his life because of this and that our family was destroyed?”
Only the lap of the pool water on the tiles filled the deadened silence. The boys huddled at the end of the pool, whispering. Tam suddenly remembered what she’d never forgotten before. Her brothers. Their safety, their comfort, their needs. She took a quick peek over at them, wanting to make sure—
“They didn’t hear,” he said. “They aren’t a part of this. All of this is in the past and unimportant.”
In the past and unimportant. She pushed back the tears threatening to fall. She tried to collect herself, tried to put her old dream to rest. However, her soul couldn’t recover from its wretched realization that something had gone terribly wrong with the sacrifice she’d thought so terribly right years ago.
The clutch in her throat tightened until she couldn’t breathe.
“There was a small amount of money left.” He kept going, almost as if he’d tied himself to the tale and had to finish it. “I used it to pay off the mortgage on the house and start the business.”
Her brain buzzed as her heart ached. “The business?”
“My business.” The claim was stated with pride, though there was a hint of something else there, something distracted, even disturbed.
She couldn’t wrap her head around the thought. Rafe hadn’t ever been about business. He’d been about healing and loving and caring. “You started a business?”
Turning to inspect him, she tried to imagine. Even in a simple white T-shirt and casual blue shorts, he did exude harsh authority and arrogant confidence. Years ago, she’d seen the authoritative way he’d handled his menagerie of wounded creatures and she’d noticed his confidence about his university studies. Yet these qualities had been wrapped in a kind heart, a healing spirit.
“ Nai. ” His eyes blazed, now with arrogance. “A business I’m very successful in.”
She assumed he was correct. The trappings of wealth were hard to ignore. “But it’s not what you’re supposed to do.”
A disparaging sound came from deep in his throat. “Don’t become trite.”
“I know I have given you what you negotiated for,” he continued. “And now it’s time you gave me what I asked for.”
Soul-deep and bruising, she hurt. She couldn’t look at him any longer, couldn’t look at the boys, couldn’t look at his rejection of what he was without hurting.
“I’ll call the doctor right now.” He kept marching toward his victory.
“No.” Laying awake far into the night, she’d come to some decisions. She knew in her heart what Rafe claimed was true. The boys were not Haimon’s. And the twins deserved to know their history. They deserved to know the family they had in Greece. Haimon wouldn’t agree, but he was still unconscious and fighting for his life, and she was as much the boys’ guardian as he was. So this man would get his DNA test, although not as quickly as he wanted.
“I should have known you’d go back on your word.” The heat of his animosity radiated around her.
“I’m not going back on my word.” She forced herself to stay calm. “They’ll take the test.”
“Then I don’t see why I can’t—”
“Not until I see my solicitor, though.”
The lap, lap, lap of the waves filled the void between them.
“You?” he finally said, astonishment wrapped around the question. “Have a solicitor?”
Indignation surged past the pain. “Of course I do,” she snarled, turning to glare at him. “I ran a business only a few days ago.”
He stared at her, irritation now mixed with the lingering astonishment in his expression. “I don’t see why you need a solicitor. It’s a pretty simple process.”
“I need to know my options.”
“You have no options.” A gentle, sinister tone came into his voice. “I’ll win.”
He rustled in his chair, and she felt his frustration. Still, she knew from his non-rebuttal, she’d bought some time.