He was acerbic. Mean. Callous. Had she turned him into this? Natalya placed a hand on her stomach. This man wasn’t her Aedan. This man, she didn’t know. This man, she couldn’t count on helping her because he was a good person.
“This was a terrible idea,” she muttered to herself.
“Yes, it was,” Aedan replied. “So why don’t you head back to your lover and don’t ever return.”
She’d expected those words, anticipated them, dreaded them. But the punch of pain far outweighed anything she could have imagined.
“How did you know about Diego?” she asked hoarsely. She’d never told him. “Did you check up on me?”
“After you left that message telling me you weren’t coming back, I actually thought that you might be in trouble. That you might need me, and you were trying to protect me. Rogan sent someone to check up on you. Turns out you were great. How soon did you fall into bed with him, Natalya? As soon as you arrived? Or was it planned before you left?”
“Of course not!” She was stunned that he would even think that. “Aedan, you don’t understand. I—”
She bit down on her lip as the door opened, and Rogan came in carrying a large tray with a carafe of coffee, three cups and a plate piled high with rich, chocolate brownies.
“The last of Tilly’s baking.” Rogan placed the tray down on the coffee table. “I had to hide this lot just to make them last this long.”
Natalya watched as he poured out the coffee. “Tilly? Is that your wife?”
Rogan’s eyes were cool but not unkind as he studied her. “No, a friend. I’m not married. Neither is Aedan.”
She knew Aedan wasn’t married. She read the tabloids. It was self-punishment, watching him with one stunning woman after another on his arm. But so far, none of them had seemed to last.
“What about you, Natalya? Are you married?” Rogan asked.
“Me? No, I’m not involved with anyone.”
“Dumped you, did he?” Aedan asked, as he rose and poured himself another whiskey. He leaned against the opposite wall, almost as though he was trying to get as far away as possible from her.
Natalya concentrated on trying to keep her hurt hidden. She’d known this would be difficult. She hadn’t expected him to welcome her with open arms. But knowing how warm and loving he’d been before, and facing his icy wrath now, was more of a shock than she’d anticipated.
“Actually, I left him. Aedan, you don’t know the full story—”
“I don’t want to know the full story. You left me so you could fuck a drug lord. What more is there left to say?”
“Aedan, if you’ll just listen to me. It isn’t what it seems—”
“Oh, so Rogan’s man had it wrong? You didn’t fall straight into bed with Diego Mota?”
“No…I mean yes… urgh, you are so frustrating sometimes!” Her temper flashed.
“Natalya, why don’t you tell us why you’re here.” Rogan gave Aedan a warning look. “And Aedan, don’t interrupt.”
“I almost don’t know where to start.” She ran a shaking hand over her face. She was shattered. Had she ever been this exhausted? Maybe when Mateo was a baby. But now she no longer had that glow of being a new mom, of feeling like she could do anything.
Now she was just desperate and scared. Very, very scared.
“Someone kidnapped my son. I need your help getting him back.”