Runaway: The Sequel to Secrets, a sexy and dramatic western romance (Finding Love ~ THE OUTSIDER SERIES) (7 page)

BOOK: Runaway: The Sequel to Secrets, a sexy and dramatic western romance (Finding Love ~ THE OUTSIDER SERIES)
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Laura crossed her arms
. In a flash, absolute fury fell over her. “Andy, I already told you—” she snapped just before a sharp tap on the door at the bottom of stairs interrupted them.

“Come in
,” Andy shouted, and the door opened. Andy glanced over the railing, and Gabriel raced to the stairs and started down.

“I just wanted to come over and see how you are this morning
, if you guys need anything.” Diana came up the stairs. Jed was right behind her, carrying Danny. “Good morning, Gabriel.”

“We’re going home. Andy’s taking us home
,” Gabriel chirped excitedly to Diana.

Diana’s face flushed when she glanced at Andy with the quilt wrapped around his waist
, standing bare chested, holding his clothes.

“That’s great news
,” Jed said as he stepped around Diana, still carrying Danny, and swung Gabriel up in his other arm.

“Andy
, I have a job here,” Laura started to say, until Jed and Diana exchanged a concerned look.

“Laura
, you can’t work. You already know that. The doctor already told you you’re on bed rest until further notice. You can’t push it after what happened yesterday.”

“Laura
, the job’s here for you, but you need to listen to your doctor.” Diana was pressing her fingers into the small of her back as she stepped closer to her. “I want to talk to you for a minute.” She swept her hand toward the bed. “Sit down, Laura. Andy, could you give us a minute?”

Andy stared at Diana
. She was beautiful—and very pregnant with his cousin’s child. They had a past so filled with pain and hurt, all that emotional crap, all because of him. He wondered as he watched her whether what he felt was guilt over his part in turning her world upside down as a teen.

“I
’m going to grab a shower and get dressed.” He didn’t address Diana, speaking instead to his wife, whose head snapped up as if she couldn’t believe he was talking to her. He closed the bathroom door behind him, listening to the murmur of voices, and cranked on another chilly shower.

Chapter
10

“Why don’t you come down with me
, and you can help feed the horses? Come on, go grab your shoes.” Jed set Gabriel down, and he scurried to where the small cowboy boots Jed had given him were tossed on the floor beside his bed. “You okay with that, Laura?” Jed asked.

A
ll Laura could do was nod like a stumbling fool. Then she realized Gabriel wasn’t even dressed. “Jed, maybe I should get some clothes on him.” She started to get up, but Diana grabbed her arm and patted it.

“Sit down
, honey. The horses really don’t care what he’s wearing.” Diana inclined her head to Jed, and he took Gabriel and Danny down the stairs.

“You okay?”
Diana asked.

Laura glanced at the closed bathroom door and listened to the water running.
“I don’t know what to make of him.”

Diana too glanced at the door and back at her with deep blue eyes that didn’t
seem too concerned. “Andy has always been a hard man to read. But, Laura, you can’t keep his child from him, and I told you that before, when we filed for divorce.”


You said you agreed with me,” Laura snapped.

“Oh
, wait a minute. That’s not exactly what I said, Laura. I said I agreed with your reason to leave, not about the baby. He didn’t treat you very well, I agree, but hiding his child from him goes against everything. You need to be honest with him, too.”

“Yeah
, but he doesn’t even love me. I can’t go back to that. It just about killed me, being dismissed and treated as if I worked for him. Yesterday, he threatened to take my babies away.”

Diana reached for her hand. “Laura
, I think he cares for you more than you think, and I won’t let him take your babies away. But I have to say this: What I saw yesterday was how much Gabriel adores him. You need to talk to Andy, spend some time with him, because no man would do what he did yesterday for you if he didn’t care.”

“He cares about the babies
, Diana, but he’s in love with you. So how do you think that makes me feel?”

Diana’s eyes
widened, and she gasped as she gave a sharp glance at the bathroom door, obviously worried Andy would hear them. “You’re wrong, Laura. He doesn’t love me.” Her expression was suddenly filled with deep hurt. “We share a horrible past. Whatever his feelings are, it’s not love.”

