The Heir From Nowhere

By: Trish Morey

About the Author


TRISH MOREY wrote her first book at age eleven for a children’s book-week competition. Entitled Island Dreamer, it told the story of an orphaned girl and her life on a small island at the mouth of South Australia’s Murray River. Island Dreamer also proved to be her first rejection—her entry was disqualified unread. Shattered and broken, she turned to a life where she could combine her love of fiction with her need for creativity—Trish became a chartered accountant! Life wasn’t all dull, though, as she embarked on a skydiving course, completing three jumps before deciding that she’d given her fear of heights a run for its money.

Meanwhile she fell in love and married a handsome guy who cut computer code, and Trish penned her second book—the totally riveting, A Guide to Departmental Budgeting—whilst working for the N.Z. Treasury.

Back home in Australia after the birth of their second daughter, Trish spied an article saying that Harlequin Books was actively seeking new authors. It was one of those “eureka!” moments—Trish was going to be one of those authors!

Eleven years after reading that fateful article—actually June 18, 2003, at 6:32 p.m!—the magical phone call came and Trish finally realised her dream.

According to Trish, writing and selling a book is a major life achievement that ranks up there with jumping out of an airplane and motherhood. All three take commitment, determination and sheer guts, but the effort is so very, very worthwhile.

Trish now lives with her husband and four young daughters in a special part of South Australia, surrounded by orchards and bushland and visited by the occasional koala and kangaroo.

You can visit Trish on her website at www.trishmorey.com or drop her a line at [email protected]





CHAPTER ONE


‘YOU don’t know me, but I’m having your baby.’

Was it possible for your blood to stop flowing before you were dead? Dominic Pirelli believed it, the way his veins suddenly clamped shut and his blood seemed to congeal in a heart that had itself long ago turned to stone. And even if he’d wanted to slam the phone down in denial, he was incapable of movement, one hundred per cent of his energy concentrated and distilled down, focused on just one tiny word.

No!

And then the need to breathe kicked in and he dragged in air, and slowly his pulse resumed, pounding out a message in his temples, echoing his disbelief. It was impossible! It didn’t matter what the doctor had tried to tell him this morning. It didn’t matter what this woman was telling him now. It had to be impossible.

‘… having your baby.’

The words played over and over in his brain, defying logic, making no sense. He dragged in air, trying to reestablish a foothold in a day gone mad.

This was not the way he was used to operating. On a normal day it took a lot to blindside Dominic Pirelli. Many a business competitor had tried to gain an advantage over him and been unsuccessful, washed away in the wake he left behind as he forged ahead with his own plans. Many a woman had tried to tie the billionaire investor down and failed, swept aside like so many brightly coloured petals on a fast-flowing stream.

On a normal day, nothing happened in his life that he didn’t professionally desire or personally sanction.

But today had ceased being a normal day one short, cataclysmic hour ago.

When the clinic had called with the news.

A mistake, he’d first assumed.

An impossibility.

It was so many years ago and someone had clearly pulled the wrong name from its files; someone had clearly rung the wrong number. And he’d argued exactly that, only to be told that the only mistake had occurred some three months back, when the wrong embryo had somehow been put in the wrong woman. And even through the torrent of apologies, he’d still refused to believe it could be true.

And then the phone had rung a second time and a woman’s voice uttered the words that turned a horrific concept into chilling reality.

‘I’m having your baby.’

He sank heavily into his chair, wheeling it around so that he could see something—anything—other than the nightmare that consumed his thoughts and vision. But the view he knew should be there, the picture-perfect view over a glittering Sydney Harbour, the yachts and ferries zipping their way beneath the Harbour Bridge and between the park-lined shores, was lost to him in a blur of incredulity. He squeezed his eyes shut and pinched his nose so hard that fireworks shot through his closed lids, but still nowhere near hard enough to blot out the anguish or the pain.

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