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The Consequences of That Night

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«The Consequences of That Night» - Дженни Лукас

Emma Hayes has gone from making hotel magnate Cesare Falconeri’s bed to running his household, including handing out expensive parting gifts to his numerous conquests! But each time it’s chipped away at her heart. Until one night, inhibitions lowered, she reaches for what she’s always wanted…With one disastrous marriage behind him Cesare vowed never to go there again. But when his indiscretion with Emma has consequences, Cesare must break his own vow – and say I do for the sake of his heir.Now he’ll expect his new bride to share his bed, instead of making it!
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Emma took a deep, shuddering breath. “I can’t do it. Not anymore.”

“Can’t do what?”

“Work for you.”

The smile slid from Cesare’s face. He shifted his stance, then clawed back his dark hair. “It was a single meaningless night,” he said in a low voice. “I hoped we could just—forget. And things could go back to how they were.”

She shook her head.


Emma had never thought she’d be forced to blurt out news of her baby in the middle of a hotel hallway, but she suddenly knew it was now or never. She took a deep breath.

“That night changed everything for me forever. There’s no going back now because…” She hesitated, trying to find the words. “Because…”


From glass slippers to silk sheets

From washing his sheets to slipping between them, from ironing his shirts to ripping them off… When the job description said ‘full benefits package’, this wasn’t quite what she had in mind!

But when you work for a man who’s used to getting everything he wants, how do you stop yourself becoming his latest acquisition?

Other titles in this series:

MAID FOR MONTERO by Kim Lawrence


Look out for more At His Service stories coming soon!

The Consequences of That Night

Jennie Lucas

JENNIE LUCAS grew up dreaming about faraway lands. At fifteen, hungry for experience beyond the borders of her small Idaho city, she went to a Connecticut boarding school on scholarship. She took her first solo trip to Europe at sixteen, then put off college and travelled around the US, supporting herself with jobs as diverse as gas station cashier and newspaper advertising assistant.

At twenty-two she met the man who would be her husband. After their marriage she graduated from Kent State with a degree in English. Seven years after she started writing she got the magical call from London that turned her into a published author.

Since then life has been hectic, with a new writing career, a sexy husband and two small children, but she’s having a wonderful (albeit sleepless) time. She loves immersing herself in dramatic, glamorous, passionate stories. Maybe she can’t physically travel to Morocco or Spain right now, but for a few hours a day, while her children are sleeping, she can be there in her books.

Jennie loves to hear from her readers. You can visit her website at, or drop her a note at

Recent titles by the same author:



Did you know these are also available as eBooks? Visit













Emma Hayes put a hand over her slightly curved belly, swaying as the double-decker bus traveled deeper into central London in the gray afternoon rain.

A baby.

For ten weeks, she’d tried not to hope. Tried not to think about it.

Even when she’d gone to her doctor’s office that morning, she’d been bracing herself for some problem, to be told that she must be brave.

Instead she’d seen a rapid steady beat on the sonogram as her doctor pointed to the flash on the screen. “See the heartbeat? ‘Hi, Mum.’”

“I’m really pregnant?” she’d said through dry lips.

The man’s eyes twinkled through his spectacles. “As pregnant as can be.”

“And the baby’s—all right?”

“It’s all going perfectly. Textbook, I’d say.” The doctor had given her a big smile. “I think it’s safe to tell your husband now, Mrs. Hayes.”

Her husband. The words echoed through Emma’s mind as she closed her eyes, leaning back into her seat on the top deck of the Number 9 bus. Her husband. How she wished there was such a person, waiting for her in a homey little cottage—a man who’d kiss her with a cry of joy at the news of his coming child. But in direct opposition to what she’d told her physician, there was no husband.

Just a boss. A boss who’d made love to her nearly three months ago in a single night of reckless passion, then disappeared in the cold dawn, leaving her to wake up alone in his huge bed. The same bed that she’d made for him over the past seven years, complete with ironed sheets.

I know the maid could do it, but I prefer that you handle it personally. No one can do it like you, Miss Hayes.

