The Amalfi Bride - Page 39

You should start dating again.

Not until I find a new job.

She should never have risked her position by speaking so recklessly without another job. Just thinking about that depressed her. If only she had a plan.

Forget Nico. Get a job. Pay your bills. That’s a plan.

“We’ve hardly talked since you got back from Italy,” Lucy said.

“I’ve been busy…. Work.” Technically, Regina was still earning a salary since she’d been given two weeks’ severance.

“You never told me about the gigolo.”

“He wasn’t a gigolo.”

“He was a real guy, huh? And you had a real date?”

“It’s over.”

“So-o?”

“I—I can’t talk about him right now.”

“That good, huh?”

“I hate the way you think you can see straight through me.”

“The way I think…ha!”

“It was a dream. I woke up. I’m here, and he’s there, and that’s the end of it.”

Lucy’s eyebrows flew together. “I don’t mean to criticize, but sometimes your devious lawyer mind is too smart for your britches.”

“Quit!”

“Are you in love with him?”

“I said quit!”

Lucy wouldn’t stop looking at her, so, of course, she saw Regina’s telltale blush.

“That’s it!”

“It wouldn’t have worked. He’s Italian.”

“And what are you? Italian-American!”

“We’re completely different, okay? Not possible!”

“Nothing is impossible,” Lucy said. “Look at me. I finally got pregnant.”

“You, you’re a walking miracle.”

“Your turn will come. So, if the gigolo-guy’s a no-go, have you thought any more about E-321 and maybe having that little half brother or sister for my baby?”

Regina shook her head. “I’m not ready. Neither is my family. I’ve got some bills. Italy…” She thought about Nico and blurted, “I’m just not ready to have anyone else’s baby.”

“Anyone else’s…? Hey!”

“I didn’t mean that. I didn’t mean what it sounded like.”

Lucy lifted Dino to her shoulder to burp him. “Why won’t you talk about this guy?”

“I just can’t.”

“You seem different somehow. I mean, after Italy. Was it him?”

“I wish people would stop saying that. People change. Maybe I matured.”

Lucy shook her head.

Closing her eyes, Regina told herself she had to quit thinking about Nico all the time. She was home, back in her real world. Someday soon she had to rethink the E-321 issue. Her biological clock hadn’t stopped ticking just because she’d chosen the wrong man.

Why had he called? Had he missed her a little? Was the gorgeous Viola as icy as his mother? Regina bit her lips. She hoped so.

No. If she truly loved him, she should want him to be happy. But she was human, okay? And humans aren’t perfect, right? Nobody expected her to be a saint filled with noble virtues, did they?

Still, when she’d first come home, she’d buried herself in work to avoid her dark, selfish feelings.

Having finished eating every single cookie crumb off the floor, Gina ran to her and patted baby David with her chocolatesmeared fingertips.

“Gently,” Regina cautioned. “And why don’t you lick your fingers?”

When Gina bent over her fingers, her tiara fell off. Leaning down, Regina picked it up.

Gina snatched it and put it on and whirled, clapping and giggling, making Lucy and Regina laugh.

“When I grow up, can I be a real princess?”

“Of course you can, my darling,” Regina whispered, her voice choked. “Come here, darling, so I can straighten your tiara again. All that twirling, it’s hanging on your ear.”

“Are you all right?” Lucy asked as Regina brushed at her eyes.

Like Regina’s sister Susana, Lucy was too intuitive sometimes.

“I’m fine.”

She didn’t feel all that well, actually. The sweet baby smell was getting to her. Regina set David’s bottle on the floor. Holding him close, intending to put him in his swing, she was instantly too dizzy to take a step.

Lucy’s red hair and freckled face whirled amidst flashes of brilliance. Then the room became bright white and suffocatingly hot. Beads of perspiration popped out on her face. A band of iron circled her chest. Clutching David, she sank weakly back into her chair.

“Are you okay?” Lucy whispered, her low tone urgent.

The white flashes were still swirling as Gina ran to Regina and tugged at her arm. “What’s the matter, Aunt Reggie?”

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