Billionaire Donovan Tolley had it all--money, smarts and sex appeal. But none of that would get him what he craved--Cassidy Franzone, back in his bed. Now. He had to marry to keep his family's company, and Cassidy was the woman he wanted. But when he found his runaway lover, she was almost nine months pregnant! The baby had to be his. But convincing Cassidy to marry him without love on the table was one negotiation this cunning billionaire might not win....
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August 11, 2008
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Excerpt from Baby Business by Katherine Garbera
"You're a lifesaver," Cassidy Franzone said as she opened her front door.
At thirty-four weeks pregnant, she needed food when she wanted it. She was single and fine with that. She'd made the choice to have her baby on her own, but she hated going out in Charleston's August heat to pick up her favorite she-crab soup if she didn't have to.
Her father had put his employees at her disposal. If she needed anything, no matter what time of day it was, someone on the staff at Franzone Waste Management was available.
The man standing in the doorway wasn't her father's employee. In fact, he was the father of her child.
Cassidy gaped at Donovan Tolley. He was still the most attractive man she'd ever seen. His thick hair-- hair she'd loved to run her fingers through--lifted in the warm summer breeze. His designer clothes were tailored perfectly to his frame--not for vanity's sake, but because he liked quality.
"What are you doing here?" she asked. She hoped that she sounded nonchalant, as if the reason was not important, but she couldn't help but cover her stomach with one arm protectively. How had Donovan found out that she was pregnant? Or had he?
Maybe it was the fact that she was so hungry, or maybe it had just been so long--almost eight months, to be exact--since she'd seen him. But she felt a sting of tears in the back of her eyes as Donovan smiled at her.
"Can I come in? I don't want to talk to you in the doorway." He seemed a bit dazed. As he pushed his sunglasses up to the top of his head she saw in his eyes that he was busy processing her pregnancy.
"What do you want to talk about?" she asked. What if he didn't believe he was the father of her child? What exactly did he want? And why the hell was she still attracted to this man after he'd broken her heart and left her alone for almost eight months?
He eyed her belly and arched one eyebrow. "Your pregnancy, for starters."
She hadn't told Donovan that she was pregnant with his child, but then again he'd made his views on children quite clear when he'd made his rather businesslike marriage proposal to her. "I know everything I need to about how you feel about kids."
"I'm not so sure about that. Invite me in, Cassidy. I need to talk to you. And I'm not going away."
She hesitated. She would have shut the door on any other man, but then she wouldn't be pregnant with any other man's child. Donovan was the only man she'd ever loved. Still, she didn't need this kind of tension right now.
She was hungry, the baby was moving around and she wasn't exactly sure she wanted to send Donovan on his way. That wasn't like her. She'd always been very decisive, but lately she hadn't been herself.
She felt a bit faint, probably due to the heat. She made up her mind to send Donovan away. She'd deal with him after the baby was born, when she had her act together.
A late-model black-windowed Mercedes pulled into her driveway and Cassidy smiled. Finally her food was here.
"Got your soup, Ms. Cassidy."
"Thank you, Jimmy," she said as the young man handed her a brown bag. He nodded at her as she took the bag and then he left.
Donovan smiled. "Crab Shack?"
She nodded. She always tried not to focus on the fact that the soup she loved so much came from the place where she and Donovan had eaten at least once a week while they'd been together. The Crab Shack was a famous Charleston institution.
"I'll keep you company while you eat," he said.
"I don't think so. We can talk later this week. I'll call your assistant."
"I'm not leaving, Cassidy."
"Are you going to force your way into my house?" she asked.
"No," he said, bracing one arm on the door frame and leaning in over her. "You're going to invite me in."
His cologne was one-of-a-kind, made for him by an exclusive perfumery in France, and at this moment she really hated that company because Donovan smelled so good. The scent reminded her of the many times she'd lain cuddled close to his side with her head on his chest.
"Cassidy, baby, please let me in," he said, leaning closer so that his words were more of a whisper.
Everything feminine inside of her went nuts. Her breasts felt fuller and her nipples tightened against the fabric of her bra. Her skin felt more sensitive, her lips dry. She wet them with her tongue and saw his eyes narrow as he watched her.
"Is there anything I can do to convince you to go away?"
"No. I've missed you, Cassidy, and leaving is the last thing I want to do."
She hated the little thrill she got when he said he'd missed her. She tried to be nonchalant when she stepped back so that he could enter her house.
Donovan closed the front door behind them and she hesitated in the foyer of her own home. She should have never let him back into her house. She wasn't going to be able to keep any kind of distance between them. Face-to-face with Donovan again, all she could think about was sex. About being back in his arms one last time.