Wanted by Her Lost Love(7)

By: Maya Banks

And she’d never had a chance.

Anyone who thought love was a cure for all things was a misguided fool. Maybe if he’d loved her enough—or at all. How could he ever have loved her when he turned on her at the first opportunity?

She closed her eyes against the unwanted sting of tears. She’d fled New York and ended up here in Houston. She’d forged a new life for herself. It wasn’t the best life, but it was hers.

She’d known that she couldn’t go back to school until after her baby was born and so she’d worked and saved every penny for that eventuality. She lived in the cheapest apartment she could find and earmarked all her earnings for when her child arrived. Then she would move into a better place, somewhere safe to raise a child and complete the two semesters she had left of school so she could make a better life for both herself and her precious baby. Without Ryan Beardsley and his filthy money and his horrid family and all the mistrust and betrayal she’d been subjected to.

Now… Now what? Why was Ryan here? And what would his discovery of her pregnancy mean for her future? Her plans? Her determination never to allow herself back into a situation where she risked so much hurt and devastation?

She rubbed her forehead tiredly, willing the ache to go away. She was tired, worn thin and in no position to defend herself from whatever onslaught Ryan was preparing.

Her fingers tightened and anger penetrated the haze. Why the hell was she sitting on a park bench hiding? She wasn’t in the wrong. Ryan couldn’t make her do anything he wanted; and, furthermore, he would leave her apartment or she’d get a restraining order against him.

He had no power over her anymore.

She breathed in deeply, steadying her shot nerves. Yeah, he’d caught her off guard. She hadn’t been prepared to see him again. But that didn’t mean she was going to let him mow over her.

Even as she made that resolution, nervous fear fluttered in her chest and tightened her throat. The future that she’d planned suddenly seemed in peril with Ryan’s reappearance in her life.

If he got it in his head that it was his child she carried, he wouldn’t go away. The problem was, even if she managed to convince him that it wasn’t his child, he’d only assume it was Jarrod’s. That still made the Beardsley family a serious impediment to her future.

“One thing at a time, Kelly,” she murmured.

The very first thing she had to do was get Ryan out of her apartment so she could weigh her options. She may not have his money or connections but that didn’t mean she was going to fold at the first sign of adversity.

A raindrop hit her forehead and she sighed. It had begun sprinkling again, and if she didn’t get back, she’d be caught out in the downpour that was surely coming.

As she trudged in the direction of her building she cheered herself up by imagining that he wouldn’t be there. That he’d given up and left, deciding she wasn’t worth the effort. She snorted as that thought crossed her mind. He’d already done that once. It wasn’t a stretch that he’d simply dismiss her from his life again.

By the time she climbed the stairs to her apartment, she was soaked through and her hair clung limply to her head. She shivered as she fumbled with the lock to let herself in.

It didn’t surprise her to see Ryan pacing the floor of her living room. She stiffened her shoulders just as he whirled around.

“Where the hell have you been?” he demanded.

“None of your business.”

“The hell it’s not. You didn’t go back to work. It’s raining and you’re soaked to the skin. Are you crazy?”

She laughed and shook her head. “Clearly I am. Or I was. But not anymore. Get out, Ryan. This is my apartment. You have no rights here. You can’t bully your way in here. I’ll swear out a restraining order if I have to.”

His forehead wrinkled and he stared at her in surprise. “You think I’d hurt you?”

She lifted a shoulder in a shrug. “Physically? No.”

He swore under his breath. Then he ran his hand through his hair in agitation. “You need to eat. There’s no food in this apartment. How the hell are you taking care of yourself and a baby when you’re on your feet all day? You’re clearly not eating here. There’s nothing to eat!”

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