The Billionaire's Christmas Baby

By: Victoria James

“This is beautiful.” There was a king-sized mahogany sleigh-bed with a chocolate brown velvet duvet and matching throw pillows that looked so magnificent and comfortable that Hannah fought the urge to run over and sink into it. A stone fireplace was on the outside wall, with two leather armchairs in front of it accompanied by matching side tables and an antique rug.

“Thanks,” Jackson said, walking past her and turning on the bedside lamp.

Hannah tucked her hair behind one ear. “You have good taste.”

He smiled a patronizing, bored smile. “I had an interior designer do it.”

Of course he did, Hannah. As if he would have spent weeks picking out fabrics for curtains and duvet covers. “Oh. Well. She, or whoever did a great job.”

Hannah walked over to the bed and opened her purse. She felt like an idiot for letting her guard down and actually trying to have a conversation with him. Why couldn’t he have been the stereotypical computer geek with pale skin, thick glasses, and scrawny body? Maybe if she started getting settled he’d get the hint and leave her alone for a few minutes, long enough to contact Mrs. Ford and let her know that she was going to be delayed.

“I’ll get you some something to sleep in,” he said, leaving the room.

A minute later, Jackson was beside her holding a folded navy blue T-shirt. “Here, it’ll be a bit big, but it should be okay for one night.”

Hannah took the T-shirt without looking at him and placed it on the bed. It was his. “Thanks.”

“I’ll be in the kitchen whenever you want that hot water.”

“Sure,” she mumbled. This was going to be the longest night of her life. She hoped Emily would sleep well tonight. She could use all the rest she could get.

“I’ll let you get settled. There’s a phone beside the bed if you need it. I’d use it sooner than later. I wouldn’t be surprised if the phone lines go down. Cell phone reception out here gets a bit sketchy at the best of times.”

“Great. I’ll, uh, be a few minutes.”

He walked out of the room without saying anything.

Jackson leaned against the kitchen counter, staring at the baby sleeping in the car seat. What he’d give for a night’s sleep like that. He had moved her closer to the fire. Even a moron knew not to keep a baby by a door during a blizzard. He ran his hands through his hair, letting out a rough sigh. His evening had been going perfectly well until little-miss-smart-mouth crashed his annual escape-Christmas bash.

He glanced down at his watch. What was taking her so long? What if the baby woke up?

He decided she’d had more than enough time to get settled, he thought walking down the hall to her room. Besides, she was staying for one night, not a month.

He stopped himself from walking into her room. He heard her voice, her door slightly ajar. He would have knocked, but when he heard his name, he thought it might be wise to listen first.

“I found Jackson Pierce. I found little Emily’s uncle. Thank you for letting me do this, Mrs. Ford. I’m so grateful… it’s the weekend so no one from the child services bureau will be contacting you… yes… thank you. I’ll call you when I know more… take care, Mrs. Ford.”

Jackson stared at her back, trying to make sense of what she said, but that sick feeling he got whenever someone mentioned his family was lodged in his gut.

Jackson felt dread seep through his veins. Emily? Emily’s uncle? As though she sensed his presence, Hannah turned around. Her bright green eyes loaded up with tears as they stared into his. Her uncle. Her uncle. Those softly spoken words echoed in his mind and they echoed in the beautiful face of the woman standing across from him. Jackson couldn’t move, his body going cold as the truth of Hannah’s visit sank in.

The baby.

That baby wasn’t hers. It was his sister’s.

Chapter Three

Jackson had heard everything.

The look on his face made her forget about Emily for a moment. All she could feel was the painful pumping of her heart and the acrid taste of the tears burning in her throat. This wasn’t the way he was supposed to find out. She’d had a carefully rehearsed speech.

His eyes locked with hers and he strode across the room in what seemed like two steps. Suddenly there was no space between them, the room tiny and stifling. Panic set in.

“I want to know exactly who you are and what the hell you think you’re doing. Everything. Now.” His voice was raspy. Harsh. The anger that emanated from him was blatant. His jaw was clenched tight and the eyes that she thought were warm not too long ago, glistened with hate.

Hannah despised showing her hand. Hated showing that she was afraid of anything or anyone. Hated having someone know that she could be weak. But when he took a step closer to her, waiting for her answer, she took a step back, because he reminded her of a different man, of a different world, when she had no one, when she was helpless. But she wasn’t that same girl anymore. She was a grown woman. She had confronted her demons years ago. She held her chin up and looked him squarely in the eye. Don’t show your fear. Don’t show your fear.

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