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Expecting a Bolton Baby

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Okay, so they weren’t going to talk about Mickey. Which left him out of ideas. If she wasn’t going to give him anything to go on, what could he do?

Luckily, Stella saved him from himself. “This is lovely,” she said, looking around the trailer again. She managed to sound ironic and humorous and cutting.

“Isn’t it?” he said, relieved to have a conversational opening. “Nothing but the best. I have a condo downtown,” he felt compelled to add. “But that’s just until the resort is finished. I’m going to live on-site when it’s done.”

Man, this was not going well. That came out as if he was trying too hard. Which he was. Confusion did that to a man.

Where was the smooth? Where was the ability to talk to anybody, anytime, anywhere? Where was the man who hadn’t been able to keep his hands off this very woman?

He didn’t like feeling this off balance. It was unfamiliar and unsettling.

“You haven’t been to your flat in a week.”

Bobby gaped at her. What did she want? Obviously, she hadn’t come all this way just to stalk him into making awkward small talk.

“I’ve been working on the resort. Would you like to see the blueprints?” He sounded lame, even to his own ears, but he was desperate to establish some sort of connection with her.

She didn’t answer. Instead, she stared him down.

God, he wished he could make sense of that look—angry and frustrated, as if she was barely clinging to her better manners. But underneath all of that, he sensed something else churning in her delicate eyes.

She was worried.

Finally, she moved. She wiped a black fingernail down the side of her lip, as if she’d eaten something she found distasteful. Then she took a deep breath, squared her shoulders and launched a verbal grenade into the middle of the room.

“I’m pregnant.”


Her words blew Bobby to shreds. Had she just said—pregnant?

She was staring at him, her face nearly blank as she waited for a response. What the hell was he supposed to say? His mouth opened, ready to ask who the father was, but the part of him that was good at talking knew that was the exact wrong thing to say.

Underneath her careful blankness, he could see she wasn’t just worried—she was scared. Scared of what he was going to say, what he was going to do. But she seemed determined not to let him see that.

Well, that made two of them.

Then he realized. Whatever the truth was—and he was sure as hell going to get to that—she believed he was the father. That was, hands down, the most terrifying thought he’d ever had.

No one had ever said, “Bobby, you’ll make a great dad someday.” Instead, they usually told him to grow up. His brothers said those exact words all the time.

Kids were...messy. Loud. Unreasonable. Prone to screaming for no good reason. Demanding.

Bobby liked things his way. He liked staying out late, sleeping in later. He liked not having to rush home. He liked not having to step over toys or change diapers. Maybe all that stuff suited his brothers, but not him.

He wasn’t father material. He was a businessman and a damn good one. He was focused on making his resort the biggest draw in all of South Dakota. Hell, in either Dakota. And if things went as planned, there could be a chain of Crazy Horse Resorts across the West. A family wasn’t in his plans.

Until now. Maybe.

He chose his words carefully. “I thought...we used protection. Both times.”

At first, Stella didn’t appear to move, but then he noticed that her chest rose and fell with bigger and bigger gulps of air. Finally she said, “We did.”

Then how did she know he was the father? That was the question Bobby was dying to ask, but it probably wouldn’t ever be the right thing to ask.

“I believe,” she went on, her words precise and careful, “that the second condom failed. And that we were too sloshed to appreciate that fact.”

“Oh.” He tried to think. He’d had a couple of drinks in the bar, then they’d gotten a bottle of champagne to go. He didn’t remember being drunk. He just remembered the way she’d unleashed an amazing amount of sexual energy on him. No amount of alcohol could touch that memory.

He ran his hands through his hair. He was coming apart at the seams, but she sat there, as calm as if she’d just announced that she’d like a nice pinot noir with dinner. He was so glad she was here—he’d done nothing but think of her for months. But...pregnant? Looking at him with such disdain?

He wanted to see her, but with that wry smile on her face. He wanted to make her laugh, to feel her body under his hands.

Bobby made a snap decision. He still wasn’t sure exactly what she wanted from him, but he knew one thing. She didn’t belong here, not where camera crews and construction workers came and went. She needed someplace private, someplace more fitting to this situation.

He stood so quickly that she startled. “We should go.”


“Back to my place. We can get this—” he managed not to say “mess” “—we can get things sorted out there. You’ll be much more comfortable—it’s nicer, more private.”

“No cameras?”

It was the first time he heard a note of undisguised worry in her voice. It only made him want to protect her. “No,” he quickly agreed. “No cameras.”

Cameras would only make his worst fear come true sooner rather than later. The reason he hadn’t tracked down Stella, despite being unable to think of any other woman for two whole months? Because he was in no mood to find out exactly how quickly David Caine could ruin his life.

Hell, if Caine even knew his daughter was here, much less that she was pregnant—it would be all over. The show, the money to build the resort. He couldn’t risk losing everything he’d worked for.

He moved to the door but made sure to open it slowly. “Mickey? Can you come in here?”

Although the little man had been standing out in the cold for close to twenty minutes, he didn’t show it. True, he had his hands in his pockets, but Bobby got the feeling that was more to keep a grip on the guns than to warm his extremities.

Mickey nodded and stepped into the trailer. “Everything all right?” he asked Stella, who was now standing, her hands clasped in front of her.


“I wanted to confirm with you that it’d be best to move this conversation to a more private location—my condo. That way, Stella will be in an environment she’ll find more comfortable.”

Mickey looked confused. “He always talk like that?” he asked Stella.

“Not always,” she murmured, dropping her gaze again.

Bobby hadn’t meant to talk as if he was closing a deal with Mickey. It had just happened. Second nature.

Mickey looked to Stella, who nodded.

“You can follow me,” Bobby said, getting Stella’s coat.
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