Brazilian's Nine Months' Notice

By: Susan Stephens

 The next morning, she straightened her room with new purpose before going downstairs to start work. She had decided to tell Luc today how things stood. Only then could she get on with her life. He was going back to Brazil, so they would both get a chance to think things through quietly before they came to any decision about the future. Telling him shouldn’t be so hard. The entire Thunderbolt team was composed of bad boys, and her friends Lizzie and Danny had married two of them...

 Why would that make it easier for her? She had no interest in taming Luc.

 No. She had better things to do. Like working hard and raising a child. She certainly didn’t have any more time to waste daydreaming.

 The first bombshell to hit her when she arrived in the staffroom was the news that Lucas Marcelos wasn’t leaving until the end of the week. All her thoughts of telling him and then them both having chance to think things through calmly while they were half a world apart crashed and burned. Luc would be right here. The consequences of telling him would be in her face.

 ‘And he’s calling for more towels,’ the housekeeper announced, draining the remaining blood from Emma’s face. ‘The new big ones I bought especially for him.’

 ‘More towels?’ one of the chambermaids queried with a frown. ‘I just took him some more towels.’

 ‘It’s not for us to question our guests,’ the housekeeper reprimanded as she continued with her work.

 Luc would keep on calling for one thing or another until she went upstairs to see him, Emma guessed. ‘Don’t worry, I’ll go,’ she said, wanting to make an end of it. It was better to face him now than allow this charade to continue.

 * * *

 He looked up at the knock on the door. ‘Come in.’ Putting his newspaper down, he stood up then relaxed as Emma used her pass card to open the door.

 ‘Towels,’ she told him briskly, sidestepping him as she walked into the room.

 ‘Coffee?’ he suggested, watching her back view appreciatively as she disappeared into the bathroom.

 ‘Do you need more coffee?’ she asked him with a touch of impatience.

 ‘I have all the coffee I need, thank you. I just thought you might like a cup.’

 ‘I’m afraid that wouldn’t go down very well with my boss.’

 ‘You never used to worry about what your boss thought.’

 She chose not to answer him. He moved in front of her so she couldn’t leave. ‘You’ve still got a job in London, if you want it.’

 ‘As what? Your part-time mistress?’ she said in the same clipped and professional voice.

 Nothing quite so permanent, he thought as his appetite sharpened. ‘You could continue your training course.’

 ‘Thanks for the offer.’

 ‘And?’ he prompted.

 ‘And nothing.’

 The lift of her brow said Emma believed he belonged to that group of gilded individuals who only had to look a certain way for a woman to fall at their feet. And she wasn’t one of them. She had carefully turned her face away from his naked chest. He hadn’t thought about it until now. He had slipped on a shirt and jeans for the sake of decency after his shower, not wanting to slob around in a robe, and only noticed now that the shirt wasn’t fastened.

 ‘Luc, I need to talk to you—’

 ‘And I to you,’ he assured her, but they were interrupted by a second knock on the door. ‘Breakfast. Hot coffee, freshly baked rolls. How can you resist?’

 Easily, her look told him. Emma could resist the coffee and him.

 She stood aside as he opened the door to let the waiter in, giving him all the chance he needed to admire her resolute profile: the firm mouth he loved to kiss, and the neat nose that made him smile when it wrinkled. Her expression right now was fixed in disapproval. How he’d love to soften that. He cleared the table for the waiter instead.

 ‘Join me?’

 ‘I beg your pardon?’ she said.

 He loved the way she drew herself up. She still had to tilt her chin at an acute angle in order to meet his stare. ‘Join me for breakfast—coffee at least,’ he pressed as the waiter set out breakfast on his dining table.

 ‘Sorry, sir. I can’t do that,’ Emma told him firmly.

 He could just imagine the rumours flying around the kitchen after this. He should be more considerate and think about her reputation, but this was the woman who had clung to him and wrapped her naked limbs around him as she’d begged him for more. Why was she acting so cool now? He stopped her at the door with a hand on her shoulder, and turning his back on the waiter he murmured, ‘Why don’t you lighten up?’

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