Oh, boy. She’d really handled it personally this time, hadn’t she?

Blinking, Emma stared out the window as the red double-decker bus made its way down Kensington Road. Royal Albert Hall went by in a blur of red brick behind the rain-streaked glass. She wiped her eyes hard. Stupid tears. She shouldn’t be crying. She was happy about this baby. Thrilled, in fact. She’d honestly thought she could never get pregnant. It was a miracle.

A lump rose in her throat.


Cesare would never be a real father to their baby. He would never be her husband, a man who would kiss her when he came home from work and tuck their baby in at night. No matter how she might wish otherwise.

Because Cesare Falconeri, self-made billionaire, sexy Italian playboy, had two passions in life. The first was expanding his far-flung hotel empire across the globe, working relentlessly to expand his net worth and power. The second, a mere hobby when he had an hour or two to spare, was to seduce beautiful women, which he did for sport, as other men might play football or golf.

Her sexy Italian boss annihilated the thin hearts of supermodels and heiresses alike with the same careless, seductive, selfish charm. He cared nothing for any of them. Emma knew that. As his housekeeper, she was the one responsible for arranging morning-after gifts for his one-night stands. Usually Cartier watches. Bought in bulk.

As the bus traveled through Mayfair, the lights of the Ritz Hotel slid by. Looking down from the top deck of the bus, Emma saw pedestrians dressed in Londoners’ typical festive autumn attire—that is to say, entirely in black—struggling with umbrellas in the rain and wind.

It was the first of November.

Just yesterday, the warmth of Indian summer had caressed the city like a lover, with promises of forever. Today, drizzle and rain had descended. The city, so recently bright and warm, had become melancholy, haunted and filled with despair.

Or maybe it was just her.

For the past seven years—since she’d first started as a maid at Cesare’s hotel in New York, at the age of twenty-one—she’d been absolutely in love with him, and absolutely careful not to show it. Careful not to show any feelings at all.

You never bore me with personal stories, Miss Hayes. I hardly know anything about you. He’d smiled. Thank you.

Then three months ago, she’d come back from her stepmother’s funeral in Texas and he’d found her alone in his darkened kitchen, clutching an unopened bottle of tequila, with tears streaming down her cheeks. For a moment, Cesare had just stared at her.

Then he’d pulled her roughly into his arms.

Perhaps he’d only meant to offer comfort, but by the end of the night, he’d taken the virginity she’d saved for him, just for him, even when she knew she had no hope. He’d taken her to his bed, and made Emma’s gray, lonely world explode with color and fire.

And today, a new magic, every bit as shocking and unexpected. She was pregnant with his baby.

Emma traced her fingertip into the shape of a heart against a fogged-up corner of the bus window. If only his playboy nature could change. If only she could believe he’d actually wish to be a father someday, and even fall in love with Emma, as she’d fallen for him...

The double-decker bus jolted to a stop, and with an intake of breath she abruptly wiped the heart off the glass. Cesare, love? That was a laugh. He couldn’t even stick around for breakfast, much less commit to raising a family!

Ever since she’d woken up alone in his bed that cold morning after, Emma had faithfully kept his mansion in Kensington sparkling clean in perpetual hope for his arrival. But she’d found out from one of the secretaries that he’d actually returned to London two days ago. Instead of coming home, he was staying at his suite at the flagship London Falconeri near Trafalgar Square.

His unspoken words were clear. He wanted to make sure Emma knew she meant nothing to him, any more than the stream of models and starlets who routinely paraded through his bed.

But there was one big difference. None of his other lovers had gotten pregnant.

Because unlike the rest, he’d slept with her without protection. He’d believed her when she’d whispered to him in the dark that pregnancy was impossible. Cesare, who trusted no one, had taken Emma at her word.

Her hands tightened on the handrail of the seat in front of her. Here she’d been fantasizing about homey cottages and Cesare miraculously turning into a devoted father. The truth was that when he learned their one-night stand had caused a pregnancy, he’d think she’d lied. That she’d deliberately gotten pregnant to trap him.