“Diana, I’ve seen the way he looks at you when Jed
...” She pressed her lips tight as if realizing she was about to say too much.

“When Jed had his accident
, Andy was there for me. It was a bad time, Laura. Andy’s had feelings for me, and he may be confused by them. I was so deeply in love with him as a kid that I worshipped him, but we are dynamite together, in a bad way. There was a powerful hate between us, too, and I don’t really want to get into it. But it’s not love he feels for me, Laura. He couldn’t ever love me. He may have thought he wanted me, but, Laura, you need to understand, sometimes we really want something for all the wrong reasons. We pray for it and think we’ll die without it, but those unanswered prayers are the blessing. It’s when you get it that you realize it wasn’t what you wanted and is the worst thing for you. That’s me with Andy.”

“She’s right.”

Diana gasped, and Laura stared at Andy’s deep blue eyes, flecked with gray and something different that she hadn’t seen before.

“I didn’t hear the shower turn off
,” she said.

He shut the door. His damp hair was sticking up all over as if he’d just rubbed a towel through it and walked away.

“I’m going. Andy, you and Laura have a lot to work out.” Diana groaned as she stood up. “You’re going with Andy, right?” Diana waited for her to respond.

Laura
panicked for a minute because to her, it really seemed as if Diana had just thrown her to the wolves, or namely one wolf, a definite predator who she was terrified of—not from fear but from her reaction to him. He always had this hold on her, a powerful, deep wanting of him. Now, as she sat there, rumpled and frustrated, she let out a heavy sigh. She worried deep down that she was about to jump head first off a cliff, and she hoped it wasn’t a decision she’d regret. “Yes,” she replied.

Chapter
11

She really didn’t have much to load up. Andy had never unpacked their bag of clothes
the night before, and she wondered now if it was because he had planned all along to take her back to his place—the Friessen mansion, a beautiful estate that wasn’t in the least bit comfortable. A comfortable home was one she could relax in, with a few bedrooms, a cozy living room, and kitchen. Not a ten-thousand-square-foot mansion that was more like a palace filled with priceless artwork, trinkets that she always worried Gabriel would touch or break, things that were absolute useless except to show everyone how much money the Friessens had to throw away. Andy never worried about “the stuff,” as he called it. He didn’t have much use for it. After all, it belonged to Caroline, his mother.

Caroline was the
most uptight, snobbish, cruel woman Laura had ever met. The only thing Laura had been thankful for was that she’d left the estate shortly after Andy married her. Laura had overheard Jules say that Caroline had gone back to their other house in the south of France. Apparently, she preferred it there anyways, and that was just peachy with Laura because she didn’t know how she could face Andy’s parents after they treated her as if she was something dirty and smelly that they’d scraped off the bottom of her shoe when she worked there as a maid. Even after she married Andy, they treated her as if she was a nobody.

“Hey
, bud, after I get your mom settled in bed, how about I take you riding?”

Laura had been gazing out the side window of his fancy truck.
When she glanced over, Andy was grinning in the rear-view mirror at Gabriel.

“Y
eah...I want to ride horsey,” Gabriel squealed excitedly. Andy laughed.

Laura
knew she should be happy to see Gabriel so happy, but she worried this was just a passing phase for Andy. Her deep-rooted fear of being tossed out and rejected was still there. She didn’t have a clue what Andy really wanted. He said he wouldn’t take the babies from her, even though he threatened in anger that he would. If a man threatened something, would he not follow through? She was about as experienced with men as a nun, but then, a nun wouldn’t have a child out of wedlock at the ripe young age of sixteen.

“What’s wrong
, Laura?”

She shook her head. She couldn’t tell him and certainly couldn’t talk in front of Gabriel.

“You were frowning,” Andy said.

“Was I
? I didn’t realize. I was just thinking, is all.” She took a look at her son, who was in his car seat, fastened in the backseat behind Andy. He was beaming ear to ear. She faced forward just as Andy turned down the long, paved driveway that led to his estate, or rather, his parents’ estate.

