In Christofides' Keeping

In Christofides' Keeping by Abby Green Read Free Book Online

Book: In Christofides' Keeping by Abby Green Read Free Book Online
Authors: Abby Green
as he’d thrust into her so deeply that sometimes she still woke from dreams that were disturbingly real…
    Half dizzy with shock, and a surge of very unwelcome lust, Gypsy sank down helplessly into the chair behind her. Rico Christofides just looked at her, without an atom of sympathy or concern, even though she could feel her blood draining southwards and knew she must have gone white. She was scared to stand in case she fainted. But she drew on the inner strength which had got her through years of dealing with her domineering father and stood again, albeit shakily.
    At that moment a plaintive cry came from the kitchen, and they both turned to see Lola looking from one to the other with huge grey eyes and an ominously quivering lip. Gypsy could see that she was picking up on her distress, and moved to take her up and hold her.
    With Lola securely on her hip, she looked back to Rico Christofides, slightly shocked to see a stricken look on his face. She steeled herself and said, ‘Look, please leave us be. You know now—you know where we are. I don’t want anything from you. We don’t need anything from you.’
    He dragged his eyes from Lola to her, and Gypsy felt the cold sting of his condemnation like a whip against her skin. ‘Well, I’m afraid that’s just not good enough—because I want something from you. My daughter. And, until such time as she can speak for herself, I’ll determine what she needs.’
    His effortlessly autocratic tone made chills run up and down Gypsy’s spine. It reminded her so much of her father. She instinctively pulled Lola closer. ‘I’m her mother. Anything to do with her welfare is my decision. I chose to have her on my own. I’m a single mother.’
    His eyes speared her then, and she saw a suspicious light. ‘You must have deliberately led people to believe that I’d refused to come forward to acknowledge my own daughter. Am I even mentioned on the birth certificate?’
    Gypsy blanched and recalled how she’d lied about knowing his identity when asked in the hospital. She’d reassured herself that if she hadn’t seen the news that morning she wouldn’t necessarily have realised who he was. All of this behaviour; the lying was so unlike her.
    She shook her head quickly and visibly flinched when he made a move towards her. For a second she thought he’d rip Lola out of her arms and take her away. Lola started to make sounds of distress.
    Rico stopped dead still and said, his face pale with anger, ‘ Damn you to hell, Gypsy Butler. How dare you refuse to name me as her father. You knew who I was.’
    Gypsy was trying not to shake, and to pacify Lola at the same time, keeping her voice carefully calm. ‘I was protecting her, protecting us.’
    As if aware of his daughter’s distress too, he surprised Gypsy by lowering his voice. But that didn’t make it any less angry. ‘From what ? You had no right to take that decision.’
    Gypsy couldn’t speak. How could she explain to this man that once she’d found out she was pregnant she’d known for sure that he could not be told until she was ready to deal with him?
    He was waiting for her response, for her justification. She blurted out, ‘I saw you on the news that morning.’
    He frowned.
    Gypsy went on, ‘I saw you come out of court after you’d reduced that woman to a wreck—and all because she tried to prove that her baby was yours.’
    Rico slashed a hand through the air and said curtly, ‘You know nothing of that case. I was making an example of her so that no other woman would be inclined to think they could take advantage of me in such a way.’
    Gypsy hitched up her chin. ‘So how can you blame me for not running to tell you of my pregnancy? You made it clear when you left that morning that you didn’t want to see me again, and then I saw how you dealt with a woman who claimed to be the mother of your child.’
    Rico bit back the urge to tell Gypsy that he’d regretted his hasty departure; he’d phoned the

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