Little Secrets:Unexpectedly Pregnant

By: Joss Wood

And her being such a temptation was exactly why he’d allowed her to walk away from him years ago, why he’d let her slip through his fingers. It had been self-preservation in action.

He’d been an adult all his life, had dealt with situations no child should have to, had raised his sister as best he could. He wasn’t scared of much but, God, Sage having a baby terrified him. Tyce linked his arms around his bent knees, as fear, hot and acidic, bubbled in a space just under his heart. And, like it or not, he and Sage were now joined together in an age-old way, through the mingling of their DNA. No matter how Tyce looked at it, as the mother of his child, Sage would be a permanent fixture in his life. Sage was also the only person who’d ever come close to cracking his armor and that meant that she was desperately dangerous.

He didn’t like it but the situation couldn’t be changed and all he could do was manage the process. How to do that? Tyce stood up and walked over to his desk in the corner of the studio, pulling out his battered office chair and dropping into it. First things first... Since he was going to be connected to the Ballantyne family for a long time to come, he had to come clean. About everything. First to Sage, then to her brothers.

And yeah, that was going to be as much fun as running around outside, naked, on a winter’s night in Siberia. But it couldn’t be avoided and it had to be done, and soon.

* * *

Sage, resentful that she’d been pulled away from her workbench to attend a meeting at Ballantyne International headquarters, stepped out of the elevator and immediately turned left, waving to the staff working behind the glass walls that were a feature of the Ballantyne corporate offices. Sage deeply appreciated the people who worked for their company, each one an essential cog to keep the massive organization running smoothly. She knew enough about business to contribute to the partners’ meetings but she trusted her brothers to run the company, just as they trusted her to translate their rich clients’ vague desires for “something special” into works of gemstone art.

But occasionally, as a full partner of Ballantyne International, she was expected to attend the meetings Linc called. She’d reluctantly shrug out of her work clothes—comfortable jeans and loose tops—and change into something more businesslike; today’s outfit was a red-and-pink geometric top and plain black wool pants worn over two-inch-heeled boots. Her makeup consisted of a swipe of nude lipstick and she’d pulled her hair into a long braid.

She had the jewelry-designer-to-Ballantyne-partner switch down to a fine art.

At the end of the hallway, Sage pushed open the glass door to Amy’s office, thankful to see the PA Linc and Beck shared at her desk, laconically typing on her computer. The walls to the offices on either side of Amy’s desk were opaque and Sage couldn’t tell whether Linc and Beck were in their respective offices or not.

“Why is your phone off?” Amy demanded, looking at her over the frames of her trendy glasses. “FYI, smoke signals are notoriously unreliable these days.”

Knowing that underneath Amy’s glossy and sarcastic shell was a gooey center, Sage leaned across her desk to drop a kiss on her cheek. “Sorry I worried you.”

“I nearly came to your place myself. I hate it when you don’t answer your phone.” Amy pushed her chair away from her desk, her eyes brightening. “So, what do you think about Linc and Tate’s engagement? Isn’t it fabulous?”

Sure, her life was in turmoil but Sage was genuinely happy for her brothers. Linc and Tate aside, there was more good news: Piper and Jaeger were expecting twin boys, Tate was going to adopt Linc’s son, Shaw, and Linc was going to adopt Ellie, Tate’s ward and niece. Beckett was going to raise Cady’s still-baking baby as his own. Sage felt no surprise at Beckett’s generous offer; in the Ballantyne family blood was a nebulous concept. always trumped DNA.

“Are you okay? You seem anxious and stressed.”

As she always did, Sage shook her head and, wanting to distract Amy, ran her finger over the open face of a rose, bending down to inhale the subtle scent. “A gift from Jules?” Sage asked, thinking of Julie, Amy’s soon-to-be wife.

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