Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers by Linda Sole Read Free Book Online

Book: Winners and Losers by Linda Sole Read Free Book Online
Authors: Linda Sole
    Dan looked at her warily. A little pulse was flicking at his temple and he was afraid he knew what was coming next. ‘It was down to you,’ he reminded her. ‘I told you I wasn’t free . . .’
    â€˜I’m not asking you to marry me,’ Maura said. ‘I have a son – you have a son, David; your eldest son. It was all right while I had a husband, but he ran out on me last year. I have to work long hours and it isn’t fair on David . . .’
    â€˜Are you saying he’s mine?’ Dan looked at her hard, praying that she was lying. ‘Why should I believe you? Our Danny is my eldest son.’
    â€˜Alice’s eldest,’ Maura said. ‘My son has a prior claim on you.’
    â€˜Why should I believe you? If you did have a child, why have I never heard about it before now?’
    â€˜I came here during the war to bring your handkerchief back. Your young brother told me you had gone away. I gave it to him instead.’
    â€˜Connor never told me.’ Dan’s gaze narrowed. ‘What do you want, Maura? If you are going to make trouble . . .’
    â€˜I want money – two thousand pounds should do it,’ Maura said, giving him a hard look. ‘If you pay up, that is the last you will hear of me. If not, I might have to tell your wife. Or even your son . . . do you think he would like to know he has an older brother?’
    â€˜Damn you! Breathe one word of this to either of them and I’ll—’
    â€˜Break my neck.’ She threw him a look of scorn. ‘Do you imagine you would get away with it? A dozen people have already noticed us, Dan. Just think of what you could lose.’
    Dan scowled at her. ‘Where the hell do you imagine I can get two thousand pounds from – and why the hell should I?’
    â€˜You’re the son of a rich farmer. It should be easy for you. Besides, isn’t your sister a lady or something?’
    â€˜Emily couldn’t afford to lend me that sort of money, and I can barely keep my family these days. It is impossible!’
    â€˜Well, it’s your choice,’ Maura told him. ‘Either you pay up or your wife will receive a letter in the post.’
    â€˜You’re a cold bitch! I didn’t want you. I just tried to help you out.’
    â€˜That’s not quite as I remember it,’ Maura said. ‘I should say you were pretty desperate at the time. Maybe Alice wouldn’t sleep with you . . .’
    â€˜Shut your filthy mouth or I’ll shut it for you!’
    â€˜Threats don’t scare me,’ Maura said. ‘If you lay one finger on me, I’ll make certain the whole world knows what you are, Daniel Searles. I’m not greedy. I’ll take fifteen hundred pounds but I want it soon.’
    â€˜I can’t raise that sort of money.’
    â€˜A thousand pounds is my last offer. Either I get the money within a month or . . .’ Maura smiled. ‘You know what to expect.’
    â€˜Where will I find you?’
    â€˜I shall be in touch,’ she said. ‘Enjoy the fête, Dan. I’ll see you around.’
    Daniel watched her walk away. She was a cheating, lying bitch, just like Margaret had been. He had paid his father’s second wife to stop her telling the police what Clay had done to her and it had cost him his dreams. He had almost finished paying his debts off so that he could clear his name of bankruptcy and now he was going to have to borrow money again.
    Daniel frowned as he saw Alice and Mary walking towards him. He prayed that his wife hadn’t seen him talking to Maura. She would certainly be curious if she had and he hated lying to her. He loved Alice and he’d always felt guilty about that night, but he had never entertained the possibility that he might have another child.
    Damn Maura! She was lying – she had to be. Even as he denied it, he

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