Reclaiming His Bride
Reclaiming His Bride
- Purchase the E-Book Instantly
- Receive Download Link via Email
- Send to Preferred E-Reader and Enjoy.
- Secret Marriage
- Matchmaking Father
- Unexpected Family
- Office Romance
- Secret Pregnancy
- Second Chance Romance
Secrets rule Lana’s life.
Her father’s death brought some out into the open, but she has a couple of her own:
1) she’s been married to Blake for nearly a year—and trying to get a divorce for most of that time.
2) A moment of emotional weakness and too much champagne ended with her in her husband’s arms—and now she’s pregnant. Blake hasn’t thought of another woman since they first met, though she believes otherwise.
When Lana’s hotel-magnate father offers him the job of regional manager—and an office in the hotel Lana would be managing, Blake jumps at it. Keeping her attention when it’s split between her sisters, the ins and outs of running a resort, and the ‘ghost’ who’s been haunting the building isn’t easy. Learning about the baby convinces him to redouble his efforts though—he isn’t going to give up without a fight, and when someone comes after Lana, the stakes are raised again.
Intro into Chapter One
Intro into Chapter One
What am I doing here? Lantana smiled blindly over the table at Jeremy, the cute photographer contracted for events at their resort. His best friend, Vince, sat beside him, with his fiancée—Lana’s sister Cami—snuggled at his side. The air was relaxed, the food good and the conversation friendly, but she couldn’t help kicking herself for agreeing to join them. It was late September, the hotel had only been open three weeks, and she needed some time alone.
“What have we here?” Blake Bahlmann’s voice cut through the noise and it was all Lana could do not to cringe. Now she was in for it.
“Hey, Blake, come join us,” Cami offered, gesturing to a chair.
Lana carefully avoided meeting his gaze, but she could tell from his stance, hands in the pockets of his jeans, that he was unhappy. She told herself he had no right to be—but it wasn’t really true. They were still married. Technically. This hadn’t been intended as a double date—Cami had invited all of the sisters to join them that night, but somehow the other four had begged off or changed their minds as the evening progressed. And one of Vince’s best friends had backed out, leaving a very awkward, totally unintended, pseudo-date situation. The fact that Jeremy seemed no more interested in her than she was in him was irrelevant.
“I’m afraid I can’t right now. I’m the on-call manager at the hotel tonight and only popped in to pick up my order,” Blake explained. “I’d like a quick chat with Lana, though.”
She swallowed and smiled in his direction, though she avoided meeting his gaze. “I’m sure it can wait until morning.”
He grabbed her hand, which had been sitting on the table top. “No, I’m afraid it can’t.”
She looked back at her companions and widened the smile, hoping it didn’t look like a grimace. “We’ll only be a minute. Excuse me.” She rose and allowed him to pull her across the room to a quiet corner near the door.
When he rounded on her, his pale blue eyes were as cold as a Nordic winter. “You’re on a date?”
She wanted to tell him it was none of his business—she even opened her mouth to do so when good sense kicked in. “I know what it looks like, but you’re wrong. It was supposed to be a big group, but somehow it ended up being just the four of us. Nothing’s going on. Unlike some people I know, I consider marriage to be sacred. If you’d sign the divorce papers, I’d be able to move on.” Not that she was interested in getting involved with anyone again after the way he’d broken her heart and trampled on her fragile trust.
The muscle along his jaw ticked. “You know what I want.”
“Not going to happen.” No way was she giving him another chance. She wasn’t stupid enough to put her heart on the line a second time, even if her fingers itched to brush away the lock of hair that fell over his forehead. She could smell his musky cologne mixed with the spicy Italian scent of the pizzeria and again felt the pain of his betrayal.
He crossed his arms over his broad chest, dark brows rising. “Your call. But until it’s official, you’re not dating someone else.”
She wanted to rip out her hair. “It’s not a date. It’s a group of friends—”
“Who happen to form two couples,” he interrupted. “Spare me.”
“Hey, Pot, Kettle’s calling.” He had a lot of nerve to think he had any right to lay into her for a pizza with friends.
His lips thinned and his eyes grew dangerous before his shoulders loosened. “And that wasn’t what you thought it was, either.”
