The Diplomat's Pregnant Bride Online - Merline Lovelace

Prologue

I could not have asked for two more beautiful or loving granddaughters. From the first day they came to live with me—one so young and frightened, the other still in diapers—they filled the empty spaces in my heart with light and joy. Now Sarah, my quiet, elegant Sarah, is about to marry her handsome Dev. The wedding takes place in a few hours, and I ache with happiness for her.

And with such worry for her sister. My darling Eugenia has waltzed through life, brightening even the sourest dispositions with her sparkling smile and carefree, careless joie de vivre. Now, quite suddenly that carelessness has caught up with her. She’s come face-to-face with reality, and I can only pray the strength and spirit I know she possesses will help her through the difficult days ahead.

Enough of this. I must dress for the wedding. Then it’s off to the Plaza, which has been the scene of so many significant events in my life. But none to match the delight of this one!

From the diary of Charlotte,

Grand Duchess of Karlenburgh

One

Gina St. Sebastian forced a smile to hide her gritted teeth. “Good Lord, you’re stubborn, Jack.”

“I’m stubborn?”

The irate male standing before her snapped his sun-bleached brows together. Ambassador John Harris Mason III was tanned, tawny-haired and a trim, athletic six-one. He was also used to being in charge. The fact that he couldn’t control Gina or the situation they now found themselves in irritated him no end.

“You’re pregnant with my child, dammit. Yet you refuse to even discuss marriage.”

“Oh, for…! Trumpet the news to the whole world, why don’t you?”

Scowling, Gina craned her neck to peer around the bank of gardenias shielding her and Jack from the other guests in the Terrace Room of New York City’s venerable Plaza Hotel. With its exquisitely restored Italian Renaissance ceiling and crystal chandeliers modeled after those in the Palace of Versailles, it made a fabulous venue for a wedding.

A wedding put together on extremely short notice! They’d had less than two weeks to pull it off. The groom’s billions had eased the time crunch considerably, as had the miracle worker Dev Hunter employed as his executive assistant. Gina had done all the planning, though, and she would not allow the man she’d spent one wild weekend with to disrupt her sister’s wedding day.

Luckily no one seemed to have heard his caustic comment. The band was currently pulsing out the last bars of a lively merengue. Sarah and Dev were on the dance floor, along with the St. Sebastians’ longtime housekeeper, Maria, and most of the guests invited to the elegant affair.

Gina’s glance shot from the dancers to the lace-clad woman sitting ramrod-straight in her chair, hands crossed on the ebony head of her cane. The duchess was out of earshot, too, thank God! Hearing her younger granddaughter’s pregnancy broadcast to the world at large wouldn’t have fit with her notions of proper behavior.

Relieved, Gina swung back to Jack. “I won’t have you spoil my sister’s wedding with another argument. Please lower your voice.”

He took the hint and cranked down the decibels, if not his temper. “We haven’t had ten minutes alone to talk about this since you got back from Switzerland.”

As if she needed the reminder! She’d flown to Switzerland exactly one day after she’d peed on a purple stick and felt her world come crashing down around her. She’d had to get away from L.A., had to breathe in the sharp, clean air of the snow-capped Alps surrounding Lake Lucerne while trying to decide what to do. After a day and a night of painful soul-searching, she’d walked into one of Lucerne’s ultramodern clinics. Ten minutes later, she’d turned around and walked out again. But not before making two near-hysterical calls. The first was to Sarah—her sister, her protector, her dearest friend. The second, unfortunately, was to the handsome, charismatic and thoroughly annoying diplomat now confronting her.

By the time Sarah had made the frantic dash from Paris in response to her sister’s call, Gina’s jagged nerves had smoothed a little. Her hard-won poise shattered once again, however, when Jack Mason showed up on the scene. She hadn’t expected him to jump a plane, much less express such fierce satisfaction over her decision to have their child.

Actually, the decision had surprised Gina as much as it had Jack. She was the flighty, irresponsible sister. The good-time girl, always up for a weekend skiing in Biarritz or a sail through the blue-green waters of the Caribbean. Raised by their