She desperately pushed the thought away. Struggling to calm the pounding of her heart, Ellie clenched her hands tighter around the green stems of her bridal bouquet. Pink and white petals fluttered slowly to the flagstones.
“Do you, Timothy Alistair Wright, take Ellie Jensen to be your lawfully wedded wife…”
Even in the midst of her wedding, she couldn't stop thinking about Diogo!
The bastard. The lying bastard.
“…for as long as you both shall live?”
Timothy looked at her. Bright light from the soaring church windows shimmered off his wire-rimmed glasses, illuminating his pale, thin face. “I do.”
The minister turned to her. “And do you, Eleanor Ann Jensen, take Timothy Wright—”
The church doors opened, banging against the walls.
At the harsh sound of the voice, the crowd gasped. Ellie whirled around.
He was dressed as she'd left him in New York, in a crisply cut gray suit and blue tie that elegantly clung to his hard-muscled body. But he no longer looked anything like a civilized man of business. His footsteps echoed against the worn gray stones as he stared at her with a ruthless, demanding intensity.
“How dare you come here, Serrador?” Timothy's voice hit a high note, and he furiously cleared his throat. “You have no right—”
“You.” Diogo stared at Timothy. Then he gave a hard laugh. “I should have known.”
Ellie saw a depth of darkness in the Brazilian billionaire's eyes. Black, she thought with a shiver, black as a coal mine twisting deep into the earth.
“Get out of here, Serrador,” Timothy spat out. “This is no business of yours.”
“Is it?” Diogo turned to her with a searing intensity. “Is it my business, Ellie?”
She took a deep, shuddering breath. She couldn't tell him he was the father of her baby. Timothy might forgive her eventually, but not if he knew that the real father was Diogo. The two men had had some kind of falling out at Christmas, and she still didn't know why.
But she did know that Diogo Serrador was as hard and unfeeling as the diamond on her finger….
He leaned forward, looking straight into her eyes.
“Is it true, Ellie?”
Biting her lip, she looked away, hiding her face beneath her veil's thick waves of netted tulle.
He ripped back her veil, and she cried out in shock. His face was so close to hers, she saw him clearly—his angular cheekbones, his rough jaw, his scarred temple, his nose that had been broken at least once.
The facade of wealthy playboy and international steel tycoon was gone. Diogo Serrador grabbed her with the brutality of a Viking barbarian claiming his woman. And a sensual current rocked Ellie's body like lightning cracking through stone.
“Tell me the truth.”
She shook her head, unable to speak. She felt burned, electrified by his touch. He leaned forward, his face inches from hers, and she knew he was going to kiss her—right there in the church! While she was standing in front of the minister with another man!
And yet she couldn't lift a hand to stop him. Her knees trembled beneath her. Her bouquet dropped unheeded from her senseless fingers, falling in a splash of pink flowers against stone.
“Tell me, damn you!” His hands tightened on her shoulders. His voice rang through the church. “Am I the father of your baby?”
Three hundred people gasped aloud. She heard her grandmother give a little choked sob. She could feel the stares of the guests. Of the shocked minister. And worst of all, she could feel Timothy goggling at her, pitiful, humiliated fury on his face.
A slow burn went through her, making her cheeks feel hot as flame.
“You have no right to humiliate me like this,” she whispered. “You're the bastard, Diogo. You're the liar.”
“Him?” Timothy turned on her with a look of rage. “You've kept me at arm's length for all these years—so you could give yourself to Serrador?”
“Ah.” Diogo's lips curved darkly upward. His body relaxed, and his gaze glinted with sudden amusement. “So he's never even touched you. Strange way to trap a man into marriage…”
Anger raced through her. “I didn't trap anyone into anything,” she spat out. “Timothy loves me. He doesn't care I'm pregnant. He said he'll take care of it!”
Diogo's eyes narrowed. In an instant, he became a totally different man.
“Take care of it?” He grabbed her arm. “What do you mean, take care of it?”
She felt the sizzle up and down her body. How was it possible to be so electrified by his touch—and yet so afraid? She struggled to pull her arm away.
“What difference does it make? It's not your baby. It can't be. You can't get a woman pregnant, right?” she taunted.