26

Balto

I sat on the couch in the living room and drank my scotch right out of the bottle. I replayed yesterday in my head over and over, imagining the way she looked with that pregnant belly. Even when another man’s baby was inside her, she was fucking stunning. Those green eyes were so unique because they expressed such powerful emotions. Those lips were sexy because they were so full. Her body was different because of the baby, but her curves gave her that glow everyone always talked about.

But she was carrying Lucian’s baby.

Not my baby.

In the end, Lucian won. His legacy would continue in the form of a son or daughter. Cassini would have to provide for that child for the rest of her life, looking into their face and seeing the man who tortured her. Knowing her, she didn’t see it that way. She would love the baby no matter what.

She had a special heart.

I continued to drink, drowning in self-loathing. I hated myself for ruining her date like that. Alessandro just wanted to protect her, and I shoved him to the ground like he deserved it. I hurt men who deserved to be hurt, not innocent people like him. It was wrong—and I knew it. But he’d better not wait for an apology.

Did I make the right decision by leaving her? When she’d found out she was pregnant, I would have been with a woman who was knocked up by some other man. Could I live with that? Raise the child of my biggest enemy? Or had I made the wrong decision, judging from how miserable I was.

There wasn’t enough scotch in the world to kill this pain.

The elevator doors opened, and my brother walked inside. “You’re drinking again…great.” He sat on the coffee table like last time and took the bottle from my hand. He took a drink and set it down. “Let me guess. You made an idiot out of yourself, then came home empty-handed.”

I gave him a thumbs-up.

“Do you ever think before you do something?”

“I could ask you the same.”

“I’m not the Skull King. And I’m not in love with a woman either.”

I took the bottle back. “She’s pregnant.”

Heath’s eyes widened at the news.

“Really pregnant.”

“Shit…and she didn’t tell you?”

“I saw her on her date and marched over there to scream at her. I almost drove away because I knew it would be wrong to bother her. But when I realized she was pregnant…I lost my temper. I knocked her date to the ground and confronted her.”

“She was on a date while she was pregnant?” he asked incredulously.

“It doesn’t surprise me. She looks just as beautiful now as she did before.”

“I don’t know about that…”

“When I got in her face, she told me it wasn’t mine…” Sadness entered my tone, disappointed that she constantly had to suffer at the hands of other men. Lucian knocked her up, and now she had to raise his baby alone.

“So, it’s Lucian’s?” he asked in surprise.

I nodded then took a drink.

“Jesus…that’s terrible.”

“I don’t know why she kept it. No one would have judged her if she didn’t want to raise her rapist’s baby.”

“She probably didn’t have the heart to do it. They say once a woman is pregnant, she becomes a mother. Maybe she already felt like a mother. Besides, the baby is still half hers.”

“Yeah…too bad it isn’t mine.”

Heath looked at me, his eyebrow raised. “You wish she were having your baby? After you said you weren’t interested in kids?”

“Having my baby would be much better than having his baby, right?”

Heath shrugged. “That’s debatable.”

I glared at him.

“What? You can’t take a joke anymore?”

“I could never take a joke.”

He chuckled. “True.” He grabbed the bottle from me and took a drink. “Now what? Cassini is officially part of the past, and you can move on. Should we hit the bar or the brothel? I prefer the brothel. Expensive pussy is the best kind of pussy.”

Now that Cassini was having someone else’s kid, there was no reason for us to be together. She still had suitors who didn’t care about her pregnancy, so she wouldn’t need me soon enough. But I was still pierced by a thousand knives, still sick to my stomach. “I’m worried about her.”

“Why would she get jealous of the whores you sleep with? She’s dating someone.”

“No, that’s not what I mean.”

He took another drink. “Then what do you mean?”

She was swollen and pregnant, and she didn’t have a man to take care of her, to carry the groceries into the house, to help her set up the crib, to protect her from burglars in the middle of the night. If anyone wanted a quick buck, she was an easy target. She was beautiful on top of that, so they might take her too. “I’m worried about her. I don’t want her to be alone.”


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