Page 9 of Baby Bonanza

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“Of course you will,” Mary countered. “They wouldn’t move us and not you. That wouldn’t make any sense at all.”

Jenna just smiled. She wasn’t about to go into her past history with Nick at the moment. So there was nothing she could really say to her new friend, other than, “I’ll find out when I go downstairs to change. I’ve got a dinner appointment in about,” she checked her wristwatch, “an hour and a half. So let’s just have our drinks and you can tell me all about your new suite before I have to leave.”

Mary frowned briefly, then shrugged. “Okay, but if you haven’t been upgraded, I’m going to be really upset.”

“Don’t be.” Jenna smiled and, to distract her, asked, “Do you have a balcony?”

“Two!” Mary crowed a little, grinned like a kid on Christmas morning and said, “Joe and I are going to have dinner on one of them tonight. Out under the stars…mmm. Time for a little romance now that we’re out of the pit!”


As Mary talked about the plans she and her husband had made for a night of seduction, Jenna smiled. She wished her friend well, but as for herself, she’d tried romance and had gotten bitten in the butt for her trouble. Nope, she was through with the hearts-and-flowers thing. All she wanted now was Nick’s assurance that he would do the right thing and allow her to raise her sons the way she wanted to.

Her cabin was locked.

“What the—” Jenna slid her key card into the slot, whipped it out again and…nothing. The red light on the lock still shone as if it was taunting her. She knew it wouldn’t do any good, but still, she grabbed the door handle and twisted it hard before shaking it, as if she could somehow convince the damn thing to open for her.

But nothing changed.

She glanced over her shoulder at what had been the Curran cabin, but no help would be found there. The happy couple were comfortably ensconced in their floating palace. “Which is all fine and good for them,” Jenna muttered. “But what about me?”

Giving up, she turned around, leaned back against her closed door and looked up and down the narrow, dark corridor. This was just great. Alone in the pit. No way to call for help. She’d have to go back topside and find a ship phone.

“Perfect. Just perfect.” Her head was a little swimmy from the margaritas and her stomach was twisted in knots of expectation over the upcoming dinner with Nick, and now she couldn’t even take a shower and change clothes. “This is going so well.”

She stabbed the elevator button and when the door opened instantly, she stepped inside. The Muzak pumping through the speakers was a simply hideous orchestral rendition of “Stairway to Heaven” and didn’t do a thing to calm her down.

Jenna exited onto the Promenade Deck and was instantly swallowed by the crowd of passengers wandering around the shops. The lobby area was done in glass and wood with a skylight installed in the domed ceiling overhead that displayed a blue summer sky studded with white, puffy clouds.

But she wasn’t exactly on a sightseeing mission. She plowed through the crowd to a booth where one of Nick’s employees stood ready to help passengers with answers to their questions. The man in the red shirt and white slacks wearing a name tag that read Jeff gave Jenna a welcoming smile as he asked, “How can I help you?”

She tried not to take her frustration out on him. After all, he was trying to help. “Hi, I’m Jenna Baker, and I’m in cabin 2A on the Riviera deck and—”

“Jenna Baker?” he interrupted her quickly, frowned a little, then checked a clipboard on the desk in front of him.

“Yes,” she said, attempting to draw his attention back to her. “I just came from my cabin and my key card didn’t work, so—”

“Ms. Baker,” he said, his attitude changing from flirtatious and friendly to crisp professionalism. “There’s a notation here asking that you be escorted to the Splendor Deck.”

Where Mary’s new cabin was. So Nick had upgraded Jenna, as well? Unexpected and frankly, a relief. A suite would be much more comfortable than the closet she’d been assigned.

But…“All of my things are still in my cabin, so I really need to get in there to pack and—”

“No, ma’am,” Jeff said quickly, smiling again. “Your cabin was packed up by the staff and your luggage has already been moved. If you’ll just take that elevator—” he paused to point at a bank of elevators opposite them “—to the Splendor Deck, you’ll be met and directed to your new cabin.”

Strange. She didn’t know how she felt about someone else rooting through her things, but if it meant she could get into a shower, change clothes and get ready for her meeting with Nick, then she’d go with it. “Okay then, and, um, thanks.”

“It’s a pleasure, Ms. Baker. I hope you enjoy your stay with Falcon Cruises.”

“Uh-huh.” She waved distractedly and headed for the elevators. Not much chance of her enjoying her cruise when she was here to do battle with the King of Cruise Lines. Nope, the most she could hope for was getting out of the pit and into a nicer cabin courtesy of one Mr. Nick Falco.

When the elevator stopped on the Splendor Deck, Jenna stepped out into a wide, lushly carpeted hallway. The ceiling was tinted glass, open to the skies but dark enough to keep people from frying in direct sunlight. The walls were the color of rich cream and dotted with paintings of tropical islands, ships at sea and even simple ocean scenes with whitecaps that looked real enough to wet your fingers if you reached out to touch them.

The one thing she didn’t see was someone to tell her where to go now that she was here. But almost before that thought formed in her mind, Jenna heard the sound of footsteps hurrying toward her. She turned and buried her surprise when she recognized Teresa Hogan, Nick’s assistant.

“Jenna. It’s good to see you,” the older woman said, striding to her with long, determined steps. Her smile looked real, her sharp green eyes were warm and when she reached out a hand in welcome, Jenna was happy to take it.

“Nice to see you, too, Teresa.” They’d met during that magical week with Nick more than a year ago. Ordinarily, as just an assistant to the cruise director, Jenna never would have come into contact with the big boss’s righthand woman. But as the woman having an affair with Nick, Jenna’d met Teresa almost right away.

Teresa had been friendly enough, until the truth about Jenna being one of Nick’s employees had come out. Then the coolly efficient Teresa had drawn a line in the sand, metaphorically speaking. She chose to defend Nick and make sure Jenna never had the chance to get near him again.

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