Prince Nadir's Secret Heir(8)By: Michelle Conder
A picture of the secret service type in the café came to her on a rush just as she caught sight of him standing a little way off to the side. Had Nadir been looking for her all this time? It seemed impossible.
Her troubled eyes flew to Nadir and her ripple of unease ratcheted up to dread. ‘Fourteen months? What are you talking about?’
* * *
Noting the deep groove between Imogen’s beautiful green eyes, Nadir instantly regretted his emotionally ragged outburst. What he needed to be right now was cool and controlled. Finding her with a child strapped to her body challenged that considerably. As did her evasive attitude, which implied that she had something to hide.
‘We will not discuss this any further on the street,’ he decided. Apart from the fact that Imogen looked uncomfortably hot, it was also far too public a place for this type of discussion. ‘Come.’
Haughty as ever, Nadir noted as he turned back to her. He’d been attracted to that regal aspect of her nature when they’d met. Now the trait annoyed him. As did her wide-eyed ingénue look.
Back when he’d first noticed her she’d seemed different from the other women who had adorned his life from time to time. Less artificial. More sincere. More genuine. Hell, he could laugh at that now. Imogen Reid had turned out to be as genuine as a whore with a hundred euros in her hand.
He glanced at the baby sleeping in her arms. Everything inside him said that she was his child and he wondered how much longer Imogen would have waited before turning up ‘ta-da’ style on his doorstep and demanding maintenance payments worthy of a queen. Not that it mattered. He had found her and that definitely gave him the upper hand.
And it mattered even less that her complexion had leached of all colour. These past months of not knowing if she had given birth to the child she had claimed was his, if she was okay, if the baby was okay, hell, if either one of them was even alive had eaten away at him. When she’d sent him a text telling him she had ‘taken care of everything’ he’d assumed she’d terminated the pregnancy. He’d felt sick at the thought but then knowing he’d got her pregnant in the first place hadn’t exactly made him feel like dancing around a room.
Fatherhood wasn’t something he’d ever contemplated before. Now it seemed that the fates had other ideas and if this woman had kept his child from him...deliberately... Callously...
He glanced at her. He didn’t think he could like a person less if he tried.
‘Nadir, please, if I...’ She moistened her lips with the tip of her tongue. ‘If I tell you that you’re the father can we just leave it at that? Can we just...can we just part as friends?’
Nadir reeled. Was she serious? Because she couldn’t possibly expect him to walk away from her after basically admitting the child was his with little more than Have a nice life. In fact, if he discovered that this child really was his then he wouldn’t be walking away at all.
He stared down at her and noticed she had the look of a frightened mouse that had just been caught in a very large inescapable trap.
Apt, he thought—very apt. From the minute he’d laid eyes on her, his first instinct had been primal. He’d wanted to wrap her up and keep her. He’d wanted to brand her as his own. Disconcertingly, that urge was just as strong as ever.
He tugged on the collar of his shirt. Somehow, in the time between meeting her and now, he had lost his equilibrium and he wanted it back. Not even the thought of having to renounce the throne tomorrow affected him as deeply. Or maybe it was the combination of the two. ‘I don’t think you could have ever called us friends, Imogen.’ Bed partners. Lovers. Now those fitted. Friends, not so much.
She looked up at him as if he’d just kicked a puppy. ‘Good to know,’ she said flatly, her ponytail swinging around her shoulders as she made to move past him. ‘Frankly, I don’t know why you’re even here.’
It was supposed to be her parting shot but Nadir moved so that once again he was directly in front of her.
‘Come now, habibi. I know you’re smarter than that.’
‘Look, Nadir, the stand-over tactics are very intimidating. Well done you. But you can’t stop me from walking away.’