Scandalous Seduction(55)

By: Miranda Lee


'Brad!'

'It's reversible!' he burst out, a wide grin on his face. 'My vasectomy, that is. Can you believe it? There's this doctor, a specialist in micro-surgery, who's quite confident he can have me disgustingly potent in no time. So you see, Harriet? We can have a baby, eventually. That was what I was coming to tell you today.' He shrugged, a look of wry foolishness on his face. 'But when I saw you with lover-boy, I guess I went off at a tangent…'

Harriet could hardly contain the joy in her heart. It was the ultimate, the most fantastic news. Like a miracle! As if God had smiled on them with all his love and mercy! She wanted to say something, to put into words what she was feeling. But she couldn't. All she could do was lay her head on Brad's chest and sigh his name.

Oh, how she loved this man. He was her protector, her prince, her knight in shining armour, her…

Her head shot up, her expression worried.

'What now?' he asked, frowning.

'You know, if there are to be kiddies I'm afraid you'll have to marry me. I'm an old-fashioned girl, remember?'

A devilish light sparkled in his wicked blue eyes. 'Married! Now that's taking things a bit far, don't you think? I mean… my fans wouldn't be too happy with bad Brad Barrington taking a wife.' He collapsed into hysterical laughter as she started tickling him. 'Mercy mercy,' he squawked. 'I give in. I'll marry you. Mercy…'



'Didn't I tell you, Raymond, that they might fall in love?' Julia pronounced with a self-satisfied smirk. 'Right from the start I said, "Now, doesn't he sound like a suitable husband for our Harriet?"!'

Harriet gave Brad a surreptitious poke in the ribs from where they were sitting jammed together on the chesterfield. 'I'll bet you didn't know that,' she whispered, 'when you showed up here for dinner looking like a vagrant.'

'No fear,' he muttered back. 'I would have run a mile.'

'What are you two whispering about?' Julia said impatiently.

'Just wedding plans, Mother.'

'Well, there's one person who won't be surprised by your news,' Julia announced smugly. 'Old Mrs Gallagher. She was out pottering in her garden when we drove past from Coff's Harbour earlier today, so I stopped for a little chat, thinking she might be lonely. Apparently, though, she's been kept quite busy writing some book on cats you suggested to her, Brad. Anyway, she didn't stop raving about how kind you both have been to her, and how she's never seen a couple so obviously in love. She was laughing over how coy you've both been, and to be truthful, Harriet, I have to agree with her. I mean, you could have let us in on things a bit more, instead of saying that you and Brad were "just good friends". Don't you agree, Raymond?'

Raymond bestowed a soothing smile on his wife. 'Now, Julia, young people these days have a different attitude to such matters from the one we had. Everything is much more casual. Be grateful they're getting married at all, I say.'

'Raymond!!

'Well, just look at Graham and Amanda,' he retorted. 'OK, so they're getting married now, but they've been living together for four years and already expecting a baby.'

'Expecting a baby?' Brad repeated, giving Harriet a reproving look. 'Forget that little piece of news, did you?'

'Thought it a wise decision at the time,' she mumbled.

'And I suppose it was you who engineered Graham and Amanda leaving for America before we drove home today,' he went on, but with a teasing light in his eyes.

'I did think it best…'

Harriet looked up to find her parents making a tactical retreat from the room, leaving them alone.

'And I think you talk too much,' Brad finished. And kissed her.

After the third kiss, they settled into a relaxed huddle.

'Tell me,' Harriet murmured. 'When did you fall in love with me?'

'Difficult to say,' he sighed. 'I first realised I was in trouble when you were helping me pack away my books and you said, "me, too".'

She blinked up at him in astonishment, recalling that that was the moment when he had gone green around the gills and she'd thought he was having a heart attack.

'Oddly enough, it was something Helen used to say all the time,' he elaborated. 'I looked up, half expecting to see her standing there, but it was you, Harriet. And all of a sudden it was as if someone had punched me in the stomach. I was panic-stricken. I thought, hell, this isn't some hard-nosed female, this is a warm, feeling woman. What if I'm falling in love with her? And, worse, what if she falls in love with me? I knew I should have cut our relationship off then and there, but I kept kidding myself I could keep it all in check. But I was playing with fire, wasn't I, my little incendiary rocket?' He gave her a kiss on the cheek, then her ear, then her throat, then…