His Mistress with Two Secrets(2)By: Dani Collins
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—
“Oh, my God,” Cinnia whispered. “I thought you were your sister.”
Cinnia had always been able to tell the twins apart quite easily. It had been surprise and a quick glance and an even quicker assumption that had made her mistake Trella for Angelique. Trella never left the compound in Spain without one of her siblings accompanying her.
Did that mean Henri was here? Cinnia looked around with alarm, only seeing the guard.
Of course—that’s why the guard seemed familiar. She’d seen her at Sus Brazos, the Sauveterre family home in Spain. This was Trella, even though there was nothing distinct to tell the women apart, Cinnia just knew by something in their demeanor. Angelique had that hint of reserve that Henri wore, while Trella had the radiance of warmth that Ramon projected.
Then it hit that not only was it odd for Trella to be out in public, with no family in sight, but she was also in a prenatal clinic.
“Oh. My. God.”
What was the normally cloistered Sauveterre twin doing in London? Holding a bottle of prenatal vitamins and looking guilty as hell? How did a woman who lived like a nun and had female guards get herself pregnant? Henri was going to lose his mind!
Trella tucked the bottle behind her back and opened her mouth, but only a weak um came out.
Cinnia’s eyes were widening to the point they stung. She was pretty sure they were going to fall right out of her head.
She watched Trella’s gaze narrow as the full scope of where they were and why penetrated her side. Cinnia’s blood pressure had been stable so far, but her limbs began to tingle and her head went so hot she felt like her hair was on fire. She was pretty sure whatever breaths she was managing to draw lost all their oxygen before hitting her lungs.
“Are you...okay?” Cinnia asked hesitantly. She didn’t know exactly what Trella had been through when she had been kidnapped, but she knew it had left her afraid of men for a long time. Afraid of a lot of things.
Trella, being an enormously resilient and self-deprecating person, let out a choke of hysterical laughter and rolled her eyes. It was a “look where I am,” and her shrug conveyed that she was dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, but not one caused by something traumatic.
“How about you?” she challenged with wry cheer, then sobered. She frowned at Cinnia’s middle. “Is it...?” She glanced around.
Henri’s. That’s what she was asking.
Cinnia’s eyes teared up. Please don’t tell him, she silently pleaded.
This was part sitcom, part Greek tragedy. Her own hysterical laugh pressed for escape, but her tight throat wouldn’t release it.
Trella straightened her spine so she was that little bit taller than Cinnia. She gave her wavy dark hair a toss.
“We’ll pretend this didn’t happen.” She was a stunning woman in her midtwenties, but she looked nine years old, hiding stolen candy and bravely pretending it wasn’t in her red-hot hand.
This was the sister Henri had told Cinnia had existed in his childhood, the brat who had driven him crazy getting herself into trouble, always needing her big brother to step in and fix it.
Cinnia wanted to hug her again. She was so proud of Trella, even if conquering her past had led to a complicated future.
And she desperately wanted to share this moment with Henri, instinctively knowing that after the shock, this sign of healing in Trella would be a much-needed bright spot.
Or not. Worrying about any Sauveterre would sit heavily on him. Taking care of his mother and sisters was as much responsibility as he was willing to shoulder. That’s why he’d drawn such a hard line against marrying and procreating.