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Secrets in the Marriage Bed

By:Nalini Singh

Secrets in the Marriage Bed
Nalini Singh

       "What Are You Doing Here, Vicki?"



She'd never heard Caleb sound this harsh, this unwelcoming. His tone  shot her confidence to pieces. She almost turned to leave, but she was  here now. And if she could come this far, she could keep going. Their  marriage needed her effort."You walked away without letting me explain,  Caleb."

"What's there to explain?"

So much, she thought desperately. And she couldn't find the right words.  "I didn't know," she whispered. "I didn't know you thought I didn't  want you." For so long she'd controlled her response to his touch,  believing he'd be repulsed.

"Now you do." But he didn't reach out to gather her in his arms as he had so many nights in the past. He just kept his distance.





Dear Reader,Thanks for taking time out of your hectic life to pick up  and enjoy a Silhouette Desire novel. We have six outstanding reads for  you this month, beginning with the latest in our continuity series, THE  ELLIOTTS. Anna DePalo's Cause for Scandal will thrill you with a story  of a quiet twin who takes on her identical sister's persona and falls  for a dynamic hero. Look for her sister to turn the tables next month.

The fabulous Kathie DeNosky wraps up her ILLEGITIMATE HEIRS trilogy with  the not-to-be-missed Betrothed for the Baby-a compelling  engagement-of-convenience story. We welcome back Mary Lynn Baxter to  Silhouette Desire with Totally Texan, a sensual story with a Lone Star  hero to drool over. WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS … is perhaps better left there  unless you're the heroine of Katherine Garbera's Her High-Stakes  Affair-she's about to make the biggest romantic wager of all.

Also this month are two stories of complex relationships. Cathleen  Galitz's A Splendid Obsession delves into the romance between an  ex-model with a tormented past and the hero who finds her all the  inspiration he needs. And Nalini Singh's Secrets in the Marriage Bed  finds a couple on the brink of separation with a reason to fight for  their marriage thanks to a surprise pregnancy.

Here's hoping this month's selection of Silhouette Desire novels bring you all the enjoyment you crave.

Happy reading!





One



"I 'm pregnant."

Caleb Callaghan's heart rocked to a standstill. "What?""I said I'm  pregnant. Three months along-the doctor just confirmed it." Shoving her  fingers through her shoulder-length blond hair, Vicki sat down in the  chair across from his desk.

His entire mind restarted with a kick-this was the chance he'd been  waiting for, for two long months. He would not let it slip away. Rising,  he moved around the desk to kneel beside her chair. "You're carrying  our child." Wonder held him in its grip. Within the space of a few  seconds, the hell of his life had turned into heaven.

Vicki can't divorce me if she's pregnant.

As if she'd heard him, she shook her head. "It doesn't change anything." But her voice held the tiniest hint of uncertainty.

He seized the moment. No way was he going to fight fair, not when this  was the most important battle of his life. "Of course it does." He took  her fine-boned hand, delighting in once again being able to touch her.

"No."

"Yes." In the months since their separation, he'd tried everything he  could think of to win his wife back. And failed. But this, this would  not allow Vicki to so easily justify a divorce. "How can it not change  everything? That's my baby you're carrying."

Her hand tensed in his. "Don't bully me, Caleb."

Warned by her tone, he rapidly recalculated his approach. Though he had  no intention of letting her shut him out any longer, he knew that if he  pushed too hard, he might lose her. But his Victoria had always had a  soft heart. "I have a right to experience this with you. This is my  first baby, too. Maybe my last."

Emotions he had no hope of understanding flickered across her face at  the speed of light. "You want to move back in," she said, referring to  their restored villa above St. Marys Bay, not far from Auckland's city  center.

"I am moving back in." That was non-negotiable. "I'm not letting you  divorce me while our child is in your womb." That gave him six months in  which to convince her that their marriage was worth saving, that five  years of commitment shouldn't be thrown away so quickly.

She'd asked him for space when they'd separated and he'd given her that  as far as he was able-limiting himself to a phone call a day and a  couple of visits a week to ensure that she was okay. But that was all  ending as of this moment. He wanted his wife back. "This baby is a gift,  Vicki-our chance to make it. Don't throw that away."                       
       
           



       

Her eyes seemed to soften.

Standing, he tugged her up and into his embrace, her slender body a  perfect fit against his larger frame. "I'll get my stuff delivered from  the hotel this afternoon." He hated the damn place because it wasn't  home, would never be home. "We'll be all right." He'd ensure it. No  matter what, he wasn't going to lose her.

She was his everything.

Vicki let Caleb hold her and knew she was making a terrible mistake. But  God, she'd missed being in her husband's arms. For two months she'd  missed him every single day. Each time he'd invited her to lunch, each  time he'd dropped by for coffee, she'd known she should back away but  instead had always agreed. Now that dangerous pattern threatened to  continue. "You don't need to be at home to share this with me."

He loosened his hold enough that she could look up into those hazel  eyes, shades lighter than his dark brown hair. "Hell yes, I do. You want  to raise our kid like you were raised? Barely knowing his-or  her-father?"

She sucked in a breath. "You know exactly where to aim, don't you?" If  there was one thing she didn't want, it was for their child to grow up  feeling unloved by either parent.

Letting her go, he put his hands on his hips under his suit jacket. "I'm  not going to sugarcoat the truth-if you insist on this separation, it's  going to lead to divorce and eventually to a child shuttled from home  to home."

"You think it's better for our baby to grow up in the middle of a  battlefield?" She would not bring an innocent soul into the wreckage  that was their marriage right now.

"Of course not." His voice rose. "But, Vicki, you can't have it both  ways. Either you let me in and we start working on things, or you accept  the alternative."

"This is moving too fast-I need time."

"You've had two months." His jaw was set. "More than enough time."

It was nowhere near enough, she thought. They'd seen each other several  times a week during the separation but had yet to talk, really talk.  "Caleb, look at it from my point of view. I just found out I'm pregnant.  Having you back on top of that is going to be too much to cope with."

"And the longer you keep me away, the less time we'll have to fix things  before the baby arrives," he responded. "I'm not backing down on this,  so you might as well say yes."

If she hadn't already made her decision before walking into this firm  that he'd built with sheer determination, his statement might have  rubbed her raw. But though so much of him was a mystery to her, this  she'd predicted. From the second she'd discovered her pregnancy-though  she'd had every intention of trying to convince him otherwise-she'd  known that Caleb would refuse to keep his distance.

With that in mind, she'd thought long and hard about the conditions  under which she'd allow him to move back into the house. "All right."  Even as she said those words, she was regretting them-give Caleb an inch  and he'd take a mile. But this was no longer just about the two of  them.

"That's the right decision, honey," he said. "You'll see. We'll be okay."

Frowning at his tone, she started to point out that things were going to  be a little different this time around. "Look, you can move in, but-"

"Sh." He smiled and put his hand on her abdomen, startling her with the  gesture. It made her pregnancy feel real in a way that even the doctor's  announcement hadn't. "Don't want the kid to hear us arguing, do you?"

Her stomach twisted. Already, it was starting-she spoke and he didn't listen. "Caleb, I want to tell you-"

"Later." He raised his hand to push her hair off her face. "We have all the time in the world."





All his things were in the guest bedroom."What the hell is this?" Caleb  turned to find his wife standing in the bedroom doorway, arms folded and  eyes narrowed. No trace remained of the woman who'd let him hold her  only a few hours ago.

Straightening her spine, she met his challenge head-on. "This is you not  listening-you steamrolling over my objections to your moving back in  just as you steamroll over everything." There was steel in that soft  voice he was used to hearing murmur in agreement.

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