From the book
THE shock silenced him. In the dimly lit room he heard nothing but his thundering heartbeat. And the voices in his head saying, it isn't true. Can't be!
Blake fought the red mist that clouded his brain. Generations of his ancestors must have been born, slept and finally died in the opulent surroundings of this vast bedroom. Yet he doubted that any of them had ever heard such a devastating outburst as this.
You are not the legitimate heir. You are...my love-child. His mother's words spun around his head, destroying his ability to reason. It took a supreme effort of will for him to recover his senses. Seconds more before he realised there was a logical explanation. Her mind must be confused from the intensive course of medication.
Deeply distressed for her and with his concern for her uppermost in his thoughts, he masked his own chaotic feelings and sought to calm her. "I've tired you with our chatting, Mother. I think you should sleep," he advised gently.
Kay Bellamie's eyes blazed with anger, the only living sign in the once-beautiful face that was now a puttycoloured mask of imminent death.
"Don't treat me as if I'm mad!" she croaked. "I'm perfectly sane. You are not a Bellamie! I want you to know that!"
"Mother!" Blake winced at her insistence, and at the destruction of her lyrical, fluting voice.
"It's the truth! You have no right to the inheritance. Look at yourself!" she flared. "Do you think you have Bellamie blood? Where is your blond hair? Your fat gut?
Your bulbous nose? I know who fathered you. It was my lover, I tell you!"
He couldn't bring himself to humour her. This was too painful and must be stopped. "Take it easy," he cautioned. "Perhaps you've been dreaming--"
"No!" Her skeletal hand clutched at his, its bony fingers a series of white claws against his healthily tanned skin. "Do you know why I refused to allow you to be called after a Bellamie ancestor? I broke with tradition because I was desperate to keep something of your father. A name that linked you with him--"
'Blake?" He frowned, his inky brows two uncomprehending angles.
His mother looked at him as if she saw someone else and he felt fear clutch at his stomach with a scouring ferocity. No, he thought in silent horror. Don't let it be true!
"No, I daren't use his name. Blake means dark." For a brief moment her eyes closed and he felt a pang to see the blue pallor of her lids. "You've seen your baby photos," she grated. "You know you were born with masses of raven hair. Like my lover's." A far-away smile lifted her thin lips for a moment. "Dear God, Blake!" she went on vehemently. "I know this is hard but, for your own sake, accept what I'm telling you! My mind is crystal clear. I've carried this secret all your life and I must unburden myself before I die. For the last time, you are not the son of Darcy Bellamie!"
Exhausted, she let her hand fall away to lie limply at her side. Slowly, reluctantly, his gaze flickered in the direction of the oil painting of his father over the baroque mantelpiece. A chill settled deep within his spine and from ice. How many people had commented on the total lack of resemblance?
Every ounce of his strength seemed to leave him. Once again, rational thought had become suspended. Utterly motionless, he sat like a zombie beside her rumpled bed, feeling as if he'd been poleaxed.
What was she saying? Why? his brain screamed. But he held back his raging emotion, crushing it remorselessly as he'd been instructed every day of his childhood until he had become adept at hiding his tempestuous...