Jared and Kate are separated when they find themselves guardians of an orphaned baby. The one hitch is, for them both to be guardians, they have to stay married! A marriage of convenience seems the only option....
Soon they have to pull together for the tiny baby in their care and the spark that had gone from their relationship is reignited. Can this baby help them to heal their hearts and ensure they have a marriage worth waiting for, a marriage finally for keeps?
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April 10, 2007
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Excerpt from Marriage for Baby by Melissa McClone
Standing on the sidewalk outside the lawyer's
office, Kate Malone stared at the double glass doors. She still had a few minutes until her appointment. No reason to rush inside.
She raised her face to the cloudless, blue sky. the spring sunshine heated her cheeks. Sun kisses. That's what Susan called them.
The unusually warm April temperature reminded Kate of their college graduation eight years ago. She had approached the proceedings as a necessary step, one more thing to mark off her To Do List on the way to the top, but not her best friend, Susan. Unlike Kate, Susan had relished every moment of the drawn-out ceremony in the sweltering ninety-degree heat. She'd bounced across the stage, tossed her University of Oregon diploma box in the air and twirled around.
A smiled tugged on Kate's lips. Susan always lived life to the fullest. Or rather."
Until a driver fell asleep at the wheel and collided head-on with Susan's car two days ago here in Boise, Idaho.
Tears stung Kate's eyes. Grief slashed through her. How could Susan be dead? Susan, so full of life, so full of love. Susan, with her adoring husband, Brady, and their cute baby, Cassidy."
All three had died in the crash.
Kate swallowed, hard.
No. She couldn't lose control now.
She didn't have a tissue. Or the time.
She needed to hold herself together during the meeting with Susan and Brady's attorney. Once Kate checked into her hotel, she could fall apart, but not until then.
Squaring her shoulders, she pushed open one of the doors to the law office and stepped inside. A blast of cool air hit her. Goose bumps prickled on her arms. the sight of the empty receptionist desk deflated her resolve. Her composure slipped a notch. Now that she was inside, she wanted to get this over with.
The familiar male voice made her stiffen.
Jared. She wasn't ready to face him. Not now. Possibly not ever. And yet she found herself turning in the direction of his voice.
As Jared rose from a leather club chair, her breath caught in her throat. He wore a tailored gray suit and the multicolored silk tie she'd given him for his thirty-first birthday.
Five years ago when Brady and Susan had introduced them, Jared Reed had been a twenty-something single woman's fantasy. he'd gotten only more handsome. Kate's heart thudded. She wished she still didn't find him so attractive.
His square jaw and slightly crooked nose-- from a snowboarding accident when he was a teenager--gave his face the right amount of rugged character to offset his long lashes and lush lips. She couldn't believe how much his hair had grown in the last three months. Normally he went for the short, corporate cut, but the wavy, carefree style suited him better.
Not that she cared.
His hazel-green eyes met hers. "How are you?, "I-I'm--" Her voice cracked. Tears blurred her vision. Oh, no. She didn't want him to see her like this.
Kate blinked. Once, twice. "I'm so sorry, Katie." He was at her side in an instant and brushed his lips across her forehead.
"So very sorry."
At the best of times, she struggled to remain indifferent to him, but his tender gesture and simple, yet sincere words shattered her defenses. She sunk against him, breathing in his familiar soap and water scent, drawing in the welcome comfort of his hard chest.
Stop--now, logic shouted.
Get away--now, common sense cried.
But Kate didn't want to listen. She didn't care if her actions went against rational thought. Jared understood what she was going through. He was going through the same thing.
"I'm sorry, too," she choked out. "it's so--" He wrapped his arms around her. "Horrible." She hugged him. "I keep thinking it's a mistake or I'm going to wake up and it's all been a bad dream."
"Me, too," he admitted. "As soon as I heard, I called your office. they said you were out of town."
"I didn't want to leave a message."