Laura gripped the dashboard and felt her stomach tighten and pitch when she spied
a black limousine parked out front with the servants unloading luggage. Caroline stood in the open back door, the limousine driver holding it open for her.

Andy braked hard behind the limo. “Stay here”
was all he said to her as he hopped out. Caroline slid off her dark glasses. She was dressed in a cream-colored suit, with dark red nails and perfect makeup. Even her shoulder-length light hair appeared as if she’d just come from a salon. But then, Caroline was from old money, so she very well may have had a stylist on her payroll to appear when summoned.

Caroline reached her hand
, with long, manicured nails, up to Andy’s whiskered cheek and then yanked it away as if disgusted by the way he looked. To Laura, he looked unbelievably sexy, his short hair sticking up in spikes here and there as if she’d run her fingers through it. His third day of not shaving, wow! Andy was now walking straight for her with a scowl on his face. His mood could change with a snap of his fingers, she’d noticed, especially when his mother was around. He pulled open her door, but she made no move to get out.

“Maybe I should go back to
Diana and Jed’s.”

Andy said not a word as he reached around her and unfastened her seatbelt
, then pressed his hands to her cheeks. “No,” he said, then reached in and lifted her out. She felt poleaxed when his hands left her, and she wanted to reach back and grab him when Caroline’s eyes fixated on her swollen belly and her mouth opened and shut before she could say a word. Laura knew enough of Caroline’s moods to recognize that she was shocked by Laura’s condition. Maybe she’d have a few choice things to say to her, as well. Laura was pounded by waves and waves of inadequacy. She dropped her gaze and flushed when she realized Caroline may have been more appalled by the drab, second-hand, and very baggy overalls she wore over a faded blue cotton shirt. They were a size too big, but comfort and fitting were all she cared about at this point. She certainly couldn’t afford to go to one of those fancy schmancy maternity stores where a simple t-shirt could cost a small fortune.

“Let’s go.” Andy carried a very quiet Gabriel and looped his other arm around Laura
, urging her forward.

“Well
, this is quite a surprise. Pregnant! I guess you’ll never be rid of her now, Andy.” Caroline’s voice was laced with enough venom that Laura felt the sting as if she’d just been bitten. Laura didn’t realize she had stopped and was gawking like a fool.

“Mother
, I will remind you that Laura is my wife, and she is carrying my babies. Don’t disrespect her.” Andy’s arm tightened around Laura as he urged her up the stairs to where several of the house staff lingered at the front door, juggling all Caroline’s bags.

The distinct clickety
-click of Caroline’s heels followed directly behind them. Laura could even feel Caroline’s hatred burning into her from behind.

“Jules!”
Andy shouted as he helped Laura up the stairs with Gabriel still in his arms.

Laura didn’t miss the wide eyes on Gabriel as he stared
back over Andy’s shoulder at Caroline in fear, his tiny little hands holding on to Andy for dear life.

“Oh
, sir...” Jules hurried from the kitchen, and her eyes widened in shock as she stared at Laura. She then firmed her lips and jumped when Caroline Friessen stopped in the middle of the palatial entryway as if she was the queen showing up for the ball. Everyone seemed to stare as they climbed up the stairs.

“Jules
, I need you up here now,” Andy barked. He didn’t even try to hide his irritation.

“Yes
, sir.”

They
climbed the stairs, and someone else followed. Laura didn’t turn to see because Andy wouldn’t let her go until they reached their bedroom door, the same bedroom she’d shared with Andy every night while she lived under this roof and slept with him in his bed.

The room hadn’
t changed. The four-poster mahogany bed still filled the center of the richly decorated room, painted with the same expensive colors, gold and white. The fireplace with the white mantel, the plush chairs positioned in front just so, and the furnishings—everything was exactly the same.

BOOK: Runaway: The Sequel to Secrets, a sexy and dramatic western romance (Finding Love ~ THE OUTSIDER SERIES)
4.24Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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