“Right. Sorry, but I got a better visual of your interlude than you think.” When the pain of seeing him with another woman tried to get past her protective walls, she forced all thoughts of that day away.
“I don’t know how you could have, since nothing happened.” He waited a few beats, and his tone softened a little, though the earnestness of his gaze filled his voice. “I would never cheat on you.”
“Funny how I’ve heard that before.” She held up her hands to stop his rebuttal. This was an old argument and she wasn’t having it tonight. “Forget it. Sorry I brought it up. I’ll be more careful next time Cami invites me to go out with them.”
He shook his head. “Not good enough.”
She drilled a finger into his chest. Fury roared through her. “You don’t get to dictate to me.” She was going to make some comment about how he wasn’t her boss, but caught herself in time, since he sort of was—at least at the hotel.
He grabbed her hand and held on tight enough she couldn’t get it out of his grip, but not hard enough to hurt her. “If you go back in there and sit down, I’m telling everyone about us. I don’t know why we didn’t do it ages ago.”
Lana sucked a breath through clenched teeth. “Fine. Let me get my purse and make my excuses.” She yanked on her wrist, but he didn’t release it.
His face softened and his voice dropped several degrees, turning velvety. “I want another chance with you, Lana.”
Several emotions rolled through her: grief and longing topping the list. “I’m not my mom. I’m not going to look the other way.”
He released her wrist and held out both hands. “Look all you want. I have nothing to hide, baby.” His voice was low and had the silky Southern edge that always made her go soft when he used his favorite endearment.
Furious that he was starting to get to her, and that he would call her baby, she whirled around and returned to the table. By the time she got there, she’d managed to get her expression calmed to apologetic even though she was still steaming inside. “I’m sorry. Something’s come up back at the hotel. I’ll have to catch up with you guys another time.” She included all of them in her words, ending with Jeremy. “It was good to meet you again. I hope we get another chance to talk.”
“Same here. I hope you’re able to straighten things out quickly.” His smile was friendly, but not particularly concerned or upset. He was a nice enough guy, but even if there had been no Blake in her past or present, she and Jeremy never would have clicked.
“Thanks.” She flashed him one of her best smiles, then collecting her purse, said goodnight and headed back for the door.
Blake was still standing there—this time with his takeout container—tall, suave and infuriating.
“You didn’t have to wait for me,” she snapped as soon as he’d followed her out the door.
He put a warm hand onto the small of her back. “Verisimilitude, baby.”
“Don’t call me baby.” Deciding he had a point, though, about making it look like a real work emergency, when she got onto the road, she headed for the hotel to check things out.
A quick walk through the public areas of the hotel proved all was well with the wedding clean up, the restaurant, bar and spa. She veered back through the entry and then went up to her office. There was always a pile of work to do, so she’d take an hour or so to clear some of it out before returning home for the night.
Blake sat in front of the television in his suite, letting the news fill the silence as he tried to focus on sales forecasts for the Portland resort. Instead he kept seeing Lana sitting at the table with her sister, Vince and Jeremy. Why had he reacted like that? Did he really think she would start chasing someone else? Jeremy knew Blake and Lana had something going on—though no one knew the particulars. Except Alex, but as Lana’s father’s executor, he seemed to know more about everyone than any of them would have liked.
Like the fact that Blake was married to Lana.
He wished he hadn’t let her convince him to keep their elopement to themselves. It was only supposed to be for a few days—a week at the most—but after their breakup neither had mentioned it to their families. He didn’t think even Cami knew about them.
Which brought him right back to Lana again, and their defunct relationship. Did he really think she would listen to him if he acted like some Neanderthal?
He pushed away the laptop and stood, crossing the room to his minifridge for a soda, though what he really wanted was a shot of whiskey, but he was on call tonight.
His eyes drifted to the wall safe and he thought of what was in it, then forced himself to look away—it would only remind him of what he’d lost. He thought of the hurt and anger in Lana’s eyes after he pulled her away from dinner, and felt that familiar tug of guilt. Damn it, he’d overreacted.
Popping the top, he took a fortifying swig of his soda and set it on the counter before heading for her office. She might not be there anymore, but if she was, he better apologize.