He’d hate her.

So don’t tell him, a cowardly voice whispered. Run away. Take that job in Paris. He never has to know.

But she couldn’t keep her pregnancy a secret. Even if the odds were a million to one that he’d want to be part of their baby’s life, didn’t even Cesare deserve that chance?

A loud burst of laughter, and the stomp of people climbing to the top deck, made Emma glance out the window. She leaped to her feet. “Wait, please!” she cried to the bus driver, who obligingly waited as she ran down the bus stairs, nearly tripping over her own feet. Out on the sidewalk, buffeted by passersby, she looked up at the elegant, imposing gray-stone Falconeri Hotel. Putting her handbag over her head to dodge the rain, Emma ran into the grand lobby. Nodding at the security guard, she shook the rain off her camel-colored mackintosh and took the elevator to the tenth floor.

Trembling, she walked down the hall to the suite of rooms Cesare occasionally used as an office and a pied-à-terre after a late evening out in Covent Garden. Cesare liked to be in the thick of things. The floor wasn’t private, but shared by those guests who could afford rooms at a thousand pounds a night. Trembling, she knocked on the door.

She heard a noise on the other side, and then the door was abruptly wrenched open.

Emma looked up with an intake of breath. “Cesare...”

But it wasn’t her boss. Instead a gorgeous young woman, barely covered in lingerie, stood in his doorway.

“Yes?” the woman said in a bored tone, leaning against the door as if she owned it.

A blade of ice went through Emma’s heart as she recognized the woman. Olga Lukin. The famous model who had dated Cesare last year. Her body shook as she tried to say normally, “Is Mr. Falconeri here?”

“Who are you?”

“His—his housekeeper.”

“Oh.” The supermodel’s shoulders relaxed. “He’s in the shower.”

“The shower,” Emma repeated numbly.

“Yesss,” Olga Lukin said with exaggerated slowness. “Do you want me to give him a message?”


“There’s no point in you waiting.” The blonde glanced back at the mussed bed, plainly visible in the hotel suite, and gave a catlike smile. “As soon as he’s done, we’re going out.” Leaning forward, she confided in a stage whisper, “Right after we have another go.”

Emma looked at Olga’s bony shape, her cheekbones that could cut glass. She was absolutely gorgeous, a woman who’d look perfect on any billionaire’s arm. In his bed.

While Emma—she suddenly felt like nothing. Nobody. Short, round and drab, not particularly pretty, with the big hips of someone who loved extra cookies at teatime, wearing a beige raincoat, knit dress and sensible shoes. Her long black hair, when it wasn’t pulled back in a plaited chignon, hadn’t seen the inside of a hairdresser’s in years.

Humiliation made her ears burn. How could she have dreamed, even for an instant, that Cesare might want to marry someone like her and raise a baby in a snug little cottage?

He must have slept with her that night out of pity—nothing more!


“No.” Emma shook her head, hiding her tears. “No message.”

“Ta, then,” she said rudely. But as she started to close the door, there was a loud bang as Cesare came out of the bathroom.

Emma’s heart stopped in her chest as she saw him for the first time since he’d left her in his bed.

Cesare was nearly naked, wearing only a low-slung white towel around his hips, gripping another towel wrapped carelessly over his broad shoulders. His tanned, muscular chest was bare, his black hair still damp from the shower. He stopped, scowling at Olga.

“What are you—”

Then he saw Emma in the doorway, and his spine snapped straight. His darkly handsome face turned blank. “Miss Hayes.”

Miss Hayes? He was back to calling her that—when for the past five years they’d been on a first-name basis? Miss Hayes?

After so long of hiding her every emotion from him, purely out of self-preservation, something cracked in her heart. She looked from him, to Olga, to the mussed bed.

“Is this your way of showing me my place?” She shook her head tearfully. “What is wrong with you, Cesare?”

His dark eyes widened in shock.

Staggering back, horrified at what she’d said, and brokenhearted at what she’d not been able to say, she turned and fled.

“Miss Hayes,” she heard him call behind her, and then, “Emma!”

