He stalked right up to her, grabbed her arm and spun her around. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
She wrenched herself free and gave him a glare that should have fried him on the spot. Jenna was furious and hurt and embarrassed. A dangerous combination. “That should be perfectly obvious, even to you. I’m leaving.”
“Because of the redhead?”
“What’s the matter, can’t remember her name?”
“I’ve never even met her for God’s sake,” he shouted, shoving one hand through his hair in obvious irritation, “how the hell should I know her damn name?”
“Stop swearing at me!” Jenna shouted right back. She felt as if every cell in her body was in a stranglehold. Her blood was racing, her mind was in a whirl of conflicting thoughts and emotions, and the only thing she knew for sure was she didn’t belong here. Couldn’t stay another minute. “I’m leaving and you can’t stop me.”
“Jenna, damn it, the results from the lab came in—”
Not exactly the way she’d imagined this conversation going, she told herself indignantly. Somehow she’d pictured her and Nick, reading the results together. In her mind, she’d watched as realization came over him. As he acknowledged that he was a father.
Of course, she hadn’t pictured a na**d redhead being part of the scene.
“Then you know I was telling you the truth. My work here is done.” She grabbed up her sneakers, high heels and a pair of flats and tossed them into the suitcase on top of her clothes. Sure it was messy, but she was way past caring.
“We have to talk.”
“Oh, we’ve said all we’re going to say to each other,” Jenna told him, skipping backward when he made a grab for her again. She didn’t trust herself to keep her anger fired if he touched her. “Have your lawyers contact me,” she snapped and marched into the connecting bathroom to gather up the toiletries she had scattered across the counter.
“Damn it,” Nick said, his voice as tight as the tension coiled inside her. “I just found out I’m a father, for God’s sake. I need a minute here. If you’ll calm down, we can discuss this—”
“Shouldn’t you be down the hall with Miss Ready-And-Willing?” Jenna inquired too sweetly as she pushed past him, her things in the crook of her arm.
He shook his head. “She’s getting dressed and getting out,” he said, grabbing Jenna’s arm again to yank her around to face him.
God help her, her body still reacted to his hands on her. Despite everything, she felt the heat, the swell of passion rising inside to mingle with the fury swamping her, and Jenna was sure this wasn’t a good thing. She had to get out.
But Nick only tightened his grip. “I didn’t invite her. She bribed a maid.”
She swallowed hard, lowered her gaze to his hands on her arms and said, “You’re hurting me.” He wasn’t, but her statement was enough to make him release her.
“It’s a wonder the woman had to bribe anyone. I’m sure the maids are used to letting na**d women into your suite. Pretty much a revolving door around here, isn’t it?”
“Nobody gets into my suite unless I approve it, which I didn’t in this case,” Nick added quickly. “And I hope for the maid’s sake that it was a good bribe, because it just cost her her job.”
“Oh, that’s nice,” Jenna said as she turned to zip her suitcase closed. “Fire a maid because you’re the horniest male on the face of the planet.”
Jenna straightened up, folded her arms across her chest and tapped the toe of her sandal against the floor as she glared up at him. “Everyone on this ship knows what a player you are, Nick. Probably wasn’t a big surprise to the maid that a woman wanted into your suite and for all she knew, you did want her here.”
He glared right back at her. “My life is my business.”
“You’re right it is.” She grabbed the handle of her suitcase and slid it off the bed. Jenna didn’t even care if she’d left something behind. She couldn’t stay here a second longer. She had to get away from Nick, off this ship and back to the world that made sense. The world where she was wanted. Needed.
“And I don’t owe you an explanation for anything,” he pointed out unnecessarily.
“No, you don’t. Just as you don’t have to fire a maid because she assumed it was business as usual around here.” Jenna shook her head, looked him up and down, then fixed her gaze on his. “But you do what you want to, Nick. You always do. Blame the maid. Someone who works hard for a living. Fire her. Make yourself feel better. Just don’t expect me to hang around to watch.”
“Damn it, Jenna, I’m not letting you walk out.” He moved in closer and she felt the heat of his body reaching out for her. “I want to know about my sons. I want to talk about what we’re going to do now.”
Tightening her grip on the suitcase handle, Jenna swung her hair back behind her shoulders and said softly, “What we’re going to do now is go back to our lives. Contact your lawyer, set up child support. I’ll send you pictures of the boys. I’ll keep you informed of what’s happening with them.”
“It’s not enough,” he muttered, his voice low and deep and hard.
“It’ll have to be, because it’s all I can give you.” Jenna walked past him, headed for the living room and the purse she’d left on a sofa. But she stopped in the doorway and turned for one last look at him.
Diffused sunlight speared through the bank of windows and made his dark hair shine. His eyes were shadowed and filled with emotions she couldn’t read, and his tall, leanly muscled body was taut with a fury that was nearly tangible.
Everything in her ached for him.
But she’d just have to learn to live with disappointment.
Jenna was gone.
So was the redhead.
And he didn’t fire the maid.
Nick hated like hell that Jenna had been right about that, but how could he fire some woman when everyone on the damn ship knew he had women coming and going all the time? Instead, he’d had Teresa demote the maid to the lower decks and instructed her to make it clear that if the woman ever took another bribe from a guest, she’d be out on her ass.
Sitting at the desk in his office, he turned his chair so that he faced the sprawl of the sea. He wasn’t seeing the last of the day’s sunlight splashing on the water like fistfuls of diamonds spread across its surface. He didn’t notice the wash of brilliant reds and violets as sunset painted a mural across the sky. Instead his mind continued to present him with that last look he’d had of Jenna. Standing in the open doorway of her bedroom, suitcase in her hand, wearing an expression that was a combination of regret and disappointment.