chapter 22

"I cannot just live with you, doing nothing," she said quietly. "I married you and came to London because you left me no choice, but you must see that this cannot last. Let me at least act the part of your housekeeper. Because you do not want me as your wife."

"And you?" he said mockingly. "Do you want me as your husband?"

She swallowed, trying not to remember the ridiculous dreams she'd had after she'd first found out she was pregnant, when she'd dreamed of Edward falling in love with her. When she'd Imagined him changing somehow into a good father, a good husband. Then, she'd wanted…

She shook her head. She wouldn't think of it! "I was doing fine on my own. Masen and I were happy in Key West."

"Too bad." He took a drink of the expensive red wine from the crystal glass. "You're never going back."

It was exactly what she'd feared he would say, but she lifted her head defiantly. "Of course we're going back. I have a business to run and a family that needs me—"

"Consider the bakery a gift to your sister," he said carelessly. "She now owns it."

She stared at him in shock, and then narrowed her eyes.

"You are out of your mind," she said tersely, stabbing her fork toward him in midair for emphasis, "if you think I'll let you just give away the business I love, the business I built and created with my life savings after I worked for you for five hard years —"

"Yes, I am certain that was a fate worse than death," he said coolly, taking another sip of the red wine. "But your sister and her daughter will do well with the bakery. They will be happy and secure. That is what you want, is it not?"

She ground her teeth.

"Of course it is. But I want to be there with them! I've missed too much time with them already," she said softly, then shook her head. "Florida is my home. You cannot take me away from a place where I've made friends—"

"Yes," he said sardonically. "I saw your many friends when I was there. Why don't you admit the truth about why you're so desperate to return?"

"Because I hate the sight of you?"

To her frustration, he seemed untouched by her jab. He only gave her a cold smile. "Who is he?"

"He?"

"The man you have been seeing. Or was there more than one? I might have been your first experience in bed, but how long did you wait for your second and third and fourth?" His cold eyes met hers over the table.

"Tell me, Bella. How many men did you invite to your bed while you were still pregnant with my child?"

She stared at him in horror. Then, she rose from the table. Looking down at him, she raised her hand but he grabbed her wrists. He was so strong she could not pull away. He stared at her for a moment in cold fury. She felt the pounding of her own heart, heard the soft gasp of her own breath. Felt the electricity in the air suddenly change between them. Then, lowering his head to hers, he claimed her mouth in a punishing kiss. Bella tried to fight. Tried to push him away. He was bruising her, hurting her

Then his kiss suddenly gentled. His hold on her became seductive, his arms caressing her softly, so softly, that her shirt and shorts disappeared as if blown off her body by a light warm breeze. His lips moved against her so tenderly, so lovingly, that she could not resist. She wrapped her arms around his neck as he lifted her up into his arms and carried her, not to the bed, but to the nearby couch covered with a white sheet. There, he made love to her with such amazing tenderness that she wept. Afterward, as she held him and he slept in her arms, she looked out at the view of the city and was suddenly reminded of their first night together, in Paris. The night she'd admitted to herself that she was in love with him. Now, she looked at him in the slanted light from the windows, curled up beside her on the long, wide sofa covered with the white sheet. She listened to the rise and falls of his breath, felt the warmth of his skin against her cheek, heard the beat of his heart with her head against his chest. And knew she still loved him.

She'd been in love with him secretly, hopefully, desperately for years. The sixteen months they'd spent apart, where she'd tried to convince herself she didn't love him anymore, had changed nothing.

She loved him.

And, from the way he'd touched her in the night, was it possible he could love her…?

No, she told herself fiercely.

It's just his nature. His body promises what his soul cannot deliver.

And yet…

They had a child together. Could somehow, by some miracle, Bella be the one to reach

Edward's heart, to make him whole, to heal his soul so they could be the real, loving family she longed for them to be?

She heard Masen cry. Quietly, so she wouldn't wake her husband, she crept out of his arms and went down the hall. Pulling on her clothes, she padded softly across the apartment to feed the baby and rock him back to sleep. She returned to the living room with her heart in her throat, full of dreams and plans and hopes to help Edward be the man she needed. The man she loved. The man she was convinced he was born to be. She could hardly wait to sleep in his arms…

She stopped abruptly when she saw the sofa was empty. He came up behind her. She whirled around to discover him wearing a white terry cloth robe, clearly just come from the shower.

"That was enjoyable," he said coolly, drying his wet hair with a towel. "I think I may like having a wife."

She tilted her head, her heart pounding with hope. "You think so?" she whispered.

His lips curved. "Of course. You're in my bed. At my service. And apparently wishing to cook and clean for me whenever you're not satisfying me in bed. I'm saving a great deal of money, since I don't even have to pay you. You are—" he reached out to stroke her cheek "—

Every man's dream wife."

She swallowed, trembling as she looked up into his cold gray eyes. "You are trying to hurt me. Why?"

"I said I will enjoy our marriage. And you

—will not." Pulling his hand away, he leaned forward until his handsome face was inches from her own. "Nothing has changed," he whispered. His eyes were a mesmerizing green. "You will regret the day you stole my son away from me."

Pain stabbed through her. Was that all their night together had been for him? She'd thought — dreamed

— It could be some kind of new start for them, the sweet promise of forgiveness and a new life, raising their son together.

He'd fooled her yet again.

His tenderness, his sensuality, had been the weapons he'd used to punish her!

She had the sudden image of the pain he could inflict on her, this man she loved, this man she'd once known so well.

I can't offer you marriage. But for as long as we're together, I promise I will be faithful to you.


hey guys i felt a surge of energy tonight and wanted to right so hair it is ill try to update more but its according to how i feel and these days i feel like Merde