Scandalous Seduction(54)

By: Miranda Lee

'But I wasn't referring to me, Brad,' she murmured just before his mouth met hers.

His hands froze around her face, his head slowly lifting to stare down at her.

'I know you love me,' she stated with apparent calm. Underneath she was like jelly.

He sucked in a startled breath, his hands dropping from her face as if he'd been stung by a scorpion. But he quickly gathered his wits, stepping back from her and putting on a drily amused expression. 'Whatever gave you such a—?'

'Please don't deny it,' she cut in frantically, her pretence gone, her real emotions surfacing with all their accompanying desperation. 'Because I love you too. I love you so much I'd rather die than lose you…' A lump had gathered in her throat, making her voice sound horribly strangled. 'I know you think you're doing the noble thing, pretending you don't love me, letting me be free to find some man who could give me a baby. But Brad… darling…' She came forward, dashing away the threatening tears before slipping her arms up around his neck, holding on to him for dear life. 'There is more to life than having babies. Much more.'

He was looking down at her with a mixture of wonderment and frustration in his eyes. 'Harriet… sweetheart… you don't understand. You're right about my loving you. I do. Terribly. But I—'

'You do?' she gasped, her heart turning over.

'Yes, but—'

'Then there are no buts,' she broke in, the wave of relief overflowing into a flood of wild determination. 'Can't you see that? We love each other and nothing is going to keep us apart again. Nothing. We'll be happy together, Brad. Really happy. I'll help you with your new book, doing research, checking your manuscript, anything! I'll even come to Sydney with you if that's what you want. Only please, if you love me, don't send me away again…'

Her voice faltered, her eyes filling. 'Can't you see,' she went on brokenly, 'that if you leave me I won't have children, anyway? You've spoilt me for any other man. Completely spoilt me… No other man will ever measure up. It's you I love, you I want, you I need!'

For a moment she was sure Brad was going to cry, but instead he caught her to him, hugging her so tightly that all the breath was squeezed out of her. 'Oh, Harriet,' he cried. 'Wonderful, wonderful Harriet!' Suddenly he drew back, a slight frown on his face. 'What about dear old Graham?'

Harriet looked sheepish.

Brad grinned. 'You were lying, you little devil, weren't you?'

'Lying my teeth out,' she admitted. 'Graham came to get Amanda, not me. I was trying to make you jealous, to goad you into betraying your love for me. And you did.'

'Why, you…!' He shook her, then dragged her against him, kissing her with an indescribable hunger. 'God, you've no idea what I went through when I saw him holding you, touching you. I wanted to tear him limb from limb.'

Harriet giggled. 'You controlled yourself quite well, then, didn't you? Only one itsy-bitsy little punch! Poor Graham, did you see his face crumple?'

'Poor Graham indeed!' Brad humphed. 'I think that's one thing you weren't lying about. He was coming on to you, wasn't he?'

'Of course not.' There were times when a small white lie was wise. 'He's in love with Amanda.

Now, confess, why did you come to the house? It wasn't just to tell me to take the kitten, was it?'

'No…' He led her over to their favourite armchair and settled into it, drawing her on to his lap. 'When I saw you yesterday afternoon, being so sweet to that vampire of a sister of yours, I was thrown into total despair. I admired and wanted you so much. Not just in bed. I wanted you in my life… forever. I didn't sleep a wink last night for thinking about you, loving you, wanting you, so in the end I got out of bed and started making phone calls.'

'Phone calls?' Harriet repeated, puzzled. Where on earth was this leading?

'Yes, phone calls! Scores of them. Thank the lord I'm rich, though I might have to toss off another sexy bestseller to cover my phone bill. Do you know how hard it is to track down medical records and specialists on a public holiday? But, as they say in the classics, where there's a will there's a way. And brother, did I have will!

'Brad, darling, you certainly write a lot more simply than you talk. Give it to me in a nutshell.'

'In a nutshell?' He grinned down at her. 'You don't realise it but that's almost a pun, considering—'