He frowned darkly and stared at her in confusion. “What are you talking about? There will be no separation of our lifestyles.”
She shrugged indifferently. “The evidence is here. It doesn’t take an idiot to figure it out. You’ve put me in my own room. My clothes are separate. Our things are separate. Our beds are separate. It’s a wonder I ever got pregnant,” she added wryly. She swallowed and then pressed on with the question burning uppermost in her mind. “Why are you marrying me, Chrysander? Was my pregnancy an accident? Was I some lascivious bitch who trapped you into a relationship?”
She knew she sounded hysterical even as the words tumbled out, but the hurt was eating away at her insides. She needed reassurance, some sign that the life he claimed was hers was a happy place and not one filled with dark gaps like the holes in her memory.
“Theos! Come with me.”
Before she could protest, he was dragging her from the closet. He ushered her over to the bed and sat her down before settling beside her.
She glanced uncomfortably around. “Where is Patrice?” She had no wish to have a disagreement in front of anyone else.
“I dismissed her when I arrived,” he said impatiently. “She is only here when I cannot be until we leave for Greece. She’ll remain on the island with us for as long as you have need of her.”
Marley couldn’t keep the disappointment from her expression. “But Chrysander, I don’t need her at all, and I thought we would be alone once we reached the island.”
His look told her that he wanted anything but, and hurt crashed in again at his seeming rejection.
“You may think she isn’t needed, but I won’t take chances with your recovery. Your health is too important to me.” His voice became softer, and his eyes lost some of their hardness. “You’re pregnant, and you’ve undergone a great deal of stress. It’s only natural that I would want the best care possible for you.”
She swallowed and slowly nodded.
He stared intently at her. “Now, as for my earlier rudeness…I apologize. I had no right to speak to you that way.”
She snorted, which caused his eyebrows to rise. “I don’t think rude adequately covers it. You were a first-class jerk.”
Color rose in his cheeks, and he swallowed. “Yes, I was, and for that I apologize. I have no excuse. I’ve been busy making arrangements for our travel, and I took my frustrations out on you. It’s unforgivable, but I ask for your forgiveness nonetheless.”
“I accept your apology,” she said coolly.
“And as for your other assertions.” He took one of his hands away from hers and dragged it carelessly through his dark hair. “We do not lead separate lives. Nor will we. You did not trap me into a proposal, and I won’t have you say it again.” He paused and sighed. “I put you in this room out of deference to your condition. I didn’t think it fair of me to expect you to share a room and a bed with a man who is a stranger to you. I had no wish to put such pressure on you.”
In that light, her worry seemed silly. What she’d perceived as a slight had in fact been an act of caring on his part. Her shoulders sagged as her breath escaped in a sigh.
“What did you think, pedhaki mou?”
“I thought you didn’t want me,” she said lamely.
He let out a curse and cupped her face in his palm. For a long moment, he stared at her. Light blazed in his golden eyes, and then he lowered his head to hers. Her breath caught in her throat and hung there as his lips hovered over hers.
A fierce longing ignited within her, and suddenly she wanted nothing more than his mouth on hers. When their lips met, a bolt of electricity shot down her spine and rebounded, spreading through her body like wildfire.
Instinctively, she arched into him, working her body into the shelter of his as his fingers fanned across her cheek and he deepened the kiss. Her br**sts tightened as desire hummed through her belly. His chest brushed across her taut nipples, and she flinched in reaction.
Her arms snaked around him, and her fingers dug into the hair at his nape. Peace enveloped her. A sense of rightness she hadn’t experienced since waking in the hospital bed lodged in her mind.
A low groan worked its way from his throat as he pulled away. His breath came in ragged spurts, and his eyes shimmered with liquid heat.
“Your body remembers me, pedhaki mou, even if your mind does not.” Pure male satisfaction accentuated his statement. It sounded arrogant, self-assured, but it gave her flagging confidence a much-needed boost. He sounded very pleased at the idea that she recognized him, if only on a physical level.
“I don’t have any suitable clothing,” she blurted, then blushed at the absurdity of her statement. Her brain had gone to mush as soon as he’d kissed her, and now she scrambled to cover the awkwardness.
One brow went up again.
“Why don’t I have any maternity clothes?” she asked. “Did I not buy any?” She reached for any plausible explanation as to why she wouldn’t have appropriate clothing among the closet-ful of outfits she owned.
Chrysander frowned. “I am sorry, pedhaki mou. I did not think of this. Of course you cannot go around in your jeans.” He smiled a slow, sensual smile. “Even if I do love to see you in them.”
She cocked her head to one side.
He chuckled, and the sound, sexy and low, vibrated over her hypersensitive body. “You do not like to wear them around me. Something about looking nice when we are together, but I assure you, you would look beautiful in a sackcloth if you chose to wear one.”
Heat bloomed in her cheeks, and she smiled at the compliment.
He shook his head ruefully. “I am not doing a good job of taking care of you since your release from the hospital. I’ve upset you and not seen to your needs. This is something I must remedy at once. I admit, though, that your safety and well-being, not your clothing, was uppermost on my mind.”
“Don’t say that,” she protested. “You’ve been wonderful. Well, except the brief stint as a big jerk.” She smiled teasingly at him as she spoke. “This can’t have been easy for you, and yet you’ve been incredibly patient. I’m sorry for being such a shrew.”
He touched her face again, and for a moment, she thought he’d kiss her once more. “I won’t let you apologize, Marley. You keep worrying about how hard this is for me, when you are the one who has suffered.” He took his hand away and stood. “Now I must make some phone calls so I can have more appropriate clothing arranged for you.”
She blinked in surprise. “Couldn’t we just go shopping?”