She kept going. Her throat throbbed with pain. She ran with all her heart, desperate to reach the safety of the elevator, where she could burst into tears in privacy. And start planning an immediate departure for Paris, where she’d never have to face him again—or remember her own foolish dreams.

A father for her baby. A snug home. A happy family. A man who’d love her back, who would protect her, who’d be faithful. A tear fell for each crushed dream. She wiped her eyes furiously. How could she have ever let herself get in this position—with Cesare, of all people? Why hadn’t she been more careful? Why?

Emma heard his low, rough curse behind her, and the hard thud of his bare feet. Before she reached the elevator, he grabbed her arm, whirling her around in the hall.

“What do you want, Miss Hayes?” he demanded.

“Miss Hayes?” she bit out, struggling to get free. “Are you kidding me with that? We’ve seen each other naked!”

He released her, clearly surprised by her sharp tone.

“That doesn’t explain what you’re doing here,” he said stiffly. “You’ve never sought me out like this before.”

No, and she never would again! “Sorry I interrupted your date.”

“It’s not a— I have no idea what Olga is doing in my room. She must have gotten a key and snuck in.”

Hot tears burned behind her eyes. “Right.”

“We broke up months ago.”

“Looks like you’re back together.”

“Not so far as I’m concerned.”

“Now, that I believe,” she choked out. “Because once you have sex, any relationship is pretty much over where you’re concerned, isn’t it?”

“We didn’t just have sex.” He set his jaw. “Have you ever known me to lie?”

That stopped her.

“No,” she whispered. Cesare never lied. He always made his position brutally clear. No commitment, no promises, no future.

Yet, somehow many women still managed to convince themselves otherwise. To believe they were special. Until they woke alone the morning after, to find Emma serving them breakfast with their going-away present, and ended up weeping in her arms.

“I really don’t care.” Emma ran an unsteady hand over her forehead. “It’s none of my business.”

“No. It’s not.”

She took a deep breath. “I just came tell you something.”

The dim lighting of the elegant hotel hallway left hard shadows against Cesare’s cheekbones, the dark scruff of his jaw, and his muscular, tanned chest. His black eyes turned grim. “Don’t.”

Her lips parted on an intake of breath. “What?”

“Just don’t.”

“You don’t even know what I’m going to say.”

“I can guess. You’re going to tell me all about your feelings. You’ve always shared so little. I convinced myself you didn’t have any. That I was just a job to you.”

Emma almost laughed hysterically in his face. Oh, if only he knew. For years, she’d worked for him until her brain was numb and her fingers were about to fall off. Her first thought each morning when she woke—was him. Her last thought before she finally collapsed in bed each night—was him. What he needed. What he wanted. What he would need and want tomorrow. He’d always been more than a job to her.

“It kept things simple,” he said. “It’s why we got along so well. I liked you. Respected you. I’d started to think of us as—friends.”

Friends. Against her will, Emma’s gaze fell to the hard planes of his muscular, tanned chest laced with dark hair. Wearing only the low-slung white towel wrapped snugly around his hips, he was six feet three inches of powerful, hard-muscled masculinity, and he stood in the hallway of his hotel without the slightest self-consciousness, as arrogant as if he were wearing a tailored suit. A few people passed them in the hallway, openly staring. Emma swallowed. It would be hard for any woman to resist staring at Cesare. Even now she... God help her, even now...

“Now you’re going to ruin it.” His eyes became flinty. “You’re going to tell me that you care. You’ve rushed down here to explain you still can’t forget our night together. Even though we both swore it wouldn’t change anything, you’re going to tell me you’re desperately in love with me.” He scowled. “I thought you were special, but you’re going to prove you’re just like the rest.”

The reverberations of his cruel words echoed in the empty hallway, like a bullet ricocheting against the walls before it landed square and deep in her heart.

For a moment, Emma couldn’t breathe. Then she forced herself to meet his eyes.

“I would have to be stupid to love you,” she said in a low voice. “I know you too well. You’ll never love anyone, ever again.”

He blinked. “So you’re not—in love with me?”

