Runaway: The Sequel to Secrets, a sexy and dramatic western romance (Finding Love ~ THE OUTSIDER SERIES) (8 page)

BOOK: Runaway: The Sequel to Secrets, a sexy and dramatic western romance (Finding Love ~ THE OUTSIDER SERIES)
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S
he felt so much the country bumpkin, out of place, and wished that she was back at Diana and Jed’s in the loft above the barn.

“Jules
, Laura is on bed rest until the doctor says otherwise. I’ll need you to help out.” Andy’s hand was in the small of her back, guiding her to the bed, where he set Gabriel down, too. “Let’s just get your mom settled, and then I’ll take you out.”

Laura perched on the edge of the bed and felt all the color drain from her face when Caroline stepped into their bedroom, crossed her arms in a stance that
let Laura know she was darn well pissed.

“Anderson, I would like a word with you, now
,” she ordered. She didn’t ask, and every part of Andy hardened a little more. Laura wanted to weep. She didn’t want the attentive man who’d been with her at the loft to go away.

“Sir
, I can help Laura get settled.” Jules stepped closer, and Laura rested her hands on the bed behind her and scooted back a little further.

Gabriel grabbed hold of Andy’s arm and started whimpering
; Caroline was making him nervous. Hell, Laura had to fight the urge to grab Andy’s other arm and hide behind him. “Andy...” Her voice trembled.

S
he wondered for a moment if he knew, because he reached up and touched her cheek with his large, rough hand. It was pure instinct that had her slapping her other hand over his, holding tightly as if he were her lifeline.

“Laura
, it’s going to be okay. Jules, can you take Gabriel down to the kitchen? I’m going to get Laura settled. Mother, I’ll speak with you when I’m done.” He didn’t look at Jules or Caroline when he spoke. He held Laura’s gaze for a minute longer and then tucked her hair behind her ears, stepping back to lift Gabriel in his arms. “Hey, you, listen. You go with Jules to the kitchen because I bet you anything there is a fresh batch of cookies somewhere down there. Am I right, Jules?”

Jules appeared to consider what he said
. “I’m pretty sure Aida baked chocolate chip cookies yesterday, and I know there should be one or two left.”

Andy set Gabriel down
, and the boy took Jules’ hand.

“Excuse me
, Missus Friessen,” Jules said as she tried to scoot past.

Caroline still hadn’t moved, but she appeared irritated to have to step back and let Gabriel and Jules pass.
Apparently, she also had no intention of leaving.

Andy sighed because he too knew Caroline was hovering like a
pit bull just inside the doorway. “Come on, Laura, legs up.” He plumped a pillow behind her. “I’ll get more clothes and a nightgown for you to change into.”

He sat beside her on the bed
, resting his hip into and against her. Pressing both hands on either side of her, he leaned close. She could feel his warm breath and smell his scent, which was so appealing that she craved it. She would love nothing more than to lean in and smell him.

“Andy
, you don’t need to buy me new clothes. If you could just bring up the bag, there’s perfectly good clothes in there, and a nightgown. They fit, and I won’t be wearing them much longer, anyway.”

“Laura
, you’re my wife. I don’t want you wearing someone’s castoffs. Don’t fight me on this.”

Laura could see Caroline hovering in the doorway
, still with no intention of leaving. She wondered if the woman was listening to everything being said. Of course she was. Laura pressed her lips tightly and ducked her head, using Andy as her shield.

Andy must have known
, as he glanced back at his mother and let out an irritated growl. “I’ll be back in a minute.” His big hand brushed her leg as he slid away, and she noticed his bare fingers. It stung again as she remembered his refusal to wear a ring. To her, it was a symbol of commitment, a way to tell every damn sexy women that he was taken and to stay far away from her man, a man she’d never admit how deeply she loved.

Caroline stepped into the hallway with Andy.
“What are you doing, bringing her back here? I was told she was gone, and now she’s pregnant. Are you out of your mind?” Caroline wasn’t quiet, and at times, she didn’t care who heard her.

