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  Their Baby Miracle (Silhouette Special Edition), p.1

Their Baby Miracle (Silhouette Special Edition)
 

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Their Baby Miracle (Silhouette Special Edition)


  He’d already asked the nurse a hundred questions.

  He hadn’t sat down.

  He’d asked if there were information booklets he could read, Internet sites he could look up, doctors he could talk to—as if their baby’s health and survival depended on him knowing everything there was to know about state-of-the-art preemie treatment, the way his business success depended on him knowing everything about a particular company or market.

  It grated on Reba’s red raw nerves, and she wanted to yell at Lucas, “How is this going to help? Is this what our daughter really needs from you?”

  But nobody yelled at the NICU, and she wouldn’t yell at the father of her baby, who was here, when she hadn’t had a clue, eight hours ago, just how much she would need him.

  And just how close to him she would feel.

  Dear Reader,

  Get ready to counter the unpredictable weather outside with a lot of reading inside. And at Silhouette Special Edition we’re happy to start you off with Prescription: Love by Pamela Toth, the next in our MONTANA MAVERICKS: GOLD RUSH GROOMS continuity. When a visiting medical resident—a gorgeous California girl—winds up assigned to Thunder Canyon General Hospital, she thinks of it as a temporary detour—until she meets the town’s most eligible doctor! He soon has her thinking about settling down—permanently….

  Crystal Green’s A Tycoon in Texas, the next in THE FORTUNES OF TEXAS: REUNION continuity, features a workaholic businesswoman whose concentration is suddenly shaken by her devastatingly handsome new boss. Reader favorite Marie Ferrarella begins a new miniseries, THE CAMEO—about a necklace with special romantic powers—with Because a Husband Is Forever, in which a talk show hostess is coerced into taking on a bodyguard. Only, she had no idea he’d take his job title literally! In Their Baby Miracle by Lilian Darcy, a couple who’d called it quits months ago is brought back together by the premature birth of their child. Patricia Kay’s You’ve Got Game, next in her miniseries THE HATHAWAYS OF MORGAN CREEK, gives us a couple who are constantly at each other’s throats in real life—but their online relationship is another story altogether. And in Picking Up the Pieces by Barbara Gale, a world-famous journalist and a former top model risk scandal by following their hearts instead of their heads….

  Enjoy them all, and please come back next month for six sensational romances, all from Silhouette Special Edition!

  All the best,

  Gail Chasan

  Senior Editor

  THEIR BABY MIRACLE

  LILIAN DARCY

  Books by Lilian Darcy

  Silhouette Special Edition

  Balancing Act #1552

  Their Baby Miracle #1672

  Silhouette Romance

  The Baby Bond #1390

  Her Sister’s Child #1449

  Raising Baby Jane #1478

  *Cinderella After Midnight #1542

  *Saving Cinderella #1555

  *Finding Her Prince #1567

  Pregnant and Protected #1603

  For the Taking #1620

  The Boss’s Baby Surprise #1729

  LILIAN DARCY

  has written over fifty books for Silhouette Romance, Special Edition and Harlequin Medical Romance (Prescription Romance). Her first book for Silhouette appeared on the Waldenbooks Series Romance Bestsellers list, and she’s hoping readers go on responding strongly to her work. Happily married with four active children and a very patient cat, she enjoys keeping busy and could probably fill several more lifetimes with the things she likes to do—including cooking, gardening, quilting, drawing and traveling. She currently lives in Australia but travels to the United States as often as possible to visit family. Lilian loves to hear from readers. You can write to her at P.O. Box 381, Hackensack NJ 07602 or e-mail her at [email protected]

  Contents

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter One

  March in Biggins, Wyoming was cold.

  Lucas could feel the threat of snow hanging in the air as he climbed out of the top-of-the-range SUV his father had bought late last year for tooling around the Halliday Corporation’s newest ranch. Across the street, the Longhorn Steakhouse beckoned warm and bright, and he ignored his uncharacteristic hesitation about going in.

  Reba Grant would probably be there, working the big grill in the kitchen, behind the swing doors. He’d come here in the hope of seeing her—needing to see her, somehow—but that didn’t mean he looked forward to it. He knew it was likely to be a prickly and emotional meeting, uncomfortable for both of them.

  Pushing open the door, he was greeted by warm air that smelled of good food and fresh coffee, and by Friday night crowds that might camouflage his arrival for a little longer, if he wanted more time. A red-haired waitress showed him to a small table in the corner. She moved with harried efficiency, snapping a menu in front of him, and asking if he wanted something to drink.

  “Just water, thanks.”

  “Coming right up.”

  Her smile was short and small and landed somewhere over his left shoulder because she’d already turned away, which was just the way Reba had smiled at him the last time they’d met face to face, just before Christmas. They’d only had a short conversation, and it had felt awkward. He’d sensed her hostility. About a week after that, he’d seen her here in town and he was ninety-five percent sure that she’d seen him, too, but she’d quickly crossed the street and disappeared into the hardware store and they hadn’t talked.

