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Liam's Secret Son

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«Liam's Secret Son» - Кэрол Мортимер

Carole Mortimer is one of Mills & Boon’s best loved Modern Romance authors. With nearly 200 books published and a career spanning 35 years, Mills & Boon are thrilled to present her complete works available to download for the very first time! Rediscover old favourites – and find new ones! – in this fabulous collection…The baby secret…When Liam O'Reilly insists on being a part of Laura's world again, her first instinct is to turn him down. It’s not that she doesn't find him attractive—they’ve always had a special connection—or that in the time they've been apart, Laura has married, had a baby and been widowed… What’s really bothering her is that if Liam had stayed all those years ago, he would have discovered a secret. One that Laura now feels compelled to keep—Liam has a son…!
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Liam’s Secret Son Carole Mortimer

Anything can happen behind closed doors!

Do you dare to find out…?

Welcome again to DO NOT DISTURB!

Liam O’Reilly was a famous author and charmer. But then he met Laura, a student eager to learn what he had to teach…. Reunited after a long absence, they realized that they could no longer resist the passion that burned between them, and soon discovered that they definitely didn’t want to be disturbed!

Join Presents® author Carole Mortimer on a roller-coaster ride to love, a keeper story that you simply won’t want to put down.

So what happens when Laura finally succumbs to her long-denied passion for Liam?

Turn the pages and find out!

Liam’s Secret Son

Carole Mortimer

For Peter


Title Page


















‘DID you know there’s a contact lens in your cup of tea?’

Laura’s only outward show that she was in the least affected by the lilting Irish drawl she now heard behind her was a slight—barely perceptible, she hoped!—tremble of her hand as she continued to raise the cup to her lips.

Déjà vu…

Except she didn’t just have a feeling that this had happened before—it had happened before!

Where had he come from? She was sitting in the lounge of a luxurious hotel, was seated so that she could see both the main entrance and smaller back entrance, and yet somehow Liam had managed to enter without her being aware of it. He now stood behind her.

She carefully placed the cup and saucer back down on the tray on the table in front of her, her movements deliberate and slow. ‘In the first place, this is coffee; I don’t drink tea,’ she returned huskily, delaying the moment when she would have to turn around and face him. ‘And in the second—I don’t wear contact lenses!’

‘In that case…’ he was very close now, his warm breath stirring the dark tendrils of hair that curled at her nape ‘…you have the most incredibly beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen.’

‘How can you possibly tell that from where you’re standing?’ she replied dryly, her face still averted.

‘Ah, Laura, now you’ve gone and broken the spell,’ Liam teased lightly, the Irish lilt in his voice stronger than ever. ‘Your next line in the script should have been something else entirely!’

Eight years ago, perhaps it had been. But this was another lifetime. A different Laura. She was no longer an impressionable English Literature student, in the third and final year of her degree.

And Liam was no longer a world-famous author come to give the students a lecture of whom she had been slightly in awe.

She drew in a deeply controlling breath before sitting forward and turning to face him, glad of that control as she found herself looking up into his handsome, laughing face.

He hadn’t changed a bit!

The thing that struck one most when first faced with Liam O’Reilly was his sheer size: six foot four inches tall, with a lithely muscular body that exuded vitality. He was dressed today, as always, with a complete disregard for his surroundings, in faded blue denims, blue tee shirt and black jacket. Second came recognition of the blue-black sheen to the overlong hair that brushed his shoulders, the intelligence in those intense blue eyes, the handsome face that looked as if it were carved out of hard, rugged stone.

But none of her inner dismay at the apparent lack of any change in his appearance showed as Laura continued to look at him with her ‘incredibly beautiful eyes’, one a clear shining blue, the other emerald-green. Which was the reason for his assumption, eight years ago, that she must have lost one of her tinted contact lenses.

She had been teased unmercifully about her different coloured eyes when she was at her all-girls, boarding-school, but as she’d grown older it had ceased to bother her as she’d come to realise that men actually found the strangeness of her eyes intriguing. As Liam once had…

She gave a cool smile. ‘I suppose I should feel flattered that you still remember that particular conversation,’ she dismissed with a shrug of her slender shoulders, aware even as she did so that the noise and bustle of the busy hotel had faded into the background.

Those deep blue eyes, surrounded by long dark lashes that should have looked ridiculous on such an otherwise muscularly attractive man—but somehow didn’t—narrowed speculatively. ‘But you aren’t, are you?’ he finally said slowly.

Flattered that he should still remember, after all these years, the first real conversation they had ever had? No, she wasn’t flattered. After what had followed, why on earth should she be?

No! She quickly brought her resentful thoughts under control. Anger was not an option. Better to make no reply at all than one that sounded in the least emotional.

Liam tilted his head thoughtfully to one side at her continued silence. ‘You’ve had all that beautiful long dark hair cut off,’ he murmured frowningly.

‘It’s easier to manage,’ she bit out abruptly, knowing that the short, dark cap of almost black hair made a perfect oval for her gamine features—those different-coloured eyes, the small pointed nose, the wide mouth and determined chin. The softening tendrils of hair at her temples and nape took away the severity of the short style.

