Claimed: The Pregnant Heiress(10)

By: Day Leclaire


He slid his fingers into her hair and turned her toward him. “You’re still going to be here when morning comes, right?”

“As you pointed out, I don’t have a car. Plus, you know where I live.” She gave an exaggerated shiver. “I’d just as soon you not come pounding on my father’s front door demanding to know why I’m not still in your bed.”

“Fair enough. Tomorrow we’ll discuss this rationally over breakfast like two mature adults.”

Chase woke to an empty bed and shot upright. Son of a bitch! So much for discussing their situation like two mature adults. He touched the sheet beside him, expecting to find it stone cold. To his relief it was still warm, which meant Emma couldn’t have gotten far. He escaped the bed, and almost tripped over her dress. It rested in the middle of the floor in a crumpled pearl-gray heap of silk where he vaguely remembered tossing it.

He checked the nightstand table for his car keys. They were there, right beside his BlackBerry. Okay. Chances were Emma hadn’t taken off naked and hitchhiked home. That meant she was around here, someplace. He noticed the bathroom door was closed and smiled.


He padded across the room naked and rapped lightly on the door. “Why don’t I get the coffee going?” he offered.


Chase paused. Her voice sounded odd, tight and almost pained. “You okay?”


There it was again, that underlying edge of despair. It didn’t take much thought to figure out what caused it. Morning-After Regret. Well, tough. She’d have to deal with it because he didn’t regret what happened one little bit. And he intended it to happen again at their earliest convenience…like immediately after breakfast.

He snagged a pair of jeans and yanked them on before heading toward the kitchen. At the last second he pocketed the car keys, just to be on the safe side. He wished he’d remembered to add beans and water to the coffeemaker last night. If he had he’d be enjoying his first hit of caffeine right this minute—the most crucial part of his morning—instead of waiting the endless five minutes it would take to percolate.

But he’d had more important matters on his mind the previous evening. Like Emma. He made short work of the coffee and opened the refrigerator to rummage through the contents, not that it offered up much in the way of real food. He spent most mealtimes in a restaurant entertaining clients or, occasionally, a woman. So what did he have that qualified as breakfast?

Beer. Okay, he considered that real food, at least it was in his world. Still, probably not the best option to offer Emma for breakfast. He shoved the beer aside and pulled out a carton of eggs. That would work. Bread and butter. He still had some left over from last night. And a pint of half-and-half. Fair enough, he decided. It could be worse.

He consumed his first cup of coffee while making some halfway decent scrambled eggs, even if they were a tad rubbery, and toast that wasn’t too badly burnt. After dumping everything onto two plates and placing them on the breakfast table, he poured a second cup of coffee for himself and a first one for Emma. Based on what she’d ordered after their one dinner together, she liked it heavy on the milk and light on the sugar. Considering he spent his day putting together million-dollar deals and handling tens of millions worth of investments, he was inordinately pleased with himself over throwing together such a simple breakfast. Now he just needed someone to share it with him.


He entered the bedroom, his brows snapping together when he saw that she still occupied the bathroom. No sound of running water. No feminine splashing or fussing. Just a nerve-wracking silence. Hell. She’d been off-color last night. Was she sick? He tapped on the door.

“Sweetheart? Are you all right?”

“Go away,” she moaned.

“The hell I will. Fair warning, I’m coming in.”

“No, don’t—”

“Too late. I’m in.”

To his concern, he found Emma curled up on the tile floor, her face buried in the knees she’d drawn to her chest. He’d have found it amusing that she wore his dress shirt from the night before if she didn’t look so utterly wretched. He crouched down beside her and smoothed her damp hair away from her brow. Her complexion was as snowy white as his shirt, with just the merest hint of green for contrast. Not a good color combination on her.

“I’m sorry, Emma,” he said sympathetically. “I didn’t realize you were unwell. What can I do to help?”

“Other than go away?”

He smiled. “Sorry, sweetheart, I’m not made like that. What’s option number two?”

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