Proof of Their Sin

By: Dani Collins

A beautiful mistake

Pregnant. Lauren Bradley’s heart stops—there’s only one man who can be the father and it’s not her late husband, the man everyone thinks is a celebrated war hero….

Ravaged with guilt at sleeping with his best friend’s wife, Paolo Donatelli closes his heart to Lauren forever. But in nine months’ time, the proof of their incredible night together will be there for the world to see.

Marriage is Paolo’s answer to avoiding more scandal, but it’s Lauren’s worst fear—she still bears the scars from the first time she said I do. Can she trust Paolo enough to reveal the truth?

“You’re making a fool of yourself,” Paolo muttered.

The words sliced through Lauren, withering a very sensitive nerve. She knew she lacked experience and sophistication. Why else had her husband cheated on her? Paolo didn’t need to rub it in, though.

Lauren flashed him a livid glance from eyes that burned, but he wasn’t looking at her. He wasn’t aware she was melting under his touch.

She lifted her chin, daring him to take that away from her.

Nothing. Not one iota of reaction. Only a disinterested “Why did you want to see me?”

The moment of truth. She waited until he’d spun her so her back was to the majority of the crowd, making lipreading from across the room less likely. “I needed to tell you that I’m…” She found the Italian word she’d looked up. “Incinta.”

If the language switch caused him any confusion, he didn’t show it. In fact, he showed little reaction at all, beyond one contemptuous glance down his nose.

“Congratulations. Whose is it?”

A high price to pay for giving in to temptation!

When succumbing to a night of unbridled desire, it’s impossible to think past the morning after!

But with the sheets barely settled, the little blue line appears on the pregnancy test and it doesn’t take long to realize that one night of white-hot passion has turned into a lifetime of consequences!

Only one question remains:

How do you tell a man you’ve just met that you’re about to share more than just his bed?

Happy Twentieth Anniversary to my love, my husband, Doug. (A bit late, but publishing doesn’t happen overnight, honey. Just like a marriage.)

A loving Thank You to my mother, Sharon, for leaving her Janet Dailey books on the coffee table when I was in high school. Yes, this book in your hands is all your fault.

However, Mom does share credit with the editors at Harlequin Mills & Boon, most especially Suzy Clarke for her initial encouragement and my current editor, Megan Haslam, for the spot-on coaching that make my stories bigger, better, stronger.

I’d like to also wish a Happy First Anniversary to Sandra and Dave. This is how you get a man to buy a romance novel for his wife, people. Dave will do it. He’s a romantic and a gentleman.

And a very affectionate acknowledgment of my fellow Harlequin author Cathryn Parry, who has been the most supportive friend you can imagine. If the planets align, I’ll hand this to you in person.


NOT FOR THE first time in the last several weeks, Lauren Bradley wondered where she should draw the line between becoming the bold, independent woman she’d always wished she could be and behaving like a shameless, demanding radical. Words like licentious, brazen and embarrassment trickled through her mind with increasing frequency as she walked that blurry border.

Unsurprisingly, when those hurtful words echoed in her head, they were always pronounced in her mother’s thin, distressed voice.

Flicking one long, brunette braid over her shoulder, Lauren silently told her absent mother to pipe down while she regarded the woman behind the counter of this exclusive hotel salon. The woman had just given Lauren the most excruciatingly polite brush-off and the habits of a lifetime urged Lauren to slink away in quiet disgrace.

But her heart was beating for two these days, knocking hard against the wall of her breastbone and bouncing back on a spine that had to harden to contain it.

Dare I? she wondered with a shiver of apprehension.

Oh, she knew she appeared to be just one more hick tourist come to New York looking for a posh hairstyle to take home as a souvenir, but this meant so much more to her than that. Lauren stood on the threshold of taking control of her life in a way she’d never imagined, but to do so meant shoving past the old Lauren who always smilingly took a backseat to everyone. If she didn’t dig deep and find her true spirit right now she might as well collect her luggage from upstairs and retreat to the empty rooms of her grandmother’s mansion where she could raise her baby with all the fear of drawing attention its mother had suffered most of her life.

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