Even though Laura knew what kind of horrible woman she could be, it still hurt beyond belief to have anyone speak that way about
her. She couldn’t tear her eyes away from the door, and Andy noticed, as he pulled the door closed.

W
hen someone was mean and hateful to her, the best thing to do was walk away. Laura knew that, but her legs seemed to be waging war with her common sense as they slid over the side of the bed and she walked as quietly as she could to the door. She could hear voices, Andy’s deep baritone, sharp and cutting, and Caroline’s, high and shrill. She pressed her ear closer to the door.

“My
God, you know nothing about women. She’s been gone for how long, and you bring her back here? How do you even know the baby’s yours?”

Laura felt her face burn in rage
. She wanted to rip open the door and yell at the woman that she wasn’t a piece of trash.

“I am not discussing this with you. This is my business.”

Laura couldn’t make out what Caroline said next, but she heard Andy’s voice clearer, closer to the door. “I need to check on my wife. I’ll ask that you leave her alone.”

Laura started back toward the bed and nearly jumped out of her skin when the door opened.

“What are you doing out of bed?” he barked. He had his hands on her by the time she turned around.

She couldn’t lie for the life of her, and
she felt lower than a dog for eavesdropping, but Andy didn’t seem interested in waiting. He was distracted as he scooped her up again and set her on the bed.

“Stay
. I’ll grab the bag so you can change. I’ll send Jules up, as well. I’ll have her bring you something to eat and drink.”

“Andy
, I don’t want to stay. Your mother doesn’t want us here.” She was touching his arm, where she could feel his triceps tighten beneath her touch.

He surrounded her with both arms and
, for the first time, pulled her into his chest. She rested her head against the solid wall of muscle, and he tucked her head under his chin and just held her.

“I want
you to get some rest. Don’t worry about my mother; I’ll take care of her. The doctor’s coming by as well later this afternoon. Laura, believe me when I say I won’t let her hurt you and you’re staying close to me. Listen, let me get Gabriel. I promised I’d take him on the horse with me, but I’ll do it later.”

The last thing she wanted was to disappoint Gabriel. He wanted to be with Andy
, too, to go on the horse with him. She couldn’t let him down.

“No
, Andy, take Gabriel. I’ll be fine.”

He watched her intently and then slid his fingers into her hair at her scalp.
He pressed a kiss into her forehead and stood up, standing by the bed for a second, his hands on those sexy hips. “Stay in bed.”

H
e left, closing the door behind him, and for the first time, Laura felt wanted.

Chapter 12

Laura rustled on her side
, nestled in a cocoon of pillows, one behind her back and one in front of her, where she rested her knee and cuddled the goose down into her swollen belly. She stared at the shadows of the late-day sun streaming in the window across the wall by Andy’s side of the bed. She remembered all too well his touch, which had seemed so real to her. But it couldn’t have been, after all they’d been through. If she wasn’t pregnant with his babies, would he still be caring for her with this tenderness, which almost fooled her into believing he really cared about her? Did he have feelings for her? She wanted to believe she had found a way into his heart, but there were still things that unsettled her.

Dr.
Richardson had been by earlier, and she was pleased with how Laura was doing. Her blood pressure was still high, and the doctor ordered her to stay in bed. Andy had given her a new cell phone and left it beside the bed so that she could call him or Jules whenever she needed something. It wasn’t as if she could call out to anyone in a house this size, but she hated having anyone wait on her hand and foot.

Laura was thirsty
, so she slid out of bed and searched Andy’s closet for something to put on over her nightgown. She grabbed his black robe, slipped it on, and went down the stairs barefoot, holding the rail. The house was unusually quiet as she walked softly across the black and white tiled grand foyer toward the kitchen. She heard voices, a man’s and Caroline’s distinct clip coming from her dayroom.

“I want to make sure there is no problem getting those babies.”

