Mistress:Pregnant by The Spanish Billionaire(5)

By: Kim Lawrence

He arched a brow and sounded politely interested. ‘No, I didn’t know.’

A growling noise escaped Nell’s throat before she squeezed her eyes shut and finished in a halting monotone. ‘“You’ll love him as much as I do, or almost as much ha ha! I know you’ll know the best way to break it to Mum and Dad. Love and kisses, Lucy.”’

She stuck out her chin, glared up at him and wished she didn’t have such a height disadvantage. ‘Well, what do you have to say now? Are you still denying it? Are you suggesting Lucy made it all up?’

‘I’m impressed.’

Nell’s self-righteous anger tilted over into confusion. He wasn’t acting like a guilty man, but maybe he was one of those sociopaths you read about—the ones who had no moral compass, no values?

‘Impressed by what?’

‘You had a name of a hotel and my name and you found me. That is impressive.’

Nell gave a triumphant little cry of, ‘So you admit it is you, then.’ Before adding with feeling, ‘It wasn’t easy finding you.’

That was just about the understatement of the century. Her night flight had arrived at the airport very early for her to find that her luggage, such as it was, had ended up somewhere else. The people at the snooty hotel where she had stuck out like a sore thumb beside the affluent and well-dressed guests had been very uncooperative, if not damned rude, when she had mentioned Luiz Felipe Santoro. They clearly intended taking his home address to their graves.

If it hadn’t been for the sweet fatherly doorman who had chased after her and suggested she might find the man she was looking for at the Castillo d’Oro her search might have stopped right there.

The only hire car she had been able to afford had no air conditioning and to top it all she’d got lost three times on the way to the castillo. The distance on the map was deceptive. Although quite close to the Mediterranean, the historic estancia set high on a lush plateau in the Sierra Nevada was not easy to reach.

It had been the day from hell and only a determination to save her niece from making a terrible mistake had kept Nell going.

And all the time at the back of her mind there had been the question, what if all this was pointless? What if Lucy had already married her Spaniard?

‘Tell me,’ she pleaded, catching hold of his jacket sleeve. ‘Are you married?’

Something dark, bleak and very forbidding flickered into his eyes. For a moment Nell thought he was not going to reply.

‘I was, but not now.’

Oh, my God. Lucy had not only got involved with an older man, she had got involved with an older man who already had a failed marriage behind him, and if his manner when he spoke of it was anything to go by the break up had not been amicable. But then he did not strike Nell as the sort of man who would shrug off a divorce and say, ‘Let’s stay good friends.’

‘You’re a resourceful woman.’

‘I’m a woman who is fast running out of patience.’ Nell, pleased at the crisp delivery, tilted her chin to a ‘don’t mess with me’ angle. ‘I want to see Lucy and I want to see her now. I don’t know what your job is here, but I can’t imagine your employers will be too impressed if I tell them what you’ve been up to!’

‘Are you threatening me?’

‘Yes!’ And not doing a very good job of it. It was difficult to imagine a man looking less threatened than Lucy’s lover… She grimaced—Lucy’s lover. That sounded so wrong on so many levels!

On the silly and shallow level it hardly seemed fair her teenage niece was now officially more sexually experienced than she was.

‘I do not work here.’

Nell, who suddenly realised she still had hold of his arm, regarded him with suspicion. ‘You’re a guest at this hotel?’ She gave a tiny gasp of relief when her fingers finally responded to the message from her brain and let go. The impression of hard, lean strength lingered even when she rubbed her hand against the canvas bag slung around her neck.

‘Not a guest, and not a hotel—this is the home of my grandmother, Doña Elena Santoro.’

The colour faded from her cheeks as Nell turned her head and stared at the vast Castillo d’Oro, a fortified stone edifice—a real castle complete with turrets.

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