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The Consequence He Must Claim(9)

By:Dani Collins

There was no feeling like opening a door where a memory was stored and finding only an empty shelf. It was beyond frustrating. It was like being robbed and if there was one thing he hated above anything, it was a thief.

“Mr. Montero?” she prompted in his ear.

Maybe he didn’t remember sleeping with his secretary, but it didn’t mean he hadn’t.

At least his damaged brain was still agile enough to deal logically with the present situation. The only way to determine if he’d fathered a child in the mysterious missing week was to provide a blood sample.

Of course, that flash of logic did nothing to alleviate the fact that his mind was exploding with questions. Sorcha had promised—sworn with as much solemnity as a bride taking her wedding vows—that she would never sleep with him.

He had believed her. It had taken a long time for him to trust her. He didn’t give his trust easily, not since the industrial espionage that had nearly bankrupted his family. She knew enough about that to know he wouldn’t tolerate lies of any sort.

But he had wanted to sleep with her.

So had she broken her promise and slept with him? Or would this test prove she had identified the wrong man as the father of her child? Perhaps she’d left Spain because she was pregnant and for some reason didn’t want to tell the real father.

That worried him on a different level. She was a truthful person. A lie like that would only be motivated by a need to protect herself or her family. Had she been attacked or something? Was that why she’d fled?

And what was this crazy story about switching infants? This entire situation was something from a telenovela. None of it made sense, but he could begin to restore order very swiftly.

“Of course,” he managed to say. “Where do I have the results sent?”

The administrator returned to the nursery with Octavia’s husband. Something in the grim expression worn by Alessandro made Sorcha close her hands more possessively over Enrique. He had a conversation with his wife that Sorcha couldn’t quite overhear, though she looked up at the mention of her name. She also caught the name Primo. Octavia had told her Primo was the man Sorcha had seen last night, Alessandro’s cousin.

Then the administrator stole everyone’s attention.

“We have your blood types.” He glanced over a form on a clipboard, then looked up. “I’d like to give you the results, even though they’re not conclusive. Ironically, we should have labeled the boys A and B, since that is the blood type they’ve come back with.”

Sorcha listened as Alessandro and Octavia questioned the administrator, confirming their son was type B and Enrique was type A. “If Mr. Montero comes up as an A, we can rule out his fathering this baby.” The man nodded at Lorenzo.

“Did you call him?” Octavia asked, turning to look at Sorcha.

Before Sorcha could remind them all that Cesar was an A, the administrator said, “We’ve been in touch with Mr. Montero. He was heading straight to the clinic and his results should be with us shortly.”

“Wait. What? You called Cesar?” Sorcha screeched, heart dropping so hard and fast it wound up under her feet, squashed by her slippers as her rocking chair came forward.

Everyone looked at her. She’d confided in Octavia that she and Cesar weren’t together, but hadn’t admitted he didn’t even know he was a father. This was horrible.

They needed to get to the bottom of how the babies could have been switched, Sorcha knew that. But Cesar didn’t have to know about any of this!

The nursery cleared out again. Octavia’s husband left with the administrator to further the investigation. Octavia wore a frown as she rocked her sleeping baby, seeming to be trying to comfort herself.

Sorcha found herself doing the same. Warily she glanced at her mobile. She’d changed her number since leaving his company, but Cesar had messaged.

I just gave a blood sample. Why?

She could hear his coolest, sternest, tell-me-now tone in the short message.

Oh, hell, oh, hell, oh, hell. He was getting married this weekend. Should she have told him? How many times had she gone round this mulberry bush of trying to work out the lesser of all the evils? He didn’t remember what they’d done. He hadn’t called.

He didn’t care.

She looked at Enrique’s sleeping features, so endearing. Surely Cesar would fall in love as easily as she had? At least she had known her father loved her, even if he hadn’t made provisions for them after his death. What would Cesar say, though? His family was the complete opposite of hers: perfectly respectable, yet absent of warmth and the urge for attachment. Was Cesar capable of loving his son? Or would he reject both of them? That was what had kept her from calling—not wanting to face his indifference.