He frowned. “You are not up for a shopping trip. I want you to rest. We’re leaving for the island tomorrow morning, as soon as you have seen the doctor and he gives his approval for you to travel.”
“Tomorrow?” she parroted. “So soon?”
He nodded. “Now you know why I must hurry if I am to have your clothing delivered on time.”
She put her hands up helplessly. He said it as though he had much experience in making things happen in accordance with his wishes. If he could have clothes delivered to her on such short notice, then who was she to argue?
She held up a hand to silence him. She knew enough about the look on his face and the tone of his voice to know that an order to rest was about to follow.
“If you tell me to rest again, I may well scream.”
His gaze narrowed, and he was about to protest.
“Please, Chrysander. I feel well. I napped while you were gone. Now, you promised me lunch when you returned from your meeting, and I find myself starving. Can we go eat?”
He cursed again and clenched his fingers into fists. “Of course. Apparently, I strive to be thoughtless in all things. Come and sit down at our table. I’ll get us something to eat.”
T he next morning, Marley dressed in one of the chic outfits that had been delivered straight to their penthouse by a local boutique specializing in maternity wear. Chrysander had insisted she see an obstetrician before they departed for his island, and so, accompanied by Chrysander and flanked by several members of his security team, they entered the medical building where the doctor’s offices were housed.
She felt conspicuous and faintly embarrassed, but she also glowed under Chrysander’s constant attention and his apparent concern for her well-being.To her surprise, there was no waiting once Chrysander announced their arrival to the receptionist. His security detail remained in the lobby, and Marley smiled at the image of the big, burly men standing amidst a dozen pregnant women.
She and Chrysander were ushered to an exam room by a young nurse who assured them that the doctor would attend them shortly.
When the nurse retreated, Chrysander lifted Marley and settled her on the exam table. Instead of sitting in the chair to the side, he stood in front of her and rubbed his hands up and down her arms in a comforting manner.
She leaned into his arms, unable to resist the pull between them. She rested her cheek on his broad chest and closed her eyes as his hands slipped around to caress her back.
The door opened, and Marley quickly pulled away. But Chrysander seemed in no hurry to relinquish her. He slipped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her against him as the doctor introduced himself.
After a few preliminaries and a discussion of her condition, the doctor looked over his clipboard and said, “I’d like to perform an ultrasound just to make sure everything is as it should be.”
Chrysander frowned. “Do you have cause for concern?”
The doctor shook his head. “It’s purely precautionary. Given the fact that you’re traveling out of the country, and that Miss Jameson has recently suffered a trauma, I’d just like to take a look at the baby and make sure everything is well.”
Chrysander nodded and took Marley’s hand. As the doctor left the room, he turned to her. “I will be with you, pedhaki mou. There is nothing to fear.”
She smiled and squeezed his hand. “I’m not worried. I wasn’t even injured in the accident, so there’s no reason anything should be wrong with the baby.”
His expression became unreadable, but his hand remained tight around hers.
A few moments later, the doctor returned and instructed Marley to recline on the table. When he asked her to tug her pants below her waistline and to raise her shirt, Chrysander frowned fiercely.
“Her belly must be exposed in order to perform the scan,” the doctor said, amusement twinkling in his eyes.
Chrysander himself arranged her clothing, only baring the minimal amount of flesh, and he hovered close, his hand resting above the swell of her stomach.
When the probe slid over her belly and the screen lit up with a blurry image that resembled a blob, Marley reached a shaking hand for Chrysander’s. Chrysander bent over her, his face close to her ear as he strained to see the monitor.
“Would you like to know what you’re having?” the doctor asked with a broad smile.
Chrysander looked at Marley, and she held her breath for a moment, excitement making her pulse race. “I do,” she whispered to Chrysander. “Do you?”
He smiled and brought her hand to his lips. “If that is what you wish, pedhaki mou. I, too, would like to know whether we’re having a son or a daughter.”
Marley turned her head to look at the doctor. “Yes, please. Tell us.”
She watched as the screen changed, blurring in and out as the probe moved over her belly. A few seconds later, the image slowed and then became clearer.
“Congratulations, you’re having a boy.”
Marley’s breath caught in her throat. “Is that him?” she whispered as she viewed what appeared to be two legs and round buttocks.
“Indeed it is. Handsome devil, isn’t he?”
“He’s beautiful,” Chrysander said huskily. He bent and brushed his lips across Marley’s cheek. “Thank you, pedhaki mou.”
She twisted to look up at him. “Why are you thanking me?”
“For my son.” His gaze was riveted to the screen, and delight shone deeply in his eyes. He was clearly enthralled with the tiny baby, and her heart squeezed with emotion.
“We’re finished here,” the doctor said.
Chrysander gently arranged Marley’s clothing and then put an arm behind her back to help her sit forward again.
“Was everything all right?” Chrysander asked the doctor.
“Quite so. Make sure she checks in with an obstetrician when you arrive in Greece. I don’t anticipate any problems. She and the baby appear perfectly healthy, but it’s a good idea if she has regular care during her pregnancy.”
“I’ve arranged for a private physician as well as a nurse to remain on the island as long as we do,” Chrysander said. “She will be well looked after.”
The doctor nodded his approval and then smiled at Marley. “Take care, young lady, and best wishes on your pregnancy.”
Marley returned his smile then took Chrysander’s hand as he helped her from the table. He ushered her out moments later and helped her into the waiting limousine.
“Are you feeling all right?” Chrysander asked as they pulled away. “The plane is waiting at the airport, but if you’re tired from your appointment we can take the flight after you’ve rested.”
“Are our bags already there?” she asked in surprise.
He nodded. “I had them brought over while you were at your appointment.”
“We can leave now. I can rest on the plane.”
He leaned forward to tell the driver to take them to the airport, and then he closed the privacy glass between them.