‘I like it.’ He nodded approvingly.

Her earlier resentment returned.

She didn’t care whether he liked her hair in this style or not. In fact, if she were completely honest, she didn’t care what Liam O’Reilly felt about anything!

She determinedly swallowed down those angry feelings. ‘Would you care to join me?’ She indicated the tray containing her pot of coffee. ‘I can ask for another cup.’

Liam gave a glance down at the serviceable watch he wore on his right wrist. He was left-handed, Laura remembered all too clearly. As were a lot of artistic people.

‘Or perhaps you’re already meeting someone here?’ she suggested lightly as she noted that glance.

‘As a matter of fact, I am,’ he admitted. ‘But not for a few more minutes yet,’ he added with satisfaction, moving around the chair she sat in to sprawl his long length into the chair opposite.

Laura would have never actually said that Liam sat in a chair; his exceptional height meant that chairs were either usually too low or too lacking in depth for him.

At five feet eight inches tall in her stockinged feet, Laura was quite tall herself, an image she deliberately nurtured nowadays by wearing tailored suits and blouses. Her suit was dark charcoal today, her blouse emerald-green. It was an image she was more than grateful for at this moment, Liam always having had the effect in the past of making her feel tiny. And very feminine.

‘Would you like coffee?’ she offered, her hands calmly clasped on her skirt-covered thighs as she coolly faced him.

‘No, thanks,’ he refused. ‘I find it almost as addictive as the cigarettes I once smoked.’ His mouth twisted with distaste.

Laura’s eyes widened. ‘You’ve given up smoking?’ When she had known him eight years ago he had smoked at least thirty a day. More so when he was working. When…?

Liam grinned at her surprise. ‘Hard to believe, isn’t it? Liam O’Reilly, the hard drinker, hard smoker is a reformed character.’

‘I doubt it’s quite as serious as that,’ she replied mockingly.

He gave a low laugh, those dark blue eyes gleaming as he looked across at her. ‘You’ve grown up, little Laura,’ he pronounced admiringly.

‘At twenty-nine, I should hope that I have!’

Which made him now thirty-nine, Laura realised, also noting, now that she could see him more clearly, that her first impression of his not having changed wasn’t quite correct. The last eight years had definitely left their mark. There were lines now beside his eyes and mouth that owed nothing to laughter, a sprinkling of grey in the blue-black hair at his temples.

‘Twenty-nine,’ Liam repeated thoughtfully, blue eyes narrowed. ‘And what have you been doing with yourself the last eight years, Laura?’ he prompted hardly, his gaze moving—subconsciously, it seemed—to the ring finger on her left hand.

A finger that, although completely bare, nevertheless showed the mark of her having once worn a ring there…

‘This and that,’ she dismissed unhelpfully, having no intention of telling him anything about herself. ‘And what about you? What have you been doing the last eight years?’

His mouth twisted. ‘Obviously not writing,’ he observed harshly.

‘No?’ Laura didn’t give away, by word or facial expression, the fact that she was well aware that no new Liam O’Reilly book had appeared on the bookshelves for over eight years. ‘But then, you probably didn’t need to write again after the amazing success you had with Time Bomb,’ she went on lightly.

“‘Didn’t need to write again!’” Liam repeated accusingly, no longer lounging back in his chair but sitting tensely forward, eyes gleaming like twin jewels, his face intensely alight with emotion.

‘I meant from a monetary angle, of course,’ Laura continued, still meeting the fierceness of his gaze unflinchingly. That she had hit upon a raw nerve she didn’t doubt. But she had a need to see his response to that direct hit. ‘You must have made millions out of Time Bomb. The film rights alone—’

‘And what good has all that money been to me when I haven’t written a word since?’ he rasped.

She shrugged. ‘Presumably it’s kept you in relative comfort over the last eight years—even without the drink and cigarettes!’ she teased. ‘You certainly seemed to be enjoying your life the last time I saw you,’ she couldn’t resist adding.

Which had to be an understatement! Liam had achieved a certain amount of success with the four books he’d published before the political thriller Time Bomb. But nothing like the explosion—and she excused the pun!—that had followed the publication of his fifth book.

Three weeks after the release of the hardback edition, Time Bomb had been number one in the bestseller lists. Liam had appeared on numerous television programmes, the film rights had been bought, and Liam had been whisked off to Hollywood to write the screenplay and help with the casting.

The last Laura had seen of Liam had been a photograph in the newspapers, when he’d married the beautiful blonde-haired actress who had been about to play the female lead in the film of his book.

And Laura Carter, the student Liam had been seeing before he’d left England, had been left behind and forgotten.

At first she had been bewildered by Liam’s abandonment, disbelieving that she could mean so little to him when she had been slavishly devoted to him. But as the days and then weeks had passed, with no word from him, she had become angry. This had been followed by bitterness when she’d seen the photograph in the newspapers of him with his bride, and finally had come acceptance that Liam no longer considered her a part—even remotely—of his new life in America. With that acceptance had come her desire to move on, to make a success of her own life.