  No, he didn’t want more time.

  They needed to talk tonight.

  Having spent most of the past two and a half months at his home base in New York working fifteen-hour days on Halliday corporate business, Lucas had been slow to reach this decision, but he was right on top of it now.

  They definitely needed to talk.

  Reba had no right to feel hostile, but apparently she did, and that could surely only mean one thing. She had no idea how much Lucas had shared her own grief for what they’d lost in November.

  He needed to tell her about his grief, here on her own territory, and they both needed to achieve some kind of closure and a way to handle the casual dealings they might occasionally need to have with each other in the future, now that he planned to spend more time at Seven Mile Ranch.

  Hang on, casual dealings?

  He questioned this word choice as soon as it flipped into his mind.

  There had never been anything casual about Reba Grant, and it wasn’t a word people often applied to Lucas himself, either. There certainly hadn’t been anything casual about the way they’d first connected six months ago, back in September. Just because neither of them had wanted or envisaged—or had had the courage and imagination to consider, was that it?—a future to their immediate attraction, that didn’t mean it had been casual.

  He looked at the waitress again, at her full tables and her waiting clientele. She had a strong, compact build, must only be in her late twenties—around Reba’s age—and seemed to have no trouble handling the workload. Just before the smile, she had thrown him a curious glance that suggested she knew exactly who he was, but still she would probably be a while getting back to him, the Halliday name notwithstanding.

  If Reba was working tonight, she would be run off her feet, too. Maybe he should wait b
efore seeking her out, but he didn’t want to. He’d only flown in from New York this afternoon, and he wanted to get this issue tabled and dealt with as soon as possible.

  He mentally decided on his order and watched the waitress disappear through the swing door to the kitchen, taking another table’s empty plates. With one elbow, she held it open for a second waitress, heading in the opposite direction. He glimpsed the choreographed chaos centered around the grill and the fryer, and yes, there was Reba’s back view. He recognized it easily—the odd combination of grace and toughness in the way she held herself, the glossy mass of her dark hair.

  Remembered desire flooded him like a tide.

  Remembered fulfilment, too.

  He knew how wildly that body moved in ecstasy. He remembered the creamy color and silky texture of her skin beneath her clothes, as if he’d seen and touched her yesterday. He knew the way her hair smelled, so simple and fragrant and good, and the throaty sound of her laugh.

  Yes, that was definitely Reba.

  Then, as the door swung closed again, she half-turned in order to reach for something, and for a moment he almost thought…

  No.

  Impossible.

  But he kept watching the door, and he stood up at his table, to get a better view.

  The door opened again within seconds, and this time what he saw left him in no doubt.

  Reba was pregnant.

  Still.

  When he’d believed until this moment that she’d lost their baby in a miscarriage during her first trimester late last year.

  “Somebody wants to talk to you,” Reba heard, but hardly took in which of the waitresses was speaking—definitely not Carla—because the woman had already disappeared again, carrying a pile of plates.

  She looked up from the grill, and Lucas Halliday stood there, turned to stone just as she’d known he would, the moment they encountered each other again. He had the same instant, powerful effect on her senses that she remembered with an intensity that was almost like pain, and deep down this didn’t surprise her, either.

  He looked every bit as angry as she’d expected, too, although she would challenge his right to feel that way, with all the energy she could muster.

  “This isn’t a good time, Lucas,” she said, steady-voiced.

  “From your perspective, maybe. From mine, it’s a very good time.” He shot a cold glance down at her bulging stomach. “You have a hell of a lot of explaining to do, Reba, overdue since we saw each other before Christmas, and I don’t see why I should wait any longer.”

  “We’re run off our feet.” Her body had been telling her so for an hour or more. Her stomach ached below the hard, rounded jut of her growing pregnancy. It was a dull sort of ache that tightened around her like an uncomfortable belt then eased, which meant that she forgot about it as she worked, then remembered it when it came again.

  “Take a break, Reba.” Her best friend Carla suddenly appeared, and touched her arm with a concerned gesture. She must already have seen that Lucas was here and she’d been hovering, waiting to step in when Reba needed her.

  The two of them had known each other since school. Carla worked here as a waitress, and she had two children, one of them still a baby. Had she felt this same nagging ache at this point during her pregnancies? Both times, she’d worked until just a couple of weeks before the babies were due, but she’d never mentioned any problems or pains.

  “I’m not scheduled for a break,” Reba answered her friend.

  Carla took no notice. “You need to talk to him,” she said in a low voice. “Might as well make it now. The guy looks as if he can’t decide whether to faint or punch a wall.”

  “Carla…”

  Lucas was still standing there, stony and angry and shocked, ready to erupt as soon as he could get her alone.

  “Twice you’ve thought it was over between the two of you, right?” Carla muttered. “Once in September, by mutual agreement, then again when you miscarried the twin in November. You have a history with him, Reba.”

  “And a future, too.” Reba closed her eyes. Some kind of future, good or bad. He was the father of this baby, and it was already clear to her that he wasn’t going to let the issue go. “Okay, Carla, I know.”

