“Sorry. I won’t say another word. My lips are sealed.”

“I wish I could share this with Tate,” Chessy said in a wistful voice. “Not that I’m going to keep it from him. I’m not. But I just wish things were different. That he could have gone to the doctor with me. That we were still together and he met the news with joy. This isn’t ever how I envisioned getting the word that I was pregnant with my first baby.”

Joss reached across the console and curled her hand around Chessy’s. “I know it’s not the way you wanted it to happen, but a baby is a blessing and you’re going to be an awesome mom, Chessy. You can do this. We’ll take childbirth classes together. I’ll let you borrow all my pregnancy books and we can even use the same OB doctor and schedule our appointments on the same days.”

The enthusiasm in Joss’s voice was contagious. Chessy felt the first kernel of excitement since having the proverbial bomb dropped on her in the doctor’s office.

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She was going to have a baby.

No, it wasn’t the best timing in the world, but as Joss had said, a baby was a blessing no matter the circumstances. It was a piece of Tate she’d forever have. But a baby would also tie them irrevocably no matter if their marriage truly ended in divorce. What if Tate remarried? Her child would then have a stepmother in his or her life. Someone Chessy would have to accept as a parental figure. The very thought sent a shaft of pain through her heart.

A man like Tate wouldn’t have to look far for another woman. He was heart-stoppingly gorgeous, in perfect shape and he had money.

Why was jealousy gripping her at the very idea that he’d find someone else? She was the one who’d walked away. Not him. He’d spent the last weeks begging her to come back to him. But she hadn’t been able to bring herself to even face him or speak directly to him.

But now it was inevitable. Because she had to talk to him face-to-face. She had to tell him she was pregnant with his child.

TWENTY-FOUR

WITH each passing day of complete silence from Chessy, Tate grew more and more despondent. Every day meant further loss of hope. But he still had his trump card. One he’d moved on very quickly; he planned to force a confrontation between himself and Chessy so he could prove to her that she was first and foremost in his priorities.

He’d agreed to a partnership with the two other financial advisors, splitting the client load equally three ways. Effective the next day, Morgan Financial Services would become Morgan, Hogan and Letterman Financial. Or MHL.

He’d thrown everything he had into getting it lined up as quickly as possible. It wasn’t as though he was sleeping nights anyway, so he’d stayed up, working on contracts and the legalities, all the fine print of the newly formed partnership.

It was done. It would be official tomorrow but he wanted Chessy to hear it from him directly. Tonight. Before the news broke the next day. The question was how to get to her? Jensen had appointed himself her bodyguard, never allowing Tate past the doorway. Chessy wasn’t answering his texts or his voicemails. And there was a giant wall of silence between him and those who used to be his friends—Dash, Joss and Kylie. Jensen he hadn’t known for that long, but the others? He considered them his closest friends, but they’d made their choice. Not that he begrudged Chessy their friendship, but he missed them. Not only had he lost his wife but he’d also lost their friends.

His cell rang and he froze. His hands shook as he fumbled to get the phone from the holder secured to his pants. God, it was Chessy’s ringtone. She was calling him!

He swore when he couldn’t get it out right away. The very last thing he wanted was to miss her call. She may not ever call back.

“Chessy, thank God,” he said when he finally was able to answer.

“Tate?”

Her quivery voice made his blood run cold. It sounded as though she’d been crying.

“Chessy, what’s wrong?” he demanded. “Are you hurt? Tell me where you are and I’ll be right there.”

“I’m fine,” she said, though her voice was still shaking. “I wanted to know if you could meet me tonight. At our—your—house. Somewhere private.”

His thoughts scattered in a dozen different directions. Could he meet her tonight? Hell, he’d move heaven and earth to meet her any damn where she wanted. But it was the somewhere private part that bothered him. As if she had something important to tell him. Was this going to be when she told him she wanted to end their marriage and have him served with divorce papers? Or dare he hope she would agree to a reconciliation and come back home to him?

But regardless of the purpose, she’d be here. In their house where she belonged. That stood for something. Because once she walked in here, she was home. She’d be on his turf and she wouldn’t have Jensen between her and him. No, it would be just Chessy and Tate, exactly as she requested. Definitely private.

“Unless you have work stuff,” Chessy mumbled. “We can always do it another time.”

He winced but he deserved that shot. “Tonight is fine. Absolutely come to the house. I’ll cook dinner for us and we can talk. There’s a hell of a lot you don’t know about yet that will be released tomorrow but I wanted you to hear it from me first. I had fully intended to drive over to Kylie and Jensen’s and pull you out by the hair to take you back home with me so I could discuss the changes I’ve made. Changes I hope you’ll be completely on board with.”

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