“I am with child,” she announced. “You are the father. If you love me…”
Pie-eyed, James hiccupped. “Did you say love you, my dear? I’m not certain I even fancy you anymore.”
He began to laugh, taking two steps forward, almost tipping over, and then catching himself in a circular motion. “It matters little whether or not you find yourself with child. You’re all the same,” he rattled on, “faithless, deceiving bitches. I must have been insane to bed you. Filthy slut…seducing the viscount, while lusting after the sailor.”
She stood stunned. How had he known?
James spat in her face. “Get out, whore, and take your future bastard with you!”
She flinched, wiping the spittle from her face. “You are a vicious and vulgar man, James Kent,” she retorted. “The liquor does not excuse your cruelty. Nicholas would never treat me this way.”
At this, James scoffed. “My brother hardly knows you exist anymore. I, on the other hand, have accommodated you for years.”
“My fantasies of Nicholas are much more pleasing than your slobbery attempts at lovemaking,” she finally admitted, her voice cold and devoid of feeling.
She walked out of the room with James trailing behind her, and heard him bellow after her, “Why, you uppity little bitch—putting on airs of superiority, are you? Enjoy your fantasies, my dear. It is all you’ll ever have.”
Refusing to listen to any more of his insults, she stormed up the steps and watched as he made his way up. “I wish it were his child, not yours.”
James’ glossy eyes tried to focus on her form. He rambled furiously, “Nicky is much too scrupulous a man to dwell in the gutter, my dear. He would never have fathered your child.”
She stared down at him with contempt, then smiled provocatively, pulling up her skirts. “You like what you see, don’t you?” Goading him, she licked her lips suggestively, enticing him to her. “You are not so scrupulous, are you, Jamie? You thrive in the filthy gutter. That’s it. Come to me. You know you still want me.”
“You slut,” he growled at her, but she knew her words aroused him. In spite of his inebriated state, she saw his tongue slide over his lips in preparation for her lusty kiss.
“Your slut,” she purred, smiling sweetly.
James reached for her just as she knew he would. Before James knew what was happening, she kicked him hard in the stomach, pushing him down the stairs to the cold stone flooring below. His look of surprise, followed by absolute horror as he tumbled back, both exhilarated and repelled her, causing her to burst into hysterical laughter.
A moment later, she was not laughing anymore. Pointing a finger at the crumpled body that lay in a pool of blood at the bottom of the stairs, she rubbed her belly and caressed her unborn child. “Sleep soundly, my sweet, Jamie. Sleep soundly.”
Her tender words spoken so coldly, so calculating, and the demented, morbid laughter that rang in the darkness were the last human sounds James Kent would ever hear.