The Heiress's Secret Baby

By: Jessica Gilmore

Polly nodded curtly at her still-hovering assistant. Things had obviously got slack under Raff’s reign. She hoped it wouldn’t take too long to get things back on track—or to get herself back on track; no more lie-ins, long walks on beaches where the sand was so fine it felt like silk underfoot, no more swimming in balmy seas or drinking rum cocktails under the light of so many stars it was like being in an alternate universe.

No. She was back to work, routine and normality, which was great. A girl couldn’t relax for ever, right?

Slowly Polly turned the chrome handle and opened her office door, relishing the cool polished feel of the metal under her hand. Like much of the interior throughout the store the door handle was one of the original art deco fittings chosen by her great-grandfather back in the nineteen twenties. His legacy lived on in every fitting and fixture. She loved the weight of history that fell onto her shoulders as soon as she walked into the building. Her name, her blood, her legacy.

She stood on the threshold for a second and breathed in. It was finally hers. Everything she had worked for, everything she had dreamed of—this was her office, her store, her way.

And yet it had all felt so unachievable just three months ago. Despite four years as vice CEO and the last of those years as acting CEO while her grandfather stood back from the company he loved as fiercely as Polly herself did, she had walked away. After her grandfather had told her he was finally stepping down and installing Polly’s twin brother Raff in his place she had dropped her swipe card on the desk, collected her bag and walked out.

The next day she had been on a plane to South America. She had left her home, her cat and her company—and replaced them with a frivolous bucket list.

Three months later that memory still had the power to wind her.

But here she was, back at the helm and nothing and no one was going to stand in her way.

The relief at seeing her office unchanged swept over her; the sunshine streaming in through the stained-glass floor-to-ceiling windows highlighting the wood panelling, tiled floors and her beautiful walnut desk—the very same one commissioned by her great-grandfather for this room in nineteen twenty-five—the bookshelves and photos, her chaise longue, her...

Hang on. Her eyes skittered back; that hadn’t been there before.

Or rather he hadn’t.

Nope, Polly was pretty sure she would have remembered if she’d left a half-naked sleeping beauty on her antique chaise longue when she’d stormed out.

Frankly, the mood she’d been in, she probably would have taken him with her.

She moved a little closer, uncomfortably aware of her heels tapping on the tiled floor, and contemplated the newest addition to her office.

He was lying on his front, his arm pillowing his head, just the curve of a sharply defined cheekbone and a shock of dark hair falling over his forehead visible. His jeans were snug, low, riding deep on his back exposing every vertebrae on his naked torso.

It was a tanned torso, a deep olive, and although slim, almost to the point of leanness, every muscle was clearly defined. On his lower back a tree blossomed, a silhouette whose branches reached up to his middle vertebrae. Polly fought an urge to reach out and trace one of the narrow lines with her fingers. She didn’t normally like tattoos but this one was oddly beautiful, almost mesmerising in its intricacy.

What was she doing? She shouldn’t be standing here admiring the interloper. He needed to wake up and get out. No matter how peaceful he looked.

Polly coughed, a short, polite noise. It was as effectual as an umbrella in a hurricane. She coughed again, louder, more irritated.

He didn’t even stir.

‘Excuse me.’ Her voice was soft, polite. Polly shook her head in disgust; this was her office. Why was she the one pussyfooting around? ‘Excuse me!’

This time there was some effect, just a little; a faint murmur and a shift in his position as he rolled onto his side. She couldn’t help flickering a quick glance along the lean length. Yep, the front matched the back, a smattering of fine dark hair tangled on his upper chest, another silky patch emphasising the muscles on his abdomen before tapering into a line that ran down inside the low-slung jeans.

Polly swallowed, her mouth suddenly in need of some kind of moisture. No, she scolded herself, tearing her eyes away, heat flushing through her. Just because he was in her office she didn’t have the right to stand here and objectify him. She gave the room a quick once-over relieved that no one was there to witness her behaviour; she was the CEO for goodness’ sake, she had to set an example.

This had gone on long enough. This was a place of business, not a doss house for disreputable if attractive young men to slumber in, or a hidey-hole for her PA’s latest boyfriend. Whoever he was she was going to have to shake him awake. Right now.

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