His gaze scrutinized her face with a gentle concern

“His gaze scrutinized her face with a gentle concern Grace refused to believe was real. “I’m fine.” Her lips pursed in irritation. It was one thing knowing he was living in Whitaker Falls and having to deal with the possibility of seeing him in town, but it was another for him to think he could drop by her place uninvited. “What are you doing here?”

Her demand didn’t seem to faze him. “Considering where we left off last time, I think we have unfinished business to take care of. I gave you time to cool off, so the sooner we get this conversation over with, the better.”

She opted for a short and simple response. “I have nothing to say to you, so leave.”

Anticipating her next move, he wedged his booted foot into the jamb, effectively stopping the door from shutting in his face. His large hand clamped around the frame, and she knew it wouldn’t take much effort for him to push his way into her cottage.

“I’m not leaving until we talk, Grace.” He sounded firm and too determined.

“Then talk,” she said through the three inch of space separating them.

“Without the door between us.” Annoyance touched his deep voice.

Suspecting Ford possessed a tenacity to match all that self-assurance he’d developed over the years, she reluctantly let him into her living room. Closing the door, she headed toward the kitchen, needing something cool to drink to offset the heat prickling along her skin.

He followed, watching her as she retrieved a tall glass from the cupboard and filled it with iced tea from the refrigerator. “I’m waiting,” she said impatiently.

Coming up beside her, he grabbed his own glass and took the pitcher from her before she could put it away, pouring himself his own drink. She frowned at him, but he ignored her as he drained the liquid, then refilled his glass a second time.

He leaned a hip against the tiled kitchen counter, looking thoroughly masculine and as though he belonged in her cottage. His gaze swept over her, slow and searching. “So what’s this about you not feeling well?”

She wasn’t mentally or emotionally ready to spring the truth on him, not when she hadn’t yet had a chance to get used to the reality of her being pregnant. “I’ve had the flu, so don’t get too close.” She curled the corner of her lip, daring him to ignore her warning so she could take great pleasure in infecting him—if only her illness was contagious!

He laughed, low and husky. “You should know by now that I’m not afraid to swap germs with you.”

His confidence astounded her, and worried her. Something in her stomach unfurled—not a bout of nausea, but a sensual rippling of awareness she couldn’t restrain. Was she forever doomed to be attracted to this man despite everything he’d done to deceive her?

When it became clear that she wasn’t going to take his bait, he set his empty glass next to the sink, growing serious. “I was really hoping the past few weeks would have made you see a little bit of reason.”

She gaped at him. “How can I reason the fact that you deceived me?”

Regret clouded his handsome features. “I omitted a few things, true-”

“Just the teensy-weensy fact that the huge, sprawling house out at Cutter Creek is yours, and you’ll be living in Whitaker Falls.” She snapped her fingers, as if remembering a few more points. “Oh, not to mention that you’re wealthy, successful, and you own your own company now.”

His jaw hardened, and he pushed his fingers through his thick hair in a frustrated gesture, saying nothing. His expression grew hard, impenetrable, and defensive.

Grace took a drink of her tea, trying to calm the riot of confusion weaving through her. What they’d shared a month ago had been honest and real on her part, but she didn’t know what to believe of Ford’s intentions, could only remember his lies, and that awful sense of betrayal she’d felt upon learning the truth of who he was now. She couldn’t help but ponder what else he might be hiding behind that reserved expression of his.”