The husky pitch of the last phrase only increased her desire. But her defenses were too weak to give in now. Before they did this, she had to find a way to make this about sex and procreation, instead of making love. Gathering every ounce of strength she possessed, she ducked out of reach and hurried into the kitchen. He followed.

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