“You’re Going To Help Me Have A Child?” Katie Asked Cautiously.
“I spent most of the night thinking about it, and if you’re agreeable, then yes, I’ll help you.”
“Agreeable? Just what would I be agreeing to?”
“I want joint custody,” Jeremiah said. “This will be the only child I ever have. I intend to be part of his life.”
Katie considered what he said. “I suppose we could work out—”
He held out his hand. “Before you agree, you’d better hear me out.”
“You have more stipulations?” she asked incredulously.
“Why do I get the idea I’m not going to like your next demand?”
He shrugged. “You never know. You might enjoy it.”
A fresh wave of goose bumps slid along her arms and every instinct in her being told her to turn and run as far and as fast as she possibly could in the opposite direction. Instead, she swallowed hard and asked, “What is it?”
Jeremiah nodded. “I’d make love to you until you became pregnant.”
Baby at His Convenience
MILLS & BOON
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lives in her native southern Illinois with her husband and one very spoiled Jack Russell terrier. She writes highly sensual stories with a generous amount of humor. Kathie’s books have appeared on the Waldenbooks bestseller list and received the Write Touch Readers’ Award from WisRWA and the National Readers’ Choice Award. She enjoys going to rodeos, traveling to research settings for her books and listening to country music. Readers may contact Kathie at: P.O. Box 2064, Herrin, Illinois 62948-5264 or e-mail her at [email protected]
To my mother, Margie Ridings, who loves the Smoky Mountains as much as I do.
And to the memory of Charles and Barbara Anne Henson. May your legacy of love and laughter live on in the lives of your children.
Dr. Braden’s gently worded warning still echoed in Katie Andrews’s ears as she stepped out of the Dixie Ridge Clinic into the bright June sunshine.
“With your family history of early menopause, I’m afraid time might be running out for you, Katie. If you intend to have children, it’s time to start looking at your options.”
At the age of thirty-four, most women weren’t faced with the possibility of going through the change of life for at least ten or fifteen years. Unfortunately, Katie wasn’t one of them. Every one of her female relatives had started into menopause by the time they were thirty-six. By the time they turned forty, they’d completed the change and their baby-making years were permanently behind them.
Katie bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling. It might already be too late for her to have a child. Her sister Carol Ann and her husband waited until they were in their mid-thirties and had to resort to fertility drugs in order for Carol Ann to become pregnant. The result had been a set of quadruplets.
Katie took a deep, shuddering breath. Although she wanted to have more than one child, she would much rather have them one at a time, instead of all at once. Poor Carol Ann had been so overwhelmed by the demands of taking care of four infants that their parents had left Katie to manage the Blue Bird Café for them, and moved out to California to help their stressed out oldest daughter.
Glancing at her watch, she stuffed the brochure Dr. Braden had given her into her shoulder bag. She’d have to put her baby-making crisis on hold until she closed the café this afternoon.
Right now, she was needed back at the Blue Bird. And if she didn’t get there before the lunch rush, Helen McKinney would probably quit on the spot and Katie’s parents would never forgive her for losing the best short-order cook in all of eastern Tennessee.
A distant rumble from down the road grew louder and just as she was about to cross the road, a big, shiny red-and-black Harley Davidson roared into a parking space in front of the Blue Bird. The man riding the powerful machine nodded when Katie hurried passed him on the way to the café’s entrance, but she couldn’t say he actually looked her way as he turned off the motorcycle and removed his mirrored sunglasses.
That wasn’t unusual. Since riding into town two months ago, Jeremiah Gunn hadn’t become friendly with anyone but Harv Jenkins. In fact, all that anyone seemed to know about him was that he’d moved into Granny Applegate’s old place up on Piney Knob and came down every day to eat lunch and talk fly-fishing with Harv. Otherwise, the big man kept to himself. And if his body language was any indication, he wanted it to stay that way.
But to her surprise, when she started to open the café door, a long muscular arm reached around her to take hold of the handle. Glancing over her shoulder, she swallowed hard. It was the first time she’d stood this close to the mysterious Mr. Gunn and she was shocked to find that she had to look up to meet his chocolate-brown gaze. At a fraction of an inch shorter than six feet tall herself, that didn’t happen often.
His chest barely brushing her shoulders as he pulled the door open, caused her skin to tingle. “Th-thank you, Mr. Gunn,” she stammered, unsure of why she suddenly felt so rattled.
“The name’s Jeremiah.” There was no trace of emotion in his deep baritone, but the sound of it made her heart skip a beat.
Hurrying into the café, Katie put distance between them. Something about being close to the man made her knees weak and had her wondering if she’d lost her mind.
“It’s about time you showed up,” Helen McKinney called through the open window behind the lunch counter. “I’m already covered up with orders.”
“I’m sorry,” Katie apologized. She shoved her purse beneath the counter and reached for an apron hanging on a peg beside the cash register. “Doc was running a little late with his morning appointments.”
Helen’s irritated expression instantly turned to one of concern. “Are you all right?”
Katie nodded. “It was just my annual physical and other than