“You’re positive?” Reece Lassiter demanded tonelessly. He listened to the confirmation and without a word, ended the call, dropping his mobile phone on the table. He lifted a cut crystal glass filled with the finest whiskey that money could buy and sipped slowly, savoring the smooth, aged flavor like a true connoisseur.
It tasted like ash in his mouth.
His infamous control began to crack as he stood there staring sightlessly out of the floor to ceiling windows, select phrases from the conversation replaying over and over in his mind, their meaning incomprehensible, their ramifications inescapable. “...test results were conclusive... normal sperm count... recanalization rate one in one thousand...” The test had confirmed that he could father a child. Then that meant...
He wouldn’t go there. Couldn’t even consider the possibility. Because if he did… and it was true… then he had eviscerated his own soul and shut himself off from the only happiness he’d ever known... for nothing.
The knowledge sent him to his knees.
“Jolie,” he whispered the forbidden name raggedly, and just like that, the emotional door he had welded shut four years prior sprang open. Reece was bombarded by feelings that had become completely alien to him. The numbness that he had worn like body armor disintegrated as memories of love, hope and joy shattered his granite heart.
Long forgotten images flooded his mind unbidden. Jolie lying naked in their bed, golden hair splayed around her, blue eyes slumberous, the satisfied smile of a woman well-loved. Jolie dancing in the snow, eyes aglow with happiness, the brilliant smile that could brighten any day. His sunshine girl. The only woman he’d ever trusted.
The only woman he’d ever loved.
She had filled his life with joy and taught him how to love. She had been his everything. Until the day she had betrayed his trust and destroyed his world. Reece had cut her out of his life with a ruthlessness that had shocked even him. He had encased his broken heart in ice so thick and glacial that nothing could ever penetrate it again.
And he’d been wrong.
A searing wave of rage, agony, and grief consumed him at the realization. Jolie had not betrayed him. He had betrayed her and destroyed himself in the process. Memories he'd fought like hell to suppress surged to the surface, invading his mind, shredding his heart all over again as he relived his last minutes with her.
The absolute joy on Jolie's face as she'd shown him the sonogram and announced they were having a baby. The bewilderment and hurt in her eyes when he'd lost his shit and accused her of having a lover. The anguished tears pouring down her face as he'd thrown her out of their home. Her voice calling his name brokenly when he'd had the police haul her away.
God, the pain was suffocating him. He couldn’t seem to breathe. One trembling hand reached out in desperation, searching for something, anything, to ground him, and met the cold, hard pane of unbreakable glass. Looking up, Reece saw his image in the tinted window. The reflection of a broken man.
God help him, what had he done?