Carrying the Lost Heir's Child

By: Jules Bennett

One

The masculine aroma. The strength of those arms. The hard chest her cheek rested against...she’d know this man anywhere. She’d watched him across the grassy meadows, dreamed of him...made love to him.

Lily Beaumont struggled to wake and realized all too quickly she didn’t have a clue how she’d gotten here.

Or more to the point, where was “here”?

The straw rustled against the concrete floor beneath her. She lay cradled in Nash James’s lap, his strong arms around her midsection. What on earth had happened?

“Relax. You fainted.”

That low, soothing voice washed over her. Lily lifted her lids to see Nash’s bright blue eyes locked on hers. Those mesmerizing eyes surrounded by dark, thick lashes never failed to send a thrill shooting through her. No leading man she shared the screen with had ever been this breathtaking...or mysterious.

But, she’d fainted? She never fainted.

Oh, yeah. She’d been walking to the stables to talk to Nash...

“Oh, no.” Lily grabbed her still-spinning head. Reality slammed back into her mind, making her recall why she was in the stables. “This isn’t happening.”

Rough, callused fingertips slid away strands of hair that had fallen across her forehead. “Just lie still,” he told her. “No rush. Everyone is gone for the day.”

Meaning the cast and crew had all either gone to the hotel or into their on-site trailers. Thank God. The last thing she needed was a big fuss over her fainting spell, because then she’d have some explaining to do.

Just a few short months ago Lily started shooting a film depicting the life of Damon Barrington, dynamic horse owner and a force to be reckoned with. The Barrington estate had become her home away from home and the quiet, intriguing groom whose lap she currently lay in had quickly caught her attention.

Before she knew it, she’d been swept into a secret affair full of sneaking around, ripping off clothes and plucking straw pieces from her hair...which led her to this moment, this life-altering moment when she was about to drop a major bomb in Nash’s life.

All the trouble they’d gone through to keep their escapades a secret were all in vain. No way could this news stay hidden.

“Nash.” She reached up to cup his face, the prickle of his short beard beneath her palm a familiar sensation. “I’m sorry.”

His brows drew together, worry etched across his handsome, tanned face, and he shook his head. “You can’t help that you passed out. But you scared the life out of me.”

Lily swallowed, staring at such an attractive, spellbinding man could make a woman forget everything around her...like the fact that she was carrying this man’s child.

“Are you feeling okay?” he asked, studying her face. “Do you need something to eat?”

Just the thought of food had her gag reflex wanting to kick in again. Weren’t pregnant women supposed to be sick in the mornings? What was this all-day nonsense?

Lily started to sit up, but Nash placed a hand over her shoulder. “Hold on. Let me help you.”

Gently, he eased her into a sitting position as he came to his feet. Then he lifted her, keeping her against his firm, strong body the entire time. Strong arms encircled her waist again and Lily wanted to seek the comfort and support he was offering. This might have been the first tender moment between them, considering anytime she’d come to meet him after dark they hurried to the loft where their passion completely took control.

How on earth would he react to the news? She was still reeling from the shocker herself, but she refused to keep this a secret. He had a right to know. She honestly had no clue what Nash would say, what he would do. A baby didn’t necessarily affect his line of work. Hers, on the other hand...

She’d been burned so badly before and had fought hard to overcome the public scandal that ensued. How would he handle being thrust into the limelight?

Lily groaned. Once the story broke, the press would circle her like vultures—and they would make her private life a top headline. People were starving, homeless, fighting wars and the media opted to nose their way into celebrities’ lives and feed that into homes around the world rather than something that was actually newsworthy.

Lily loved being an actress, loved the various characters she got to tap in to and uncover. But she hated the lack of privacy. A girl couldn’t even buy toilet paper without being spotted. Lily prided herself on being professional, doing her job and doing it well, and staying out of the media’s greedy, sometimes evil, clutches...a nearly impossible feat.

“You okay now?” he asked, his breath tickling the side of her face.

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