From Single Mum to Secret Heiress. KRISTI GOLD

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Название From Single Mum to Secret Heiress
Автор произведения KRISTI GOLD
Жанр Современные любовные романы
Издательство Современные любовные романы
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accident and that, coupled with Social Security benefits, allowed me to pay for day care and the bills while studying full-time. I obtained grants and student loans to finance my tuition.”

      “If you don’t mind me asking, do you have any of the settlement left?”

      She didn’t exactly mind, but she felt certain she knew where he was heading—back into inheritance land. “Actually, the payments will end in October, so I still have six months.”

      He streaked a hand over the back of his neck. “You do realize that if you accept this money, you’ll be set for life. No worries financially for you or your daughter.”

      If Cassie’s future played a role, she might reconsider taking the inheritance. “My daughter will be well provided for when she turns eighteen, thanks to my in-laws, who’ve established a million-dollar-plus trust fund in her name. Of course, I’m sure that will come with conditions, as those with fortunes exceeding the national debt are prone to do.”

      “Guess that explains your aversion to wealthy people.”

      Her aversion was limited to only the entitled wealthy, including Theresa and Marvin Armstrong. “Daniel’s parents didn’t exactly approve of my marriage to their son. Actually, they didn’t approve of me. It was that whole illegitimate thing. They had no way of knowing if I had the appropriate breeding to contribute to the stellar Armstrong gene pool. Of course, when I became pregnant with Cassie, they had no say in the matter.”

      He seemed unaffected by her cynicism. “Are they involved in your daughter’s life at all?”

      “Theresa sends Cassie money on her birthday and collector dolls at Christmas that carry instructions not to remove them from the box so they’ll retain their value. What good is a doll you can’t play with?”

      “Have they ever seen her?”

      “Only once.” And once had been quite enough. “When Cassie was two, they flew us out to North Carolina for a visit. It didn’t take long to realize that my mother-in-law and active toddlers don’t mix. After Theresa accused me of raising a wild animal, I told her I’d find a good kennel where I could board Cassie next time. Fortunately, there wasn’t a next time.”

      Logan released a deep, sexy laugh. “You’re hell on wheels, aren’t you?”

      She took another sip of the cocktail to clear the bitter taste in her mouth. “After growing up a poor fatherless child, I learned to be. Also, my mother was extremely unsocial and rather unhappy over raising a daughter alone, to say the least. I took an opposite path and made it my goal to be upbeat and sociable.”

      He grinned. “I bet you were a cheerleader.”

      She returned his smile. “Yes, I was, and I could do a mean backflip.”

      “Think you could still do it?”

      “I don’t know. It’s been a while, but I suppose I could don my cheerleading skirt, though it’s probably a little tight, and give it the old college try.”

      He winked, sending a succession of pleasant chills down Hannah’s body. “I’d like to see that.”

      “If you’re like most men, you just want to see up my skirt.” Had she really said that?

      He sent her a sly grin. “I do admire limber women.”

      A brief span of silence passed, a few indefinable moments following unmistakable innuendo. Hannah couldn’t recall the last time she’d actually flirted with someone aside from her husband. And she’d been flirting with a virtual stranger. An extremely handsome, successful stranger.

      A very young, very peppy blonde waitress sauntered over and flashed a grin. “Can I get you anything, sir?”

      “Bring me a cola,” Logan said without cracking a smile.

      She glanced at Hannah. “What about you, ma’am?”

      “No, thank you.”

      “Are you sure?” Logan asked. “You wouldn’t like one more round?”

      She was sorely tempted, but too sensible to give in. “I’m driving, remember?”

      “I could drive you home if you change your mind.”

      “That would be too much trouble,” she said, knowing that if he came anywhere near her empty house, she might make a colossal mistake.

      “It’s not a problem.”

      It could be if she didn’t proceed with caution. “I’m fine for now. But thanks.”

      Once the waitress left, Hannah opted for a subject change. “Now that you know quite a bit about me, what about you?”

      He pushed his empty coffee cup aside. “What do you want to know?”

      Plenty. “I saw on your profile you’re single. Have you ever been married?”

      His expression went suddenly somber. “Once. I’ve been divorced for eight years.”

      She couldn’t imagine a man of his caliber remaining unattached all that time. “Any relationships since?”

      “Nothing serious.”

      She tapped her chin and pretended to think. “Let me guess. You have a woman in every court.”

      His smile returned, but only halfway. “Not even close. I work a lot of hours so I don’t have much time for a social life.”

      “Did you take a vow of celibacy?” Heaven help her, the vodka had completely destroyed her verbal filter.

      When the waitress returned with the cola, Logan pulled out his wallet and handed her a platinum card to close out the tab, or so Hannah assumed. “Keep it open for the time being,” he said, shattering her assumptions.

      Once the waitress retreated, Hannah attempted to backtrack. “Forget I asked that last question. It’s really none of my business.”

      “It’s okay,” he said. “I’ve had a few relationships based solely on convenience. What about you?”

      He’d presented a good case of turnabout being fair play, but she simply had little to tell when it came to the dating game. “Like you, I haven’t had time to seriously consider the social scene. I have had a couple of coffee dates in the past year, but they were disastrous. One guy still lived at his mother’s house in the basement, and the other’s only goal was to stay in school as long as possible. He already had three graduate degrees.”

      “Apparently the last guy was fairly smart,” he said.

      “True, but both made it quite clear they weren’t particularly fond of children, and that’s a deal breaker. Not to mention I’m not going to subject my child to a man unless he’s earned my trust.”

      He traced the rim of the glass with his thumb. “It’s logical that you would have major concerns in that department.”

      “Very true. And I have to admit I’m fairly protective of her. Some might even say overprotective.” Including her best friend, Gina.

      Logan downed the last of his drink and set it aside. “I’m not sure there is such a thing in this day and time.”

      “But I’ve been known to take it to extremes. I’ve even considered encasing her in bubble wrap every day before I send her off to school.”

      Her attempt at humor seemed to fall flat for Logan. “You really can’t protect them from everything, and that’s a damn shame.”

      His solemn tone spurred Hannah’s curiosity. “Do you have children from your previous marriage?”

      He momentarily looked away. “No.”

      Definitely a story there. “Was that a mutual decision between you and your wife?” Realizing she’d become the ultimate Nosy Nellie, she raised her hands, palms forward. “I’m so sorry. I’m not normally this intrusive.”

      “My wife was an attorney, too,” he continued, as if her prying didn’t bother him. “Having kids wasn’t in the cards for us, and that was probably just as well.”

      “How long were you