Pregnant? How the hell could she be pregnant? No way. These stupid French baby tests must be wrong, or maybe her French had suddenly left her and she couldn’t read the directions, because there was no way Mandy Lachlan could be pregnant. She was barely getting her shit together. She couldn’t be responsible for someone else’s life.
She’d only known Julien a few months. How could she have been so stupid? She’d let herself get caught up in the romance of a Paris fling. Damn Julien for seducing her. And damn her for letting him.
Mandy dropped her head into her hands, tears running down her face. What was she going to do? She liked Julien, the cocky twenty-year-old who’d swaggered into her class half an hour late and expected his cute smile and the sexy flop of dirty-blond hair would excuse him. Surely his high cheekbones, baby face, and bright green eyes had gotten him out of many sticky situations. She’d kicked him out immediately.
She still wasn’t sure what had made her do it. Perhaps it was his overall attitude. Or maybe because it was her first day teaching in a foreign country and she wanted to establish herself as a tough professor. But most likely, she’d done it because she’d been so irrationally attracted to him from the minute he stepped into the classroom.
Over the past few months, that hadn’t changed at all. He’d dropped her class, and as soon as she signed the paperwork, he’d asked her out. What idiocy had caused her to say yes, she still wasn’t sure. And now here she was, alone in her apartment and wondering what in the world she was going to do. She couldn’t tell Julien they were going to have a baby. Not yet. Maybe not ever. He’d freak.
Resigning herself to breaking up with him, Mandy wrapped up the pregnancy test and hid it in the bottom of the bathroom garbage can. She wiped away the tears and took a deep breath. Maybe one day she could love Julien, but she wasn’t going to let him throw his future away because she’d been stupid enough to get pregnant. Damn those birth control pills: 99.9 percent effective, and she had to be the .1 percent, damn it.
He was young and French. He’d get over her ending their fling. Because that was all it had been. It couldn’t be any more than that. She didn’t do serious relationships. Especially not with someone eight years her junior.
Mandy was so not ready to be a mother, but she didn’t really have a choice now.
The familiar creak of her apartment door announced Julien’s arrival. Mandy gulped in air, trying to calm her stampeding heart and jangled nerves. This wasn’t the first time she’d broken up with someone. So why did the thought fill her with such dread?
,” JULIEN Chevalier called as he closed the door behind him and set the small bag of groceries on the counter. He loved that Mandy let him stay here. That she was letting him make this small Parisian apartment of hers into their home. They hadn’t been together long, but it was enough time for him to be sure. His African American goddess was the best thing to ever happen to him. He loved her. Head over heels
was the English expression. There wasn’t really an equivalent idiom en français
, except perhaps follement amoureux—crazily in love.
?” his beauty asked, emerging from the bedroom.
Julien paused to admire the sight of her coming toward him. A soft pink tank top hugged her curves, showing him a delicious expanse of ebony cleavage. If he didn’t know any better, he’d think her breasts had grown. They looked fuller and more delectable each time he caught a glimpse of them. She’d pulled her shoulder-length black hair back into a ponytail at the base of her neck, leaving the long line of dark skin from her chin to her collarbone exposed for his viewing pleasure.
She smiled, but it didn’t hold the same welcoming warmth it usually did. Mandy had astounded him from day one with her ability to live in the moment. He loved the passion she brought with her everywhere she went, both in and out of the bedroom. He would have loved to take a class with her, to see that passion in action at the Sorbonne, but one did not date one’s professor. Today the hurricane force that was his lover seemed diminished, and he wanted to know why.
As soon as he’d set his sights on seducing the hard-assed firecracker, he’d known he would have to drop her class. No one had ever proved so immune to his charms. She’d kicked him out of the lecture hall, verbally destroying him in perfectly pronounced French, with a few choice words and phrases in English. He’d fallen in love with her right then.
Julien walked across the space that separated them and wrapped his arms around his belle, Mandy. He kissed her cheek softly in greeting. “How was your day?” he asked.
It didn’t sound as if her day had gone well, but he’d learned quickly that she would tell him something when she damned well pleased and not a moment before. He could try to weasel it out of her all he wanted, but it wouldn’t do him much good. Instead, he traced small designs on the soft fabric of her shirt and kissed his way down her exposed neck.
. Well, I brought stuff home from the market to make duck à l’orange. It’ll be ready soon,” Julien said between light flicks of his tongue.
He loved the way they could switch back and forth between English and French with fluid ease. Normally they spoke a mix of Franglais, as Mandy called it.
“Okay. I’ll get out of your way. Let me know if you need anything.”
Mandy pulled away from his touch, apparently in no mood for his seduction techniques. She never remained aloof for long, but he would let her think she’d won this time, at least until dinner was over. Tonight was the night.