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The Baby Clause
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A steamy Christmas romance you won’t want to miss!
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Pushing my way through the Blind Pig’s heavy tinted glass doors was my first mistake.
I should have gone with my first instinct and raided the mini-bar in my hotel room. That’s exactly what I would have done had I not happened to have walked past the window and noticed the elegant old brick building across the street. And the somewhat old-fashioned sign hanging over the huge doors welcoming people to The Blind Pig and promising the best spirits they’d ever tasted.
Given my black mood, I told myself that going there, surrounding myself with people, was smarter than sitting alone in a darkened hotel room. While attempting to drink myself out of my misery, while staring at my laptop and while struggling to read the psychological and physiological profiles of one girl after another.
Now I am here, surrounded by at least a hundred and fifty strangers, each one laughing and having the time of their lives, while black-clad waiters transport trays of drinks from point A to point B. At the far end of the cavernous room, revelers are dancing to the upbeat music provided by an honest-to-goodness live five-piece jazz band.
The entire place feels alien.
It’s like no bar I’ve ever set foot in before. Dim lighting, lots of gleaming chrome and soft glowing wood. In addition to tall tables and chairs, customers can also choose to sit on huge, overstuffed couches with low tables in front of them that are placed along the perimeter of the room.
Halloween decorations that consist of pumpkins, bats, and a few skeletons adorn the walls.
This isn’t the place for me. Everything about it is designed to shake a person out of their foul mood, help them find a silver lining. That’s the last thing I want or need. I should be in a shadowy biker bar where I can nurse one beer after another and stew about just how rotten this entire day has been.
I should turn around and head back to the hotel. But I don’t. I wind my way past the table, ignoring the bursts of laughter and constant din of cheerful conversation until I reach the bar. I sit on the one empty stool, which is right beside a couple who are too engrossed in one another to realize I’m there.
My second mistake of the evening.
Three bartenders wearing dark blazers and fedoras fill ornate glasses and pass them to the hovering waitstaff. A long woman dressed in a short, beaded, bright red flapper dress rattles a heavy cocktail shaker while she laughs at something one of the patrons has said. I stare at her, taking in the way the dress hugs her delectable backside and how her generous breasts jiggle with each exuberant move of her arm.
She removes the lid from the shaker and pours the contents into a waiting martini glass, which she pushes toward the customer. Still laughing at whatever joke he’s told her, she turns away. Her bright blue eyes clash with mine.
Mistake number three.
Holy Mother of …
I cancel the direction of my thoughts before they cross into blasphemous territory and rip my gaze away from the dark stare of the man who has just sat down at my bar. His magnetic presence caught my eye the second he pushed his way through the front door. I watched him pause, take in everything the Blind Pig has to offer. For a moment, my heart stopped when it looked like he was going to turn around and leave just as quickly as he’d come.
Please don’t, I silently whispered.
I don’t know why, but there was something about him that spoke to something deep, almost primordial, inside of me, and I knew I needed to get to know him as badly as I needed to draw my next breath.
Responsibilities be damned, if he’d walked out that door, I would have tossed the drink I was mixing aside and chased after him.
But he didn’t leave. Not only is he still here, but he’s sitting at the bar, just a handful of feet away from me.
Now that he’s here, I just need to figure out what to do with him.
A bead of sweat races down the length of my spine as I fight the twin urges to both hurry toward him and to turn and run far away.
I sneak a peek from beneath my lashes. Yep, he’s still sitting there and he’s just as magnetic as he was a second ago when our eyes met.
I don’t know who he is or why he’s here, but every single fiber of my being senses he’s going to complicate my life just as much as the revenuer messed up my great-granddaddy’s moonshine empire.
“Earth to Lara.” Tracy’s unmistakable nasal voice captures my attention and I turn to her.
“What is it, Trace?” The sound of my voice makes me wince. I sound too breathless, too distracted. It doesn’t escape Tracy’s attention.