Home > A Husband's Regret (Unwanted #2)(5)

A Husband's Regret (Unwanted #2)(5)
Natasha Anders

“I’m sorry, Bronwyn,” Katrina spoke uncertainly from the doorway, unnerved by Bryce’s direct stare. “When you were late I called the restaurant and they told me what had happened. I spoke to the doctor before bringing her here, and he said that you weren’t contagious. I have a date . . . and I thought . . .”

“You thought that you’d leave a little girl in hospital with her sick mother?” Bryce completed incredulously.

“Well . . .” The woman looked uncomfortable, and Bryce veered his furious gaze back to Bronwyn, who had her forehead resting on Kayla’s as she and her daughter communed without words. It was such a striking picture that he paused for an instant before launching an immediate attack.

“This is the type of irresponsible people you entrust our daughter’s care to?” Katrina’s eyes widened at his revealing words, and Bryce turned to face the young woman again, ignoring the surprised expression on her face. “Thank you, miss. Your services will no longer be required. Rick, please give the young lady whatever money is owed to her.”

“I can pay my own babysitter,” Bronwyn hissed furiously, but he kept his back to her, ignoring her, while Rick led Katrina out of the room. He turned to face her, and she repeated her claim. “I can pay my own babysitter, damn you!”

“Seeing that you have just lost your low-paying job, I don’t think that you’re in any position to be stubborn on this issue, Bronwyn.” Kayla was glaring up at Bryce furiously, and her scowling little face immediately distracted him.

“Hey there, angel.” His voice gentled as he crouched down beside the bed to meet her eyes. “Why so cross?”

“Mummy sleep,” she admonished. “Shhh!” He blinked for a startled instant, before lifting his gaze to Bronwyn’s shadowed eyes.

“It appears that our daughter has a lot more common sense than either of us does.” He smiled fondly down at the toddler, who was lovingly stroking her mother’s hair. “You’re in no condition to argue, Bronwyn. Just do as I say.” She gasped at his nerve and was about to protest when he hunkered down in front of Kayla again.

“Hi, sweetheart, do you know who I am?” His eyes were trained on Kayla’s perfect little features; she was an enchanting combination of both parents. She had his eyes . . . blue eyes so pale that they sometimes looked almost gray.

“Man,” Kayla responded shyly before popping her thumb into her mouth and laying her head on her mother’s chest.

“That’s right.” He nodded. Rick reentered the room silently, and Kayla dragged her thumb out of her mouth long enough to point at him.

“Man,” she informed helpfully, and Bryce swiveled his head, caught sight of his brother, and nodded with a grin.

“That’s your Uncle Rick.” Rick looked startled to hear himself introduced as such, startled and then pleased. He seemed to swell with pride. “I am your daddy . . . Can you say ‘daddy’?”

“What do you think you’re doing?” Bronwyn was so appalled by his blasé introduction, that her voice came out louder than she had intended. It startled Kayla, who blinked in shock before melting into tears. Bryce looked devastated. He stared at the crying child helplessly, not knowing what to do. Bronwyn, unable to stop herself, continued furiously.

“How can you just announce it to her like that? How can you simply . . .” Kayla cried even harder, and Bryce patted the child’s head and cheek helplessly. “Stop ignoring me, damn you, I hate it when you do that!” He looked up then, and when he saw her expression, his face darkened.

“It was you,” he seethed. “You made her cry. I thought it was something I’d done, damn you.” Bronwyn blinked down at him in amazement before lifting her eyes to Rick’s face in shocked realization.

“He can’t hear me, can he?” she asked Rick, who stood just behind Bryce. The younger man said nothing and merely continued to stare at her levelly. His silver-gray eyes were unnerving in their uncharacteristic iciness.

“Why don’t you ask me that question?” Bryce asked mockingly, and she returned her gaze to his face, realizing that he had heard her question. She berated herself for being ludicrous. Of course he could hear her. “Ah, but you already know the answer, don’t you?” he taunted and she stiffened, feeling like a fool. Kayla had stopped crying and had her head resting on Bronwyn’s chest and her thumb back in her mouth. She was eyeing Bryce warily.

“What’s your name, angel?” he asked her gently. The child refused to answer and her eyelids grew heavier as she started to slip into a doze.

“Her name’s Mikayla,” Bronwyn supplied, but he kept his eyes on Kayla’s face, ignoring Bronwyn again.

“Go on, tell me your name.” He blatantly snubbed her. Kayla dragged her thumb out of her mouth and deigned to respond.

“M’kayla.” She did not bother to lift her head and barely opened her eyes as she garbled her name the way she always did. It was recognizable enough, but Bryce was staring at the child with a baffled frown. He raised his confused eyes to Bronwyn, and she sighed before repeating the name.

“Mikayla, I named her Mikayla.” The frown deepened and something uncomfortably close to loathing settled over his taut, handsome features.

“Goddamn you, Bronwyn,” he growled, and she gasped. He didn’t like the name? She had named Kayla after him—his second name was Michael. Maybe he thought it was hypocritical of her to name their daughter after him when, as he now claimed, she had deprived him of his child. Bryce looked angry, hurt, and confused at the same time, and he kept glancing at his dozing little daughter and shutting his eyes despairingly. Bronwyn did not understand his reaction.

Rick stepped forward, leveling a resentful glare at Bronwyn that baffled her even further, before laying a calm hand on his agitated brother’s shoulder. Bryce looked up and grabbed Rick’s hand as if it were a lifeline.

“Tell me,” he pleaded desperately, and Rick nodded.

“Her name is Mikayla, Bryce,” he told his brother gently, with both his mouth and his hands.

CHAPTER TWO

W-why are you doing that?” Bronwyn stammered. Both men ignored her, and Bryce turned back to his sleeping daughter, with his heart in his eyes.

“Mikayla . . .” he murmured, running a gentle finger down the baby’s soft cheek. “What a beautiful name.”

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