  “Gordie not in tonight, Reba?” The steakhouse’s newest waitress slipped by and threw the cheerful, familiar question at her, apparently oblivious to a tension in the air that had nothing to do with Gordie McConnell. Reba’s long relationship with Gordie had been over for more than eight months, although Gordie and half of Biggins didn’t seem to have gotten this straight in their heads, yet.

  Reba gritted her teeth. “Haven’t seen him, Dee,” she answered.

  Carla hissed in her ear, “Go. Now. Manager’s office. Your place, even. Talk to Lucas. Before Gordie does show up and make this even harder.” She stole the metal steak flipper out of Reba’s hand and pushed her toward the swing door. “Someone else can cover for you.”

  “I have a table in the corner,” Lucas offered, his voice cold and his body wound tight.

  “No. I’m not talking about this here, in front of half of Biggins,” Reba answered him. “We’ll go into the manager’s office, like Carla suggested.” She began to move in that direction at once, and he followed her, practically breathing down her neck.

  “I’m glad you appreciate that we have some talking to do,” he said.

  “It would be a little pointless to deny it, at this stage.”

  “But you were planning to, if I hadn’t shown up.”

  “No, I guess I knew you’d have to find out eventually. I was hoping it wouldn’t be until after the baby was born. And I should make it clear to you, Lucas, I don’t consider that you’re involved.”

  “How in hell can I not be involved? Is this why you were so cool before Christmas? You were afraid I’d guess?”

  “No. I didn’t know, then. I was angry, and I had good reason to be.”

  But he’d focused on her first words, not her claim about anger. “You didn’t know? That doesn’t make sense.”

  “It will in a minute.” She opened the manager’s office.

  “Good, because I’m keen to hear,” he drawled, his voice as hard as whetstone. He entered the cramped office behind her and shut the door with a snap. The noise level from the restaurant fell away. “What I’m seeing is impossible. So start from the beginning. Tell me how in hell you staged that scene at the restaurant in Cheyenne, and at the hospital. Never mind my untrained eye, how did you convince a doctor that you’d lost the baby?”

  She shook her head. “I can’t believe you think I’d do that.”

  “I wouldn’t, without the evidence. But I tend to trust facts, not feelings.”

  “I never staged anything, Lucas.” She turned to face him, feeling that strange and almost painful belt-tightening feeling again, around her stomach and across her back. As usual, it soon faded. Her desire for a comfortable chair and a pillow to support her lower spine remained, destined to stay unfulfilled.

  With its littered desk and single chair, the office was way too cluttered for this confrontation, but she was glad she’d chosen privacy over space, all the same. Lucas Halliday still looked too good, in her eyes, still filled her with all the wildly contrasting feelings he’d generated in her almost six months ago, and again in November. Anger and resentment, unwilling interest in just what made him tick, steaming attraction, dawning respect.

  “And that’s not the beginning, anyhow, and you know it,” she finished.

  “So start with your definition of the beginning,” he said. “That first afternoon in the cabin? The night we tried to say goodbye at the door of my motel room? The day you came to see me out at the ranch in November?”

  “None of those times.”

  “No, I guess not. I guess it goes farther back, doesn’t it?”

  Their eyes locked together. His looked dark and clouded with multiple layers of memory, and she knew he would have to define “the beginning” the same
way as she did—the day, last September, when they’d first met…

  Chapter Two

  Lucas Halliday had no problem with buying a ranch for his father. He’d already bought four of them, over the past two years. All four had proved good investments, with his own regular visits to oversee things, and with the right people in place to run them.

  This new purchase, however, was different. Dad’s latest wife—the third since his long-ago divorce from Lucas’s mother—had developed a very pretty fantasy about buying a real cattle ranch to use as a fourth home. Fifth, if you counted the yacht.

  Raine wanted watercolor mountain views, a Vogue Living log cabin, movie soundtrack mooing steers—odorless, naturally—and a Fountain of Youth fishing stream. Dad was happy to go along with all of that, as long as the ranch paid its own way, just like the others did.

  Lucas had been tasked with locating this impossible combination. He’d narrowed the search to southern Wyoming, because of its relative proximity to Colorado ski resorts and the airline hub city of Denver, and eliminated two properties, sight unseen. If he couldn’t give Dad and Raine a good report on Seven Mile he planned to tell them they could continue the quest on their own. He preferred cool-headed corporate takeovers to fantasy fulfilment for spoiled stepmothers, any day.

  Having told the realtor that he would need three days to look over the place properly, he intended to be out of Wyoming and on a plane back to New York within half a day if Seven Mile fell short of Broadbent’s glowing description.

  He got into Denver on a late flight, rented a car, drove north through Fort Collins to Laramie to get a better impression of the region, then southwest to Biggins. By the time he’d checked into the town’s best motel and eaten a late and surprisingly good meal in the quietest corner of the Longhorn Steakhouse, he was pretty convinced he’d be heading out of here tomorrow.

 
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