He sounded so hopeful. She stared up at him, her heart pounding, tears burning behind her eyes. “I’d have to be the biggest idiot who ever lived.”

His dark gaze softened. “I don’t want to lose you, Emma. You’re irreplaceable.”

“I am?”

He gave a single nod. “You are the only one who knows how to properly make my bed. Who can maintain my home in perfect order. I need you.”

The bullet went a little deeper into her heart.

“Oh,” she whispered, and it was the sound someone makes when they’ve been punched in the belly. He wanted to keep her as his employee. She was irreplaceable in his life—as his employee.

Three months ago, when he’d taken her in his arms and kissed her passionately, her whole world had changed forever. But for Cesare, nothing had changed. He still expected her to be his invisible, replaceable servant who had no feelings and existed solely to serve his needs.

Tell me this won’t change anything between us, he’d said in the darkness that night.

I promise, she’d breathed.

But it was a promise she couldn’t keep. Not when she was pregnant with his baby. After so many years of keeping her feelings buried deep inside, she couldn’t do it anymore. Maybe it was the pregnancy hormones, or maybe the anguish of hope. But emotions were suddenly bleeding out of her that she couldn’t control. Grief and heartbreak and something new.


“So that was why you ran away from me three months ago?” she said. “Because you were terrified that if I actually woke up in your arms, I’d fall desperately in love with you?”

Cesare looked irritated. “I didn’t exactly run away—”

“I woke up alone,” she said unsteadily. She ran her trembling hand back through the dark braids of her chignon. “You regretted sleeping with me.”

He set his jaw. “If I’d known you were a virgin...” He exhaled, looking down the gilded hallway with a flare of nostril before he turned back to her. “It never should have happened. But you knew the score. I stayed away these past months to give us both some space to get past it.”

“You mean, pretend it never happened.”

“There’s no reason to let a single reckless night ruin a solid arrangement.” He folded his arms over his bare chest, over the warm skin that she’d once stroked and felt sliding against her own naked body in the dark hush of night. “You are the best housekeeper I’ve ever had. I want to keep it that way. That night meant nothing to either of us. You were sad, and I was trying to comfort you. That’s all.”

It was the final straw.

“I see,” she bit out. “So I should just go back to folding your socks and keeping your home tidy, and if I remember the night you took my virginity at all, I should be grateful you were such a kind employer—comforting me in my hour of need. You are truly too good to me, Mr. Falconeri.”

He frowned, sensing sarcasm. “Um...”

“Thank you for taking pity on me that night. It must have felt like quite a sacrifice, seducing me to make the crying stop. Thank you for your compassion.”

Cesare glared at her, looking equal parts shocked and furious. “You’ve never spoken like this before. What the hell’s gotten into you, Emma?”

Your baby, she wanted to say. But you don’t even care you took my virginity. You just want me back to cook and clean for you. Anger flashed through her. “For God’s sake, don’t you think I have any feelings at all?”

He clenched his hands at his sides, then exhaled.

“No,” he said quietly. “I hoped you didn’t.”

The lump in her throat felt like a razorblade now.

“Well. Sorry. I’m not a robot. No matter how inconvenient that is for you.” She fought the rush of tears. “Everything has changed for me now.”

“Nothing changed for me.”

Emma lifted her gaze to his. “It could, if you’d just give it a chance.” She hated the pleading sound of her voice. “If you’d only just listen...”

Cesare’s eyes were already hardening, his sensual lips parting to argue, when they heard a gasp. Emma turned to see an elderly couple staring at them in the hotel hallway. The white-haired man looked scandalized at the sight of Cesare wearing only a white towel, while his wife peered at him through her owlish glasses with interest.

Cesare glared at them. “Do you mind?” he said coldly. “We are trying to have a private conversation.”

The man looked nonplussed. “I beg your pardon.” He fled toward the elevator, pulling his wife with him, though she shot Cesare’s backside one last look of appreciative regret.

He turned back to Emma with a scowl. “Nothing can change for me. Don’t you understand?”

