E.R. nurse Leila Matthews’s whole life turned upon one single sentence: “Brody, I’m pregnant.” What she thought would be the happiest day of her life became a nightmare as she was abandoned by the father of her soon-to-be-born child. If her friend Jaxon wasn’t there to pick up the pieces, she couldn’t have coped. Then what had started out as a deep and abiding friendship became a soul-searing love.
Yet, while Jaxon is the man of her dreams, Leila doesn’t want her child to grow up not knowing its father. The situation, a triangle involving tortured pasts and unstoppable passion, will test everyone involved. Both suitors will seek forgiveness for terrible mistakes, and Leila will soon be pulled between two powerful men: a handsome CEO who owns all he surveys, and an ex-soldier whose M.C. teeters on the brink of the unforgivable. Leila must choose the man who is perfect for her future…and for the future of her child.
© A.F. Crowell 2015
Once we got home, I drove out to Johns Island, praying the entire way. One minute I prayed Brody would still be in New York. The next I prayed he would be there, waiting for me, ready to tell me what a fucking moron he had been.
I knocked on the door and Jane answered. I could see the pity in her eyes. She knew. I felt the tears welling up in my eyes, but I swallowed, blinked them