Her poise now, the expensive cut of her clothes, the large diamond solitaire ring she wore on her right hand, all bore testimony to the fact that she had done exactly that.

Liam’s expression was bleak. ‘That must have been a long time ago,’ he answered her last remark sarcastically.

‘Maybe it was.’ Another lifetime again, she acknowledged inwardly. ‘So, what’s important enough now to bring you back from sunny California to a cold English winter?’ she prompted with a casual change of subject.

Liam forced himself to relax with obvious effort, once again leaning back in the chair, although his eyes still gleamed fiercely blue. ‘I didn’t come from California,’ he corrected. ‘I moved back to Ireland five years ago.’

Which was probably the reason his Irish brogue sounded slightly stronger than it had eight years ago, Laura decided. She hadn’t known of the move, of course, had deliberately not interested herself in any of Liam’s movements after learning of his marriage.

‘That must have been something of a cultural shock to your American wife,’ she remarked.

‘I wouldn’t know,’ he drawled scathingly. ‘Diana divorced me seven years ago. The marriage only lasted six months, Laura,’ he explained as she raised her brows questioningly. ‘Because of work commitments we only spent about six weeks of that time together,’ he added bitterly. ‘Not my idea of a marriage!’

Liam had only been married for six months! Six months! If she had only known—

What would she have done differently if she had known? Nothing, came the flat answer. Liam had made his choices, as she had made hers. Nothing, and no one, could ever change that.

Liam gave another glance at his wristwatch. ‘Look, I really do have to meet someone in a few minutes. In fact…’ He glanced around the crowded lounge with narrowed eyes. ‘I have to go now,’ he murmured as a man who had just entered the lounge caught and held his eye. ‘But I would like to see you again, Laura—

‘I don’t think that’s a good idea,’ she cut in briskly, also glancing across the room at the man who had just entered, returning the polite inclination of his head with one of her own. ‘It’s been—interesting seeing you again, Liam,’ she said without any trace of sincerity. ‘But I have to be going myself now.’ She stood up, slim and elegant in her fitted suit and blouse, the strap of her patent black leather bag thrown over her shoulder.

‘Laura!’ Liam grasped her arm as she would have moved smoothly past him. ‘I want to see you again,’ he told her determinedly.

She looked at him. ‘To talk about old times, Liam?’ she taunted, shaking her head. ‘I don’t think so, thank you.’ She gave a humourless smile.

Liam’s eyes narrowed to blue slits. ‘I’m booked in here for another couple of days, Laura. Call me. If you don’t,’ he continued softly as she was about to refuse, ‘I’ll stay in London until I find you again,’ he assured her.

At least now she knew the reason she hadn’t seen him arrive at the hotel; he was actually a guest here and had probably come downstairs in the lift, which she couldn’t see from here in the lounge.

But that didn’t change the fact that there was an underlying threat to his words. Or that she had her own reasons for not wanting him to find her. Not yet, anyway.

‘How melodramatic you’ve become, Liam,’ she responded. ‘If it’s that important to you, I’ll give you a ring later.’ When she would make it plain to him that she had no intention of meeting him on a social level while he was in London!

He gave her an intense look before slowly releasing her arm. ‘It’s that important to me,’ he said, with a terse nod of his head.

She raised dark, sceptical brows at the admission. ‘Now, if you’ll excuse me, I really do have to go.’ She spoke coolly, aware of Liam’s gaze on her as she walked across the lounge and out into the reception area, collecting her outdoor coat from the attendant there before stepping outside into the bitingly cold November wind.

Not that she felt the ice of that wind; the shock of seeing Liam again had completely numbed her now. Face to face with him, remembering all that had happened between them in the past, it hadn’t been too difficult to keep up a veneer of cool self-possession. But now she was alone, away from the hotel, reaction had begun to set in.

Eight years ago she had dreamt of meeting Liam again, just once, if only for a few minutes. Part of her had longed to see him again; another part of her had been angry at his cruel desertion.

‘Mrs Shipley.’ Paul, her driver, stood by the car parked beside the pavement, the back door held open invitingly.

‘Thank you,’ she accepted distractedly, grateful for the warmth and privacy of the back seat of the limousine as the driver closed the door behind her.

‘Back to the office, Mrs Shipley?’ Paul prompted politely once he was seated behind the wheel.

‘No. Yes! I—’

Get a grip, Laura, she ordered herself firmly. Okay, so she had seen Liam again. So what? No doubt he was still the charming rogue he had been eight years ago, but that didn’t make her the same impressionable Laura Carter. She was Laura Shipley now; she ran her own business, owned a house in London, a villa in Majorca, travelled in chauffeur-driven cars wherever she chose to go. A single meeting with Liam O’Reilly was not going to take any of that away from her.

‘Yes, Paul, back to the office.’ She spoke more firmly now, relaxing back in her seat as the car moved slowly out into the flow of traffic.

There was no hurry for her to return home; Bobby wouldn’t be back for another hour and a half yet. Besides, she had told Perry that she would wait at the office for his report.

She wondered how his own conversation with Liam was progressing…!


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