The Millionaire's Unexpected Proposal

By: Jane Peden

Chapter Two

“What do you think you’re doing?” Camilla tried to pull her arm away, but Sam kept a firm grip, steering her away from the entrance to the hotel dining room and toward the main entrance.

“Taking you someplace where we can discuss this privately.”

“I don’t want to be alone with you right now.”

“I’m sure you don’t.” He handed the valet his claim check and a folded bill. “The black BMW convertible. M6. Now.”

“Yes, sir,” the kid said, sprinting ahead of the other valets.

“I have to get back to JD soon.”

Sam didn’t answer. He had plenty to say to her, but it could—it would—wait until they were alone.

The sleek sports car whipped up the drive in front of the hotel, and the valet rushed out to open the door for Camilla.

Once they were out on the highway, Sam opened it up, speeding along the coastline. He left the hardtop up, although he was tempted to see what she’d look like with the top down, the wind whipping through her hair. He reminded himself this wasn’t a joyride. He couldn’t wrap his mind around the thought that he had a son.

“Where are you taking me?”

He glanced over at her. Her fists were clenched on her lap, her body rigid. “Does it matter?”

He punched the gas and the accelerator crept up higher.

“Could you slow down, please? You’re going to get us killed.”

“Hardly.” But he saw her face was white and let up on the accelerator.

He pulled off the highway into a parking lot at the beach. There were few cars this time of evening, and the sky was already darkening over the Atlantic.

“All right,” he said. “Talk.”

Now that the moment was finally here, she wasn’t sure what to say. How could she explain why she’d kept JD’s birth a secret all these years, and then chose to end that silence and show up at his office? And it didn’t help that he was looking at her with restrained fury in his eyes.

“I’m not sure where to begin.” She heard the slight tremor in her own voice and steeled herself. She’d done what she had to do.

“You could begin with why you have a child who looks to be about four years old and looks an awful lot like me when I was that age.” Every word was deliberate, cold.

This would have been so much easier if they were having a civilized discussion over dinner, like she’d suggested. Instead of sitting in a car in a deserted parking lot at the beach, the sky darkening over the unrelenting waves that advanced on the shoreline and then receded. The sudden annoyance she felt at the way he’d taken control of the situation steadied her voice.

“I didn’t mean to tell you like this. That’s why I wanted to meet you at the restaurant. I don’t know how you found out what room we’re in.”

When he didn’t answer, she sighed. “I got pregnant when we were in Las Vegas.”

“That much is obvious. What isn’t obvious is why I never heard from you until now.”

She looked over at him in surprise. “You’re the one who didn’t want to hear from me. Obviously you didn’t want me to disrupt you career just when it was taking off.”

“That’s bullshit, Camilla.” His voice was calm, controlled, and because of it, even more terrifying than if he’d shouted at her. “It’s more likely you didn’t want to disrupt your own life, including your marriage plans. Did your husband even know he was playing daddy to another man’s bastard?”

She blanched. “I can’t believe you’d use such a word to describe your own son.”

“Well that’s just it, Camilla. Up until about an hour ago I didn’t have a son. Whose fault is that?”

“Look, I know you’re angry—”

Sam just looked at her, his face a picture of icy control. “Angry doesn’t even begin to describe it.”

He tapped his fingers on the dashboard.

“So, tell me, Camilla, why contact me now? If that’s my son—and it seems obvious he is—I’ll support him. But what gave you the idea I’d marry you?”

“My husband died recently. And I don’t…get along with my in-laws. They’ve threatened to take JD away from me.” Camilla knew there was no legitimate way they could take away her child. She certainly wasn’t an unfit mother. But with the kind of power and influence the Winthrop family wielded, she couldn’t risk a legal battle for custody. These were people who wouldn’t hesitate to make up lies about her and twist the system to their own ends.

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