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His Mistress with Two Secrets

By:DANI COLLINS


PROLOGUE

AS SHE ENTERED the clinic from the stairwell, Cinnia Whitley almost knocked the door into a woman standing inside. Cinnia murmured a distracted apology, thinking she might have seen her before, but not here. She would remember someone so tall and stiff and alert standing in that particular place.

Wait. Was she a guard? It was an odd place to hover. Maybe that’s why she seemed so familiar. After spending two years with sober-faced watchmen dogging her movements, perhaps it wasn’t the face she recognized so much as the attitude.

Because, if the woman was merely a relative waiting on a patient, there was a very comfortable lounge at the front of the clinic. The back entrance was for people like Cinnia, the paranoid ones who crept in through the building’s underground car park in hopes of keeping her visit to this prenatal specialist strictly confidential.

Cinnia didn’t bother speculating who the celebrity patient could be. She had bigger fish to fry. She was here for a scan to confirm suspicions on why she was expanding so quickly.

No, she kept thinking, absolutely refusing to entertain the most likely reason. She had a lot of work to get through in the next twenty-two weeks and had struggled to find time for another morning off for this test. If the doctor’s suspicions were correct, her entire future would have to be recalibrated.

Twins? Really? No. Multiple births weren’t even hereditary when they were identical and she thought only mothers passed along the fraternal trait. A father with an identical brother and two younger, identical twin sisters couldn’t pass that to his offspring.

Could he?

Henri did whatever he wanted. She knew that much.

She did not miss that arrogance, or him, or the life he led with guards like that one dogging his every step, she assured herself with another flick of a glance at the woman by the door.

So why did she spend her mornings combing through online gossip pages, reading every scrap she could find about him? Reading that Henri was back to his old ways of dating and dropping was pure self-destruction, but at least there wasn’t much written about that. His twin, Ramon, was stealing all the thunder, still racing and winning while doubling down with his own passionate exploits through a rotation of women who were loved and left.

The Sauveterres were a private lot, despite their domination of the media. But in her time with Henri, Cinnia had noticed that Ramon always seemed to make a splash in the papers when something was going on with the family, like he was deliberately pulling the attention.

Her breakup with Henri was two months ago. Old news by now. It must be Angelique he was trying to cover for.

The brothers were insanely protective of their younger sisters, which was understandable given Trella’s kidnapping when she was a child. Angelique was the only one seen in public these days and was becoming quite notorious, what with her affair with the Prince of Zhamair—or rather both him and the Prince of Elazar, if the online rags were to be believed.

Cinnia frowned, still thinking there was something about the photo of Angelique with the Prince of Elazar that wasn’t right. Impossibly, she had thought it was actually Trella in that photo, but Trella was a recluse. Cinnia had only met her in person a couple of times.

The nurse was on the phone and finally noticed her. Cinnia waved a greeting and tried to smile past her jumbled thoughts. Tried not to think of Henri and twins. It was too big and scary to absorb unless she was forced to.

The nurse indicated to a clerk that Cinnia was here. The clerk nodded and turned to the cabinet to pick out her file.

Cinnia loosened her scarf and started to unbutton her coat, pleased to be warm and dry when it was such a tremendously miserable day, even by London’s late-February standards.

Behind her, a door to an exam room opened, startling her into stepping out of the way and turning.

“Oh. Excuse me,” the woman said.

“My fault—” Cinnia began, then blurted, “Oh, my God!” as she recognized that model-like physique and those aristocratic features. “I was just thinking about you!”

“Cinnia!” Angelique beamed and they went in for a hug like long-lost sisters, affection squeezing Cinnia’s arms tight around the other woman, her excitement completely overriding what should have been way more caution on her part.

The reality of Cinnia’s situation hit belatedly and continued to strike in successive slaps over the next few seconds.

Cinnia felt Henri’s sister stiffen as she came up against Cinnia’s baby bump beneath the layers of her clothes.

Don’t tell him, Cinnia thought with panic.

They drew back. Cinnia knew she wore a look of horror, which was awful when she was actually happy about the baby, happy to see—

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