Proud Revenge, Passionate Wedlock

By: Janette Kenny
Proud Revenge, Passionate Wedlock By Janette Kenny


~ DARK NIGHTS WITH A BILLIONAIRE ~





CHAPTER ONE




ALLEGRA got a white-knuckled grip on the knob and forced her hand to open the door on the past she’d dreaded visiting again. Until one month ago, she’d remembered nothing of the previous five months.

Much of it was still shrouded in shadow. But the memories that were clear nearly killed her.

Her precious baby was dead. The husband she’d loved beyond words hadn’t inquired about her health since the accident.

It was as if she’d died that day. God knows she’d wished she had after she’d realized she was to blame for the accident.

“Miguel doesn’t deserve you,” her uncle had told her more times than she could recall. “Divorce him.”

The thought of dissolving her marriage sickened her, but she couldn’t move forward with her life if she was bound in an estranged marriage. No, she needed closure.

She had to come to grips with her daughter’s death. She had to sever all ties to the life that had held such promise in Cancún. And she had to do it here where it had begun.

Allegra drew in a shaky breath and stepped into the beach house where her love with Miguel had begun. She’d steeled herself to be greeted with an onslaught of cherished and troubled memories, but she was totally unprepared to cope with this soft whispering sense that she’d just come home after a long, arduous journey.

The rightness of being here played over and over in her mind as she stood on the threshold a moment and tried to slow her racing heart. It was useless, for her nerves were tied in tight apprehensive knots.

Run, her mind screamed. Run back to England and the promise of a safe, quiet life there. Run away from the tempting vibrancy that made her feel alive for the first time in months.

Determined to face the past head-on, she walked into the sala as she had countless times before. The spun-gold sunlight that streamed through the bank of windows to dance over the pasta tiles seemed far too welcoming for a place that should still be deep in mourning.

She’d notified the housekeeper of her return, and that kind woman must have hurried to tidy the place. She’d even left the windows open to air the house out.

It looked as if Allegra had stepped out for a day of shopping and had just returned. If only that were true—

“Señora, where would you like me to place your luggage?” her driver asked her.

“In the upstairs bedroom facing the sea, please.”

Allegra was unwilling to step foot in the master bedroom this soon. Besides sleep had been a stranger to her of late. And the memories made in that room were better left undisturbed.

As if she could ever forget Miguel.

The driver toted her bags upstairs and was back in a heartbeat, hand extended. Allegra paid him for the fare from the airport, plus a generous tip.

“Gracias, señora,” he said, smiling broadly in a gracious manner she’d once taken for granted.

She’d taken so much for granted. What was it they said? You never appreciated what you had until it was gone?

The heavy ache of loss washed over her like the incoming tide, threatening to erode her moorings. The doctor’s warning that she wasn’t strong enough to go through with this rocked her shaky confidence.

She hated the uncertainty. Hated the black void still there in her memory.

Allegra swallowed the impulsive request that the departing driver return her to the airport. She closed and locked the door, then pressed her forehead against the cool wood until her breathing steadied. Leaving would solve nothing.

Closure. She had to shut the door on the past and walk away a new woman.

She had to find peace of mind. She could think of no better place than her beach house.

Allegra turned toward the shady palapa where she’d relished taking her afternoon tea and drank in the tranquil sights that she’d fallen in love with when she came here two years ago. Gentle steps led down to the expanse of white sand that would be warm underfoot.

If she closed her eyes she could see herself the day she moved into this house. She’d hurried into her bikini and dashed down to the private beach. The water was warm and clear, and the gentle breeze was a sensuous massage on her skin.

England had been a world away, and she’d promised herself she’d partake of every delight the Yucatán had to offer while she made the biggest decision of her life—should she marry the very proper English doctor that she’d dated for over one year?

She liked him. She loved him in a way. But she wasn’t sure of making that final commitment.

That was when Miguel had risen out of the surf like a pagan god, his bronzed body long and lean, his smile slow and sensuous, his eyes promising her pleasures she’d barely tasted.

She shook her head and smiled at that memory. She’d been sure Miguel was a beach bum. How wrong she’d been.

Even after all that had gone wrong, she remembered well how he’d wrap his arms and legs around her, holding her so close after they made love that she believed they were one. She’d been helplessly naive. Hopelessly in love.

She’d known whatever happened here, she’d never be able to marry her doctor.