It already had. He just didn’t know it. Emma swallowed. She’d never thought she’d be forced to blurt out news of her pregnancy in the middle of a public hotel hallway. She licked her lips. “Look, can’t we go somewhere? Talk about this in private?”

“Why? So you can confess your undying love?” His voice was full of scorn. “So you can tell me how you’ll be the woman to make me love again? How you’ve imagined me proposing to you? How you’ve dreamed of standing next to me in a white dress?”

“It’s not like that,” she tried, but he’d seen her flinch. It was exactly like that.

“Damn you, Emma,” he said softly. “You are the one woman who should have known better. I will not change, not for you or anyone. All you’ve succeeded in doing with this stunt is destroying our friendship. I don’t see how we can continue to maintain a working relationship after this....”

“Do you think I’ll even want to be your housekeeper after this?”

His eyes widened, then narrowed.

“So much for promises,” he bit out.

She flinched again, wondering what he would say when she told him about the far worse promise she’d unknowingly broken—the one about it being impossible for her to get pregnant.

But how could she tell him? How could she blurt out the precious news of their child, standing in a public hallway with him staring at her as if he despised her? If only they could just go back to his room—but no. His suite was already filled, with a hard-eyed blonde in skimpy lingerie.

Everything suddenly became clear.

There was no room for a baby in Cesare’s life. And Emma’s only place there, as far as he was concerned, was scrubbing his floor and folding his sheets.

Cesare’s expression was irritated. “If things can’t be like they were...”

“What? You’ll fire me for caring? That’s your big threat?” Looking at the darkly handsome, arrogant face that she’d loved for so long, fury overwhelmed her. Fury at her own stupidity that she’d wasted so much of her life loving a man who couldn’t see a miracle when it was right in front of him. Who wouldn’t want the miracle, even if he did see.

How could she have loved him? How could she have ever thought—just as he’d accused her—that she could change his playboy nature?

He exhaled, and moderated his tone in a visible effort. “What if I offered to double your salary?”

Her lips parted in shock. “You want to pay me for our night together?”

“No,” he said coldly. “I want to pay you to forget.”

Her eyes stung. Of course he would offer money. It was just paper to him, like confetti. One of his weapons, along with his power and masculine beauty, that he used to get his way. And Cesare Falconeri always got his way.

Emma shook her head.

“So how can we get past this? What the hell do you want from me?”

She looked up at him, her heart full of grief. What did she want? A man who loved her, who would love their child, who would be protective and loyal and show up for breakfast every morning. She whispered, “I want more than you will ever be able to give.”

He knew immediately she wasn’t speaking of money. That was clear by the way his handsome face turned grim, almost haunted in the dim light of the hallway. He took a step toward her. “Emma...”

“Forget it.” She stepped back. Her whole body was shaking. If he touched her now, if he said anything more to remind her what a fool she’d been, she was afraid she’d collapse into sobs on the carpet and never get up again.

Her baby needed her to be strong. Starting now.

Down the hall, she heard the elevator ding. Glancing back, she saw the elderly couple hesitate in front of the elevator, obviously still watching them. She realized they’d been listening to every word. Turning back to Cesare, she choked out, “I’m done being your slave.”

“You tell him, honey,” the white-haired woman called approvingly.

Cesare’s expression turned to cold fury, but Emma didn’t wait. She just ran for the elevator. She got her arm between the doors in time to step inside, next to the elderly couple. Trembling, she turned back to face the man she’d loved for seven years. The boss whose baby she now carried, though he did not know it.

Cesare was stalking toward her, his almost-naked body muscular and magnificent in the hallway of his own billion-dollar hotel.

“Come back,” he ground out, his dark eyes flashing. “I’m not done talking to you.”

Now, that was funny. In a tragic, heart-wrenching, want-to-burst-into-sobs kind of way. “I tried to talk to you. You wouldn’t let me. You were too terrified I’d say those three fatal words.” She gave a bitter laugh. “So here are two words for you instead.” Emma lifted glittering eyes to his. “I quit.”

And the elevator doors closed between them.


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