VALENTE¶S BABYMAXINE SULLIVANSILHOUETTE DESIRE 1949BILLIONAIRES AND BABIES
VALENTE¶S BABYMAXINE SULLIVAN
CHAPTER ONE³You¶re a father.´Matt Valente broke into a grin as he sat down on the hotel bed. ³I didn¶t know I was pregnant.´³Don¶t be smart, Matthew,´ Cesare Valente snapped down the telephone line. The founder of the House of Valente perfume dynasty was clearly not amused. ³Remember Lana Jensen?´The smile dropped from Matt¶s lips. ³She was my top accountant a while back, so yeah, I should remember her.´ That perfect body«that beautiful face«those Nordic blue eyes hinting at a Scandinavian heritage that seemed as clear as crystal but werein fact deep and hiding lies.³She had your baby.´A baby? No way.The only thing she¶d had was him.They¶d both been a little tipsy at the office Christmas party and she¶d taken advantage of his inebriated state to seduce him.They¶d made love on the sofa in his office. Not that he¶d been any less to blame for succumbing to her charms, despite her giving him the come-on for months, her blue gaze skittering away every so often, teasing him with a sensual game of cat and mouse.Afterward he¶d regretted not keeping to his golden rule of no personal involvement with office staff. As chief financialofficer for the family business, he didn¶t need any complications in the workplace.³I don¶t believe it. She¶s lying.´³I saw the child with my own eyes, Matt. I was in my Mercedes waiting for the light to change when Lana crossed in frontof me pushing a small child in a stroller. I checked out the birth certificate. Your name¶s on it.´Matt¶s hand tightened around the phone. ³Dad, that¶s a breach of privacy.´His.Hell, if his name was on that birth certificate he needed to sort it out.³Matt, I did what needed to be done. And that included a background check on Lana.´Matt¶s lips twisted. ³Why am I not surprised?´³It was necessary. She¶s the mother of my grandchild.´³And she¶d suitable?´ he asked with a touch of sarcasm.³As far as I¶m concerned, yes. Her parents are dead, and she has an uncle who lives in France and is a respected businessman. Do you want to know more? There¶s some other information on her family. I can send you the report.´³No, thanks.´ He knew all he needed to know about Lana Jensen. More than enough.And he needed to make his father see sense.³Dad, look, you can put any name on a birth certificate. I didn¶t think you¶d fall for that old trick.´³She¶s a Valente, figlio mio.´ Son of mine. ³She looked just like you. There¶s no doubt in my mind.´Something odd bounced around in Matt¶s chest. ³It¶s a girl? Er«I mean, she¶s a girl?´³Yes. And I¶m delighted. It¶s about time we had another little girl in the family.´Matt grimaced. Girl or boy, it didn¶t matter to him. ³Well, I¶m not.´³You will be once you see her.´³Who said I was going to see her?´³She¶s my granddaughter, Matt. If you don¶t go to her, then I¶ll bring her to you.´Matt¶s jaw clenched. ³This is to trick me into getting married, isn¶t it? You may have forced Alex and Nick to marry, butI¶m not falling for it, Dad.´A year ago they¶d been about to branch into the North American market with their top-selling perfume, Valente¶s Woman,when Cesare had threatened to sell the business out from under Alex¶s feet if he didn¶t marry. Then a couple of months ago, Cesarehad promised to give the Valente estate to anyone but his second son, Nick. Both his brothers had been given no choice but to do whattheir father wanted or lose what they loved most. As youngest son, Matt had decided there was nothing his father could do to him tomake him marry.³Matt, I admit I had no compunction in forcing your two brothers to marry, and I would have found a way to force you tomarry, too. Only now I don¶t have to, do I? You¶ve brought a daughter into this world and you will give that daughter your name. Shewill be known as a true Valente.´³Don¶t dictate to me, Dad. If this child is mine, and I¶m in no way convinced of it, then I¶ll give her my name. You cancount on it.´³That¶s all I wanted to know. The family jet is at Brisbane Airport waiting for you. Nick and Sasha are already there andwill attend the conference dinner in your place.´His father was like a damn bulldozer at times. Not even the heart attack had stopped his interfering in his sons¶ lives.³I¶ve got a date for the dinner tonight.´³You had a date. I suggest you break it and get back to Sydney tonight and go see the mother of your child as soon as possible. I like Lana and I¶m sure she¶ll be reasonable.´At the mention of Lana, his gut clenched, but there was no way he wanted his father to know that. Cesare would somehowuse that knowledge in future if he could. He could imagine the older man¶s reaction if he ever told him Lana was a thief and that he¶dcovered up for her without telling anyone. And he couldn¶t wholly blame his decision not to report their theft on Cesare¶s heart attack at the time either.³What woman is ever reasonable, Dad?´ he mocked.Cesare laughed and said goodbye, and Matt hung up the phone and went to stand at the window in his hotel suite. Helooked out over the sweeping coastline of Queensland¶s Gold Coast as the rolling surf of the Pacific Ocean tumbled onto the golden beaches of Australia¶s tourist capital.Tonight he¶d planned a romantic dinner and a night of lovemaking with a lady friend of his.