The Sweetest Taboo by Brenda Jackson

 

Sonya walked into the lobby of the exclusive Saint Laurent Hotel thinking it comical that the hotel Jesse Devereau had chosen was one that belonged to a very good friend of Carla’s. Chances were he wasn’t even aware of that fact.

She strutted over to the station where a courtesy phone sat and picked it up. Moments later a hotel operator came on the line. “Could you please ring Jesse Devereau’s room? Yes, I’ll hold.”

A few minutes later the operator returned to the line and advised her that Mr. Devereau was not answering his phone. Sonya raised a brow as she glanced at her watch. It was barely eight in the morning and she wondered if perhaps he’d come down to the restaurant for breakfast and decided to check out that possibility.

Moments later she walked into the restaurant. It wasn’t hard picking out Jesse Devereau from what she remembered three years ago. Even from his side profile she could tell that time had definitely been kind to him. He was still a very good-looking man.

She frowned. He was dining with someone and wondered if perhaps he was holding a business breakfast meeting. Well, as far as she was concerned that was too friggin’ bad. Whatever business he was conducting had to wait. Carla came first.

She started toward his table. Theblondhair, blue-eyed man who was sitting withJesseDevereau looked up and gave her a smile. Fora heart-stopping moment she was tempted to smile backthendecided shedidn’twanthimtothinkshewasflirting,since she was a woman who’d never been curioustoknow if it was true blondes had more fun.

“Mr.Devereau.”

JesselookedupfromhismealandSonyaknew the moment recognition hit. Both menstood.“Ah, yes, Miss Morrison. Sonya Morrison,right?”Jesse askedgivingheroneofthosecharmingsmilesthat she rememberedso well. But the smilewasn’t working on her this morning.

“You do remember me?’she said coolly, accepting hishandshake.

“I don’t think I could forget.” He then motioned to the man also standing. “And this is my very good friend, Mike Kelly. Mike, this is Sonya Morrison.I met her father a few years ago during my last visit to Orlando, and he was gracious enough to invite me to Sonya’s birthday party while I was in town.”

“Nice meeting you, Mike,” she said, offering the other man her hand.

“Likewise, Miss Morrison.”

Sonya frowned as a sharp sensation shot through her the moment she and Mike’s hands touched. She knew he’d felt it too and appeared just as startled.

“Would you like to join us for breakfast? We’re just getting started,” Jesse asked, sitting back down to continue eating, leaving her and Mike standing, still holding hands like twodimwits.

ShequicklydroppedherhandfromMike’sand gave Jesse her full attention. “What I would likeis to haveaprivateconversationwithyouifthat’spossible.”

Jesse shookhishead. “That’s notpossibleif you’re here to discuss your best friend. If so, thenwe have nothing to talk about.”

Sonya pulled out a chair and sat down. “That’s where you’re wrong. We have a lot to talk about since I’m the one responsible for you getting that letter.”

“You’re the one who sent it?”

Sonya lifted a brow. Mike, not Jesse had asked the question. Evidently Mike Kelly was privy to Jesse’s business so she decided to answer. “No, I didn’t send that letter, but I know who did, and I feel responsible because the person who sent it got the information from someone I told. I’d promised Carla that I wouldn’t tell anyone the name of Craig’s father and I broke that promise.”

Jesse stared at Sonya, long and hard. What she’d said verified that Carla’s child was his, but hewanted to hear it from Carla. She owed him the courtesy of that. “As far as I’m concerned, it should never have been a secret. I had every right to know I had fathered a child. The least Carla could have done was be upfront with me when Iasked.”

Jesse’s words pissed Sonya off. “Carla would have told you when she first found out she was pregnant had you not lied to her that night about not being involved with someone else. She found out the truth.”

Jesse stopped chewing his food and glared at her. “Involved with someone else? If that’s what she told you, then she’s the one wholied.”

That statement angered Sonya even more. “One thing Carla doesn’t do is lie which is why your name is on Craig’s birth certificate instead of the phony name I told her to use. I know for a fact you were involved with someone when you told her you weren’t because I read it in the newspapers while on a business trip to L.A less than a couple of months later. Carla was crushed when I brought back a copy of the newspaper for her to read. She couldn’t believe you were nothing more than a gigolo and were the lover of some old wh-”

Sonya stopped, quickly remembered her audience and amended what she was about to say. “That you were the lover of some wealthy, old woman.”

Both men stared at her for the longest time and said nothing. She saw blatant anger in Jesse Devereau’s eyes and what appeared to be amusement in Mike’s, which confused her.

That confusion was cut short when Jesse stood and threw his napkin on the table. “I refuse to sit here and talk to you a minute longer, Miss Morrison. It’s Mike’s business if he wants to stay and listen to what you have to say, but personally, I’ve heard enough. Have a good day.” Without waiting for her to respond, he angrily walkedoff.

Sonya watched his retreating back until he was no longer in sight. Sighing deeply, she then turned to Mike Kelly. “Damn, he’s pretty upset, isn’t he?”

Mike Kelly laughed. For some reason he liked this woman. She had plenty of spunk. “Yes, I guess you can say that he is. He tried on two occasions to get Miss Osborne to talk to him and she refused todo so which was unfortunate. Now he intends to take drastic steps to force her to tell him what he wants to know.”

Sonya frowned and tried not to be drawn in bythe deep blue of Mike’s eyes. “By taking away her company?”

“Yes, for starters.”

Sonya sat up straight in her chair. “For starters?”

“Yes. Like you said, he’s pretty upset right now and you pretty much confirmed Miss Osborne’s child is his, so he’s angrier than before because he feelsshe should have told him. There’s no telling how farhe’ll gonow.”

Sonya instinctively reached across the table and grabbed Mike’s hand. She almost let go of it when she felt that same sizzle of awareness she’d felt earlier. “Then we have to do something.”

Mike raised a brow. “We?”

“Yes. He and Carla need to sit down and talk.”

Mike shook his head. “Like I said, Jesse tried talking to her, but Miss Osborne refused to have anything to do with him. In fact, she had him kicked off Osborne Computer Network’s property. He won’t make another attempt to see her. Instead he’ll let their attorneys battle it out and it won’t be pretty.”

Sonya sighed. “You’re his friend, Mike. Can’t you get through to him and try deflecting some of his anger?”

Mike met her gaze. “And Miss Osborne is your friend, can’t you get through to her as well?” he countered, smiling.

“I’ll try.”

“And so will I.”

Sonya returned his smile, but it faded the moment she noticed that they were still holding hands. She quickly pulled her hand back and decided it was best to address this attraction between them before he got any ideas. “Just to set the record straight, I’ve never liked vanilla.”

“It’s straight,” he said grinning at her. “Because I’ve never developed a taste for chocolate.”

She nodded and thought, good. Just so they understood eachother.