Mistress:Pregnant by The Spanish Billionaire(11)

By: Kim Lawrence

Nell tried to slow her laboured breathing as she watched Luiz walk towards the bed and bend over it.

Seeing the walking frame beside the bed brought back a rush of memories and to her horror Nell felt her eyelids prickle with tears. Eight weeks and I cry now. Please, no, not now. Inch by inch she fought her way back to control, dabbing angrily at the moisture at the corners of her eyes.

‘I’ve brought you a visitor and she doesn’t speak Spanish.’

The contrast between his callous attitude to her moments earlier and the tenderness in his manner as he kissed the sunken cheek of the tiny figure lying in the bed increased the emotional ache in her throat. She remained stubbornly reluctant to endow him with finer feelings or motives, but if he didn’t love this old lady he was a very good actor.

‘This is Nell.’

How could anyone put so much expression into one word—one name?

It was astonishing, and her reaction to the warm husky intonation in his deep voice suggesting unspoken intimacies was no less shocking.

Luiz reached a hand towards her and she responded without thinking to the compelling message in his eyes and stepped forward, taking his hand. An embarrassing rush of heat passed through Nell’s body as he tugged her towards him and slipped his arm around her waist before pulling her into his body.

She suddenly felt a spasm of sympathy for Lucy. If his cousin had half this man’s seductive powers, then it was hardly surprising that her inexperienced niece had fallen so hard.

‘Turn that light on, Luiz.’

Nell blinked as the light from an angle lamp fell across her face.

‘Good bones…’ came the verdict. The sharp eyes slid thoughtfully back to her grandson’s face, before she returned her attention to Nell. ‘Not your usual type, Luiz.’

Tell me something I don’t know, thought Nell as to her relief Luiz aimed the light away from her eyes. Then prompted by the expression in his eyes, she held out her hand. Like some sort of puppet, observed the disgusted voice in her head.

‘Well, now I won’t have to change my will, Luiz,’ Doña Elena joked.

It took a couple of seconds for Nell to register the comment, and when she did she was gripped by a wave of disillusionment. She had wanted to know and now there was no doubt. It was quite irrational to feel so let down. People did unpleasant, low, nasty things when large sums of money were involved, so why should he be any different?

‘Were you going to leave it to Felipe?’

The standing joke between them raised a weak smile from the old lady and a horrified look from Nell. Elena Santoro, who was perfectly aware that her younger grandson had no fondness for the estancia that was, to quote him, ‘an anachronism in the modern world’, teased back.

‘Possibly.’ Felipe had even less enthusiasm for the responsibilities that came with it and he remained mystified by their grandmother’s stubborn determination to hang onto what he referred to as a damned money pit. He had been almost comically relieved when she had explained to him that it was her intention his cousin would inherit, but he would have her house in Seville and the art collection it contained.

Turning her head towards Nell, she asked, ‘You have met Felipe?’

Nell shook her head. ‘Not yet.’ She could almost feel sorry for him.

‘He is a good boy, artistic, but I expect he will grow out of that. You notice I do not speak of my sons. IfI left the estancia to them, Nell, they would split it up and sell it off to speculators before I was cold in my grave.’ She broke off as her slight frame was racked by hacking coughs. ‘I’m fine, don’t fuss, Luiz,’ she gasped breathlessly as she patted away his solicitous hand. ‘So when, Nell, are you going to marry my grandson?’

Luiz spoke for her. ‘We have not set a date yet.’

Despite her physical frailty there was nothing weak about the glare that was directed at Luiz. ‘Does the girl not have a voice, Luiz? Let her speak,’ she quavered imperiously.

Nell lifted her chin. If Luiz was scared about what she might say, he ought to be. ‘I can speak.’ She flashed Luiz a look of distaste and thought, Let him sweat.

‘Tell me about yourself.’

It was a request, not an order, but Nell was starting to realise this was not a lady who did requests.

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