Brazilian's Nine Months' Notice

By: Susan Stephens

 ‘Are you okay?’

 His husky voice caressed her senses. It was the same voice that had lulled and thrilled her while he had directed her pleasure.

 ‘Yes, I’m fine, thank you.’ She pulled back to put some space between them. Theorising was all very well, but standing in front of Luc again had completely thrown her. ‘Apologies for bumping into you,’ she said lightly, relying on good manners to get her through a difficult situation.

 ‘We know each other, don’t we?’

 He was teasing her. They definitely knew each other. Luc knew every inch of her body intimately. ‘I believe we’ve met.’ She cursed her body for its instant response when her aim was to act cool.

 Luc’s ebony brows swept up, making him look like a Tartar from the plains on a raid. Tall, dark and dangerous, with watchful eyes, he was exactly as she remembered him—except for the clothes. He’d been naked when she’d left him. The formal black tailoring suited him. White shirt, grey silk tie, black diamond cufflinks, accessorised with a killer smile, Lucas Marcelos was every bit the awe-inspiring billionaire, while she was every bit the chambermaid in her borrowed dress. She turned to go.

 Luc stepped in front of her. His heat enveloped her. His potent sexuality threatened to seduce her all over again.

 ‘I hope you enjoy your evening, Senhor Marcelos,’ she said formally, looking past him towards the ballroom, where the party was in full swing.

 ‘Why did you leave London so suddenly, Emma?’

 Why didn’t he get out of her way? ‘It was time to go.’ She kept her tone carefully neutral, wanting to put some distance between them so she could get her head together. This wasn’t the time or place to tell him she was pregnant with his child, but the time would come and she wanted to be ready for it. She shrugged. ‘I had places to be.’ She met his stare levelly, hoping he would leave it there.

 Luc didn’t leave it.

 ‘I thought you were happy in your job. I thought all my staff was happy?’

 ‘I’m sure they are.’

 ‘But you couldn’t have been, or you wouldn’t have left.’

 Luc’s stare had hardened. He expected her to answer, but her heart was beating so rapidly she doubted she could draw enough breath to speak.

 ‘Did you find a better job?’

 ‘Not really,’ she admitted honestly, following Luc’s stare around their surroundings. She got his message loud and clear. This hotel was lovely for a small town in the wilds of Scotland, but it was hardly on the scale of Luc’s fabulous palaces. Maybe he thought their encounter in London had been a tactical move on her part to help her scramble up the career ladder faster, and when that hadn’t worked out she’d come back here. Nothing could be further from the truth. She had worried their short-lived affair would compromise her career. Now she knew that sex was sex to Lucas, and had no bearing on his business. To her, sex was a promise and an endorsement of trust—she had thought. Thankfully, she knew better now.

 ‘Did you return to Scotland for the wedding?’ Luc enquired, staring at her intently.

 ‘This is my home. I was born in Scotland. I work here. The bride was born here too, which is why Danny chose to get married at this hotel.’

 ‘I heard your cousin Lizzie is the daughter of the local laird?’

 ‘That’s right.’ She could practically hear the cogs whirring in his mind. If her cousin was the daughter of the local laird, why was Emma scrubbing floors?

 Luc’s frown deepened. ‘So you have the same job here that you had in London?’

 ‘Not quite. I’m still working as a chambermaid,’ she confirmed proudly. Her uncle might be a laird, but Emma came from the poor branch of the Fane family, the notorious branch that had resorted to criminal activities rather than taking an honest job. That had never been her way, and, however meagre her wage packet, she had the satisfaction of knowing that she had earned every single penny herself. Circumstances at home might have resulted in her education being patchy, but she was changing that, studying at night, even though there was no hope of progression here. She still had ambitions for a career but had to keep working in the meantime, and now, with a child to consider, she had a real purpose and drive behind that ambition.

 ‘Surely there’s no possibility of advancement for you here?’ Luc commented, as if he’d read her thoughts.

 ‘No training programme either,’ she confirmed, ‘but it’s a start.’ She stared him down, as if daring him to contradict her. This wasn’t her forever job. This was a job to help her get back on her feet. But it would seem odd to Lucas that she had come here to work in a hotel that couldn’t offer its staff any of the advantages he could.

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