Renegade Millionaire

Renegade Millionaire by Kristi Gold Read Free Book Online

Book: Renegade Millionaire by Kristi Gold Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kristi Gold
knew that what he’d said was true.
    She surveyed her son’s innocent eyes, his sweet smile, and suddenly felt as though the choice had been made for her.
    Joanna raised her eyes to Rio Madrid’s, finding herself victim to his charismatic pull, as if he alone held the power to bend her will. Bend her battered heart. She could not, would not, allow that to happen.
    â€œI’ll consider your offer, but if I decide to say yes, it will be for my son.”
    Never for herself.

    S he hadn’t said yes, but she hadn’t said no either, the reason why Rio decided to broach the subject again with Joanna Blake first thing this morning, as soon as he could get away from the hospital.
    The night before she had allowed him to stay only long enough for the downstairs commotion to end with several young punks being hauled off in police cars. He’d offered to sleep on her couch, only to learn the couch was her bed. That fact hadn’t made him rescind the offer, but Joanna had adamantly refused. At least her car had started, and she’d seemed to be grateful for that. He hadn’t tried to take advantage of that gratitude by kissing her again. But he’d wanted to. He still did.
    More important, her welfare was at stake. Her stubborn pride could get her hurt, or worse. He didn’t intend to let that happen, if he could convince her to move in with him.
    He also wasn’t stupid enough to deny that he wanted her, but he wouldn’t push. Once they spent more time together, who knew what might happen? Maybe nothing. Maybe everything.
    After making his morning rounds, Rio set off for the birthing center on foot, the weather as crisp and clear as a new dollar bill. He enjoyed the walk past the small family businesses that hadn’t been taken over by hospital expansion. Enjoyed the sun on his face, the cool air filling his lungs, the prospect of seeing Joanna Blake again. On that thought, he hastened his steps until he was almost jogging for the last two of the five blocks.
    Once he reached the white brick building with the high-pitched roofline, he paused to catch his breath in front of the pillar that read, Edna P. Waterston Birthing Clinic. He wondered about Edna and figured she was probably a midwife or some rich matriarch who wanted something to remember her by. If not for Joanna Blake, he’d never step foot in a place like this. Too many sorry memories to deal with.
    Rio entered the glass door, surprised by the pleasant surroundings. The waiting room was warm and comfortable, nice blue-and-green–plaid couches, contemporary art, gleaming hardwood floors with various plants set out here and there. Soft music filtered through overhead speakers, while a few small children played in a toy-filled area under the watchful eyes of their mothers.
    He wasn’t sure what he’d pictured, but this wasn’t it. Maybe he’d expected something more outdated, a throw-back to a time and place in his past when standard medical care for pregnant women wasn’t always an option. The type of surroundings he’d witnessed as a teenager when he’d helped his mother tend to women who couldn’t afford anything but a home birth. Bad memoriesof unsterile conditions, one very sick mother, his own mother utilizing primitive training passed down to her from previous generations. One dark night when her limited skills had failed her and the young woman in her care.
    Rio pushed away the recollections and ignored the curious stares as he strode to the reception desk framed by a large opening unencumbered by glass. A young woman sitting behind the counter sent him a sunny smile. “May I help you?”
    He looked over her head and searched behind her toward the hallway to the left, attempting to see if he could spot Joanna. He wasn’t successful. “I’m looking for Ms. Blake. Is she in?”
    â€œYes, sir, she is. Do you have an appointment?”
    He considered giving

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