Laura felt her breath go out of her as if someone had rammed a fist into her gut. She pressed her hand to her swollen belly and stepped back against the wall on the other side of the grandfather clock. Who was Caroline talking to? She could hear a male voice but couldn’t make it out. Was it Andy? Was he plotting with his mother to have her babies taken away?

“Look
, you are the best attorney for these matters. I want to be sure that as soon as she has the babies, they’ll be taken from her. No chance for her to see them. I want her gone, whatever you need to do to make it happen.”

Panic came out of nowhere
, and an ache ripped through her chest at the fear of having her children, her babies, taken from her. She knew she’d never survive that again. She gazed longingly at the front door from where she stood, which was maybe thirty feet away. How quickly could she get to it and start running?

Gabriel
. Oh, shit. Where was he? She needed to find him, to leave and get as far away from Andy as she could.

Footsteps echoed on the tiled floor. There was not much she could do
, so she stepped out behind the clock to where Caroline and a tall man dressed in a very expensive dark suit, with glasses and short reddish hair, stared at her. Caroline’s mouth twisted as if she was disgusted with Laura.

The man with her cleared his throat
. “Caroline, I’ll speak with you tomorrow,” he said, then stepped around Laura and left.

Caroline swept her icy gaze over Laura.
Any two-year-old with a lick of common sense could pick up her meaning and what she thought of Laura. She hated her, and that worried Laura.

“Is Andy here?” Laura asked Caroline just as she turned her back and started toward her fancy dayroom
. It had a glass desk and gleaming white and peach furnishings, a room Laura avoided mostly because of all the pristine white—she was afraid of leaving a mark anywhere.

Caroline was wearing a dusty blue
Chanel suit that hugged her every curve. She stopped but didn’t turn around as she said, “No, but I expect him shortly.” Then she walked away.

Laura didn’t know what to make of it. Okay
, so Andy wasn’t there, but had he talked to his mother about her? She needed to know. How would she ask him, and would he tell her the truth?

“What are you doing up?” Andy
had pushed open the kitchen door, where voices and clatter trailed out. She could hear Gabriel chatting away to Aida.

“I was thirsty. I came down to get water.” Laura started walking toward the kitchen and didn’t miss the way his eyes took in what she was wearing. It was a look so intimate
that a smile hinted at the side of his mouth. So he liked the fact that she was wearing his robe.

“It was all I could find to put on.” She tried to slide past him and would have expected him to step back and make room
, but he didn’t, so her legs and hips and very large belly brushed him. He didn’t appear to mind in the least. This was all very confusing for her, and she stared up at him for a minute, trying to read him, to figure him out.

“Are you okay?”
he asked and then glanced around behind him. “Something happen? You look off.”

Laura glanced into the kitchen
, where Jules and two male servers were helping Aida. Laura stepped back.


Jules, grab Laura some water bring it into the library,” Andy said as he slid his arm around her back and walked her down the hall. In the library, he sat right beside her on the leather sofa, his legs pressing into her.

Laura squeezed the soft black robe between her fingers, because what she really wanted
was to touch Andy, to touch his leg, to lean on him, but that would be a very bad idea. She was already sucked right back into loving him to the point that it was killing her inside. “Andy, did you talk to your mother about me, about the babies?”

“Yeah.
I told her we’re having twins. Did she say something to you?” He leaned closer to her, in her face, and was so close she could have touched her lips with his. She turned her head away, and he swept his fingers through her hair so she was forced to look into his steely eyes, which were so strong she doubted he’d ever had a moment in his life where he was unsure of anything.

“Your
mother had a man here. Do you know who it was?” She knew she wasn’t saying much at all, but she felt as if she had been plunked into the middle of a cat and mouse game, and she was the mouse. Even though he could lie to her and she wouldn’t have a clue whether he was telling the truth or not, she needed to ask.

BOOK: Runaway: The Sequel to Secrets, a sexy and dramatic western romance (Finding Love ~ THE OUTSIDER SERIES)
7.39Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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