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by Edna Curry
Description: After secretly donating sperm so his sterile identical twin brother, Don, can pretend to father a child, Dave Langer finds himself in a legal quandary. Don and his wife Jenny have died, and Jenny asked her sister to adopt the baby boy, Cory. Dave has no proof Cory is his. Cathy Kassig, illustrator, loves the baby but has money problems that Dave could solve if only she'd let him. Dave convinces her to come live near him and allow him to help her. Thus, he gets a second chance to at least be near and get to know his son. Only his son's new mother is wildly attractive--and falling in love was not on his agenda. When she learns he's the baby's father, she's afraid he and his rich family will take the baby away. Can they learn to trust each other and get along?
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, 2010
eBookwise Release Date: April 2010
21 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [241 KB]
Reading time: 156-219 min.
"You want me to father your child?" Dave Langer's office chair snapped upright, and his eyes widened as he stared at his brother. "No way! Have you been drinking?"
Don shook his head. "No, I'm perfectly sober."
"Then you're crazy."
"Well, maybe I am. Crazy with wanting a family and not being able to have one." Don got up from the brown leather swivel chair and strode to the large office window. Rubbing the back of his neck with a trembling hand, he stared morosely at the Minneapolis skyline below.
Dave swallowed the wave of sympathy for his brother's plight that threatened to change his mind. "I know, and I'm sorry, but..."
Don swung back to face him, a stubborn look creasing his full dark brows. "Think about it. We're identical twins. That means we have the same DNA, so your sperm can pass the same genes to my baby as mine would have, if I hadn't had the bad fortune to contract mumps back in high school."
"Well, yeah, but..." He shifted in his chair.
"What's the problem?" Don lifted his hands. "You think I won't take full responsibility for the baby? Might make you pay in some way? You know better than that."
"Yeah, I do. It's not that, Don."
"Then what? It's too embarrassing to donate some sperm at the doctor's office?"
Dave cast his twin a frowning glance. "Come on, Don. That's no problem. You know I've donated sperm before, back in college." And he remembered Don had refused to go, afraid even then of what the doctor might tell him.
"Yeah, I remember," Don said. "That's what gave me the idea. Jenny wants a baby so bad. I told you she's talked about it nonstop for the past two years. Now, she's talking about going to a sperm bank back home in California to get pregnant."
"But you don't want to raise someone else's child," Dave guessed.
"I would, if there was no way to have my own. But there is...if you'll just cooperate. Jenny told her doctor my sperm count was just low, so he's agreed to do the artificial insemination for her. I know it's not the usual way, but it would mean everything to us."
Dave hated the way Don's brown eyes pleaded with him. He picked up his coffee mug and sipped the fragrant brew. How often had they negotiated in just this way over the years? Don always could talk him into anything.
"So this is the 'important family emergency' that you flew back from California to talk to me about?"
Don's chin rose in that stubborn way he had. "It may not look important to a bachelor like you, but it's very important to me and Jenny."
"I know, but jeez, Don, this is more than borrowing a sweater or even a car." Dave rolled a pencil around in his fingers, then laid it down carefully.
Don's eyes filled with tears. "Yeah, Bro. It's giving me back my manhood."
"Aw, Don..." Dave had pushed away all thoughts of fathering a child after his divorce. That had been the cause of many of the arguments with his ex-wife, Diane. He'd wanted kids, she hadn't. He didn't want to think about that now. He liked his life as a free and easy bachelor with no complications. One foray into marriage that ended in a bitter divorce was enough for any man. He'd learned his lesson the hard way.
"Come on, Dave. It's not that hard. Nobody will ever know except you and me."
Dave sent him a disbelieving glance. "And Jenny. And the doctor."
Don met his eyes. "Well, no, not even Jenny and the doctor. She doesn't even know I'm here in Minneapolis. I told her I had a business meeting to go to today. I don't want Jenny to even know you're in California, or she might get suspicious. I want you to just go in to her clinic and donate the sperm, pretending to be me."
Dave's eyebrow lifted. "Why the deception?"
Don looked away. "I never told Jenny about having the mumps or being left sterile from them."
Frowning, Dave asked, "You never told her? Why the hell not?"
His brother pulled a shoulder and flushed, looking at the skyline again. "Being sterile is not exactly something a man brags about. I...I meant to tell her, but when she started talking about a baby with those stars in her eyes, well, damn it," he looked back at Dave, "I just couldn't squash all her hopes, could I? I mean, back when I was a teen, the doc never said I'd be sterile for sure. He only said it was a possibility."
"So, I was still hoping it wasn't true, I guess. But after two years of trying with no luck, we started doing some tests, she with her doctor and me with mine. Hers said there was no reason she couldn't have a baby and the problem must be with me. Mine said there was no way I could father a child. I was just floored, you know?"
"But you didn't confide in Jenny?"
Don shook his head. "I told her my doc said my sperm count was real low and that we'd have a better chance if she allowed me to give her doc my sperm and he made sure it got where it's supposed to go."
"What if her doctor can tell it's me and not you?"
Shrugging, Don said, "How would he know? Most people can't tell us apart when we're together. He doesn't know I even have a brother, much less a twin. If you fly out, go to her doctor's clinic and donate the sperm as though you were me, no one will know any different. Who would care, anyway? It's nobody else's business. You'll come back to Minnesota and no one will know about it. I'll pay all your expenses, of course."
"I can pay my own damn expenses. That's not what I'm worried about."
Don grinned, obviously accepting the comment as evidence of his brother's weakening. "Then you'll do it?"
Dave chewed his lip. How could he deny his twin something that meant so much to him? Especially when it would cost him so little? "All right."
"All right!" With a wide grin, Don came over and clapped him on the shoulder. "I've got plane tickets back to L.A. for us for this evening. I have an appointment to donate sperm at her clinic at nine tomorrow morning. Jenny says this week is her most likely time to get pregnant. So, if you'll go over in the morning and do it, we'll have a good chance of succeeding the first time."
Dave laughed. "Before I change my mind, you mean?"
Don shrugged. He sat down and picked up his coffee. "Yeah, that too. Okay?"
"Okay. What if it doesn't work on the first try?"
"Well then, we'll just have to repeat this little charade in a couple months, won't we?"