Caring for His Baby [Secure]
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by Caroline Anderson
Description: For the love of a tiny baby.... Emily thought she'd never see Harry again. Then he's suddenly on her doorstep--cradling a little baby in his arms! The man she once knew, so strong and sure, now looks lost, and when Emily discovers why he's come to her with this premature baby, she melts. For the love of a good man.... Harry once broke her heart and, now a single mom, Emily can't afford to let Harry and his child into her life. But she can't deny the growing love she feels for this special man and for their patchwork family...
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Romance,
eBookwise Release Date: November 2007
11 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats [Secure - What's this?]: OEBFF Format (IMP) [304 KB]
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SOMEONE was moving in.
It had been weeks since the last tenants had left, but there was a car on the drive and the lights were on.
Emily craned her neck and tried to catch a glimpse of the people, but she couldn't see through the trees. Not clearly enough, anyway. The branches kept drifting softly in the light breeze and blocking her view, and every time she shifted, so did the leaves.
And she was turning into a curtain twitcher, for heaven's sake!
She snapped the curtain shut and turned her back on the window, tucking up Freddie and smiling down at him. Gorgeous. He was just gorgeous, and she wanted to scoop him up and snuggle him.
Except he'd wake in a foul mood and the sweet little cherub would turn into a howling, raging tyrant. The terrible twos were well named, and he wasn't even there yet, not for five months!
She grinned and tiptoed out, blowing him a kiss and pulling the door to, just a little, before checking on his big sister. Beth was lying on her back, one foot stuck out the side, her tousled dark hair wisping across her face.
Emily eased the strand away from her eyes and feathered a kiss over her brow, then left her to sleep. There was a film on television starting in a few minutes that she'd been meaning to watch. If she could get the washing-up stacked in the dishwasher, she might even get to see it.
She hadn't even stepped off the last stair before she saw a shadow fall across the front door and a hand lift to tap lightly on the glass.
Her new neighbours?
She sighed inwardly and reached for the latch. She'd have to be polite. It wasn't in her to be anything else, but just for tonight it would have been nice to curl up in front of the television and be utterly self-indulgent. She'd even bought a tub of Belgian chocolate ice cream…
Her hand flew to her mouth, stifling the gasp, and then her eyes dropped, dragging away from his to focus on…
She blinked and looked again. Yes, definitely a baby. A tiny baby—very tiny, hardly old enough to be born, held securely against the broad chest she'd laid her head against so many times all those years ago.
'Oh, Harry!' She reached out and drew him in, going up on tiptoe to kiss his cheek and somehow resisting the urge to howl, because if there was a baby, then there was a woman, and if there was a woman…
She let him go before she did something silly. 'Gosh, it's been so long—how are you?' she asked, her voice not quite her own, her eyes scanning his face eagerly.
No, she didn't, despite seeing him on the television almost on a daily basis. She didn't have the slightest idea, but his mouth was twisting in a parody of a smile and he looked exhausted.
Actually, he looked a great deal more than exhausted. He looked fantastic. Tall, bronzed, his striking pale blue eyes crinkled at the corners from screwing them up in the sun in all the godforsaken trouble spots he spent his life in. He needed a shave, and his hair was overdue for a cut, the dark strands a little wild. Her fingers itched to touch them, to feel if they were still as soft as she remembered, but she couldn't. She didn't have the right. Apparently, while she hadn't been looking, he'd given that to some other woman.
He turned a fraction, so his head was blocking out the light and she could no longer see his eyes, so she glanced down and her heart jerked against her chest. The tiny babe was all but lost inside the big, square hands that cradled it so protectively, the little head with wild black hair sticking out from under the edges of the minuscule hat cupped securely by long, strong fingers.
Such a powerful image. Advertising had recognised the power of it decades ago, but here it was now, standing in her hallway, and she felt her knees weaken.
Her resolve was turning to mush, as well.
'You're back,' she said eventually, when she could get her brain to work. 'I saw the lights on. I didn't think it would be you.' Not after all these years. Not after last time…'Are you alone?'
'Yes. Just me and the baby.'
Just? Just? She nearly laughed out loud. There was nothing just about a baby, most especially not one that tiny. She wondered how long it would be before his wife joined them and rescued him. Later tonight? Tomorrow? Although she hadn't heard that he was married, but then he hadn't stayed in touch with her or her brother Dan, and she didn't keep her ear that close to the ground.
Liar! her conscience shrieked. Weekly checks on the Internet, avid scanning of the news, hanging on every word of his news reports…
'So where's the baby's mother? Does she trust you?' she asked, just because she couldn't stand the suspense another minute.
His smile twisted, and there was a little flicker of what could have been panic, but his eyes were sombre and there was something in them she just couldn't read. 'No mother,' he said expressionlessly. 'It's just us—me and the baby.'
Hope leapt in her chest, and she squashed it ruthlessly. Quite apart from the fact that there was a story here he wasn't telling her, another go-round with Harry Kavenagh was absolutely the last thing she needed for her peace of mind, but his reply answered why he was here, anyway, and there was no way she was getting suckered into that one! He could cope with the baby on his own, thank you very much!
Copyright © 2007 by Caroline Anderson.