The Change in Di Navarra's Plan

By: Lynn Raye Harris

He’d taught her to be suspicious and careful, to question people’s motives—especially men’s. He’d made her into this cold, guarded creature, and she hated him for it.

But as she looked at her son in her friend’s arms, she was overcome with a sudden rush of love. Nicky was perfect. He made her world full and bright and wonderful. Every single inch of him was amazing, regardless that his father was an arrogant, evil, heartless bastard. Drago might have been the worst thing to ever happen to her, but Nicky was the best.

Irony at its most potent.

“But if he knew about Nicky,” Gabi started.

“No.” Holly knew her voice was hard. Thinking about Drago did that to her. But she couldn’t take it out on Gabi. She tried again, sighing softly, spreading her hands wide in supplication. “I tried to tell him. His secretary said he did not want to speak to me. Ever. I wrote a letter, but I never got a reply.”

Gabi looked militant. “These are the modern ages, honey bun,” she said. “Put it on Facebook. Tweet the crap out of it. He’ll see it and come.”

Holly shuddered. As if she would expose herself that way. “He won’t. Not only that, but do you want me to die of shame?” She shook her head emphatically. “No way. He had his chance.”

Gabi gazed down at the cherubic face of Holly’s son. “I know. But this little guy ought to have the best that money can buy.”

Holly felt the truth of that statement like a barb. She couldn’t help but look around their tiny apartment. Tears pricked her eyes. Since returning home to New Hope, she’d lost Gran’s home, failed in her goal to become a respected perfumer and had to move sixty miles away to New Orleans so she could support herself. She’d taken a job as a cocktail waitress in a casino. It wasn’t ideal, but the tips were good.

Gabi had moved last year, before Gran had died, and when Holly found out she was pregnant, Gabi had encouraged Holly to come join her.

Holly had gratefully done so.

There was no way she could stay in New Hope. Her grandmother had been a well-respected member of the community. And though Gran would have stood beside her if she’d still been alive, she wasn’t. And Holly wouldn’t shame her memory by causing the tongues of New Hope’s citizenry to wag.

In New Hope, everyone knew everyone. And they didn’t hesitate to talk about anyone so silly as to fall from grace in such a spectacular manner. Besides, no way was she subjecting Nicky to the town’s censure when there was absolutely no reason for it. This was the twenty-first century, but there were those in her hometown who acted as if a single mother was a disgrace.

“I’m doing the best I can,” Holly said.

Gabi’s big blue eyes widened. “Oh, honey, of course you are. I’m sorry for being such an insensitive bitch.” She kissed Nicky’s tiny forehead. “I just forgot myself in my fury for this precious little thing. What a stupid father he has. Hopefully, when he grows up one day to be president of the United States, he won’t be hampered by that side of the family tree.”

Holly laughed. Leave it to Gabi to find just the thing to make her giggle when she was so angry. She went over and squeezed her friend’s arm. “You’re the best, Gabi. I’m not mad at you, believe me. It’ll all be fine. I’m going to make a fragrance that knocks someone’s socks off, and then I’m going to get noticed. Drago di Navarra isn’t the only cosmetic king in the world, no matter what he might think.”

“He messed up when he sent you home without sampling your fragrance.”

The heat of shame bloomed inside her chest again. Yes, he’d sent her home without even sampling the first fragrance. After their gorgeous night together, he’d made her breakfast and served it to her in bed. She’d felt so happy, so perfectly wonderful. They’d talked and eaten and then he’d had her case delivered to her when she’d remembered to ask for it. That was when he’d noticed the scent.

Top Books