It's the happiest day of Hannah Callahan's life when she brings her new daughter home to Texas. But what would make the new mother really happy is a daddy to complete their unconventional family.Hannah's friend Joe Daugherty would make a perfect father. Ever since he helped bring her adopted baby back from Taiwan, he's bonded with her in a way Hannah never dreamed possible. But the world-hopping travel writer never stays in one place long enough to form any lasting ties.Until Hannah and her baby start working their special magic. This could be Joe's one true chance to be part of the family he's always wanted--with a wife and daughter to cherish and protect forever.
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July 07, 2008
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Excerpt from Hannah's Baby by Cathy Gillen Thacker
Hannah Callahan stood on the porch of her childhood home, savoring the cool breeze of a perfect summer morning, watching dawn streak across the vast mountains. She had grown up in Summit, Texas, and although she had spent most of her post-college years living out of a suitcase in hotels all over the world, she was glad to leave those nomad days behind her. Glad to be starting a new chapter of her life.
A dark-green Land Rover made its way up the quiet residential street.
Hannah acknowledged the driver and wrestled her suitcase down the broad wooden steps of the prairie-style home.
Thirty-five-year-old Joe Daugherty left the motor running and met her halfway up the sidewalk. He was dressed in loose fitting trousers and a vibrant striped shirt that brought out the evergreen hue of his eyes. As always, the sheer size of his rugged six-foot-three frame dwarfed her considerably smaller body.
Hannah shifted her gaze from his broad shoulders, trying not to notice how petite she felt in his presence. She and Joe had met five months earlier. He'd come into the store, and the two of them had hit it off immediately. She'd been instantly and undeniably attracted to the sexy adventurer. He had seemed similarly interested. Had she not been so ready to settle down, and had he planned to stay in the area for more than the six months it took to research and write his book, maybe they would have gotten together. But Hannah was not interested in beginning an affair that would only have to end, so they'd relegated each other to the category of casual friend, nothing more. The fact he was going on this trip with her was a fluke, the kind of favor not likely to be repeated. She needed to remember that.
The emotion simmering inside her this morning had nothing to do with the arresting features of his masculine face, or the way the short strands of his hair gleamed against the suntanned hue of his skin. Nor did it have anything to do with the amount of time she was going to be spending with Joe Daugherty over the next week. Her racing pulse was caused by the continuing tension between her and the only family she had left. Anticipation of the events to come...
Oblivious to her tumultuous thoughts, Joe slipped his strong hand beneath hers to grip the handle on her wheeled twenty-six-inch suitcase. "This all the luggage you've got?"
Hannah nodded around the sudden lump in her throat and clasped the red canvas carryall of important papers and travel necessities closer to her body. "I just need to stop by the Mercantile and say goodbye to my dad." Try one last time to talk some sense into him.
Joe fit her suitcase next to his and shut the tailgate. "No problem." He slid behind the wheel while she jumped in to ride shotgun. He looked over his shoulder as he backed out of the drive. "We've got plenty of time."
But not enough to change her dad's mind. Hannah swallowed, beset by nerves once again. "Thanks for going with me."
Joe shrugged and flashed her a sexy half smile. "Hey. It's not every day somebody offers me an all expense paid trip to Taiwan."
"Seriously." He sent her a brief telling look that spoke volumes about his inherently understanding nature. "You need somebody to accompany you who has a current passport and no fear of the complexities of international travel. Someone who knows that particular region of Asia, not to mention the language, and is footloose and fancy-free enough to be able to drop everything and go once you got the word it was time."
Stipulations that had narrowed the field of possible travel companions considerably. Glad he was not reading anything else into the invitation she had issued him, Hannah relaxed and settled back in her seat. "Ah, the virtues of being an adventure-loving travel writer," she teased.
Joe braked for an armadillo taking his time about crossing the road. As he waited, he grinned at her. "Versus the virtues of being a marketing whiz turned entrepreneur?"
His praise made her flush. Pretending her self-conscious-ness had nothing to do with him, Hannah wrinkled her nose. "You can't really call me an entrepreneur since the business I'm going to run--if I can ever get my dad to retire--has been in the family since Summit was founded in 1847." Since then the mountain town had gone from an isolated but beautiful trading post for ranchers and settlers to a popular getaway and tourist attraction.
The armadillo finally hit the berm. Hands clasping the wheel, Joe drove on. "The changes you want to make are good ones."
He was one of the few people who had seen Hannah's plans to turn around the slowly diminishing family business. Hannah caught a whiff of cinnamon roll as they passed the bakery. "Tell that to my dad."
"I have, a time or two." Joe pressed his lips together ruefully. "Not that he's inclined to listen to an East Coast city slicker like me."