Pregnant On The Upper East Side?(8)

By: Emilie Rose



“Moving pretty fast for a pregnant lady, aren’t you?”

Julia laughed. “You’re just lucky I had the receiver parked on my mountainous belly. You sound out of sorts. What’s the matter?”

She and Julia had known each other too long to miss the nuances in each other’s voices. Julia heard Amanda’s distress as clearly as Amanda heard her friend’s happiness. “Go ahead and have me committed.”

“Why? Are you dating Curtis again?”

“If I were that stupid I’d commit myself.” She took a deep breath and confessed in a rush, “I agreed to plan an event for Alex Harper.”

“And that’s bad because…?”

“You know why.”

“He’s in hot pursuit. Yes, it’s so tragic when a handsome, intelligent, wealthy guy wants you.”

“Hey!”

“Amanda, you two can’t keep your eyes off each other when you’re in the same room. Max thinks Alex is a great guy. And I know you need someone to boost your confidence after that jerk Curtis. I say go for it—the party and anything else Alex is offering.”

So much for her friend talking her off the celibacy-sucks ledge. “You know my goal. Get my life back on track and make a success of my business before I hit thirty.”

“And come into all that money.”

“I have to prove I can make a success of my business before then. Otherwise, my parents will just think Granddad’s money bailed me out.”

“Amanda, that’s two years away. One brief affair is not going to set back your schedule.”

“Says the woman who ended up pregnant after a very brief one-night stand.”

“Ooh. You only fight dirty when you’re running scared. Just remember Alex isn’t the forever type.”

“No kidding.” She couldn’t keep the sarcasm from her voice.

“In fact, he’s quite a hound dog. Take precautions. You can’t be celibate forever.”

With her track record it would probably be her best option. “Why not?”

“Besides the obvious—that sex is fantastic with the right partner?”

Well, yes, there was that. “He’s not the right person.”

“You don’t know that. Give the man points for persistence and reward his efforts already. Watching you dance around each other is exhausting me, and my poor, pregnant body is already on a hormonal roller coaster without watching all that longing in your eyes. Do him already.”

She rolled her eyes. “You’re not helping.”

“Yes, I am. You’re just not willing to admit I’m giving sage advice.”

Admit to her newlywed and now aggressively match-making friend that she was attracted to Alex Harper?

Amanda would rather walk naked through Times Square.



At twelve-twenty-six the next day Amanda pushed open the heavy gold-stenciled glass door of Harper &Associates.

Alex’s firm epitomized the affluent type of client Amanda longed for. Perhaps, she thought, she should consider targeting more corporate clients instead of focusing primarily on private affairs.

Her D&G pumps sank into the thick carpeting as she crossed to the cherry reception desk that had been polished to a mirror shine. A twenty-something blonde greeted her with a face and a toothy smile worthy of a beauty queen. “Good afternoon. May I help you?”

Amanda smiled back. “Amanda Crawford for Alex Harper.”

“One moment please.” She swiveled away and spoke quietly into a headset before turning back. “His assistant will be right with you. Would you care for a beverage?”

A stiff shot of something to calm her nerves would be good. “No, thank you.”

“There she is now,” the receptionist said, drawing Amanda’s attention to a compact, midforties brunette charging down a wide corridor in her direction.

“Ms. Crawford? I’m Moira Newton. I’ll take you to Mr. Harper’s private waiting area.”

Amanda followed her into a room that reeked money, from the wainscoting to the clean-cut lines of the leather and cherry furniture to the original artwork on the walls. If a room could instill a client’s confidence in its owner, then this one would.

“Alex will be with you momentarily. May I get you anything while you wait?”

“I’m fine. Thank you.”

“I’ll take your coat.”

Amanda shrugged off the garment, handed it over and sank into a deep wing chair tucked in the corner.

Moira hung her coat in a small closet hidden by the paneling, then sat behind a desk that fronted the remainder of her work space, which was discreetly concealed in a large alcove.

Moments later the muted timbre of Alex’s voice scattered the butterflies that had been resting in Amanda’s stomach. A door on the far wall opened and a harassed-looking, balding man stepped through, followed by Alex. As yet unnoticed, she drank Alex in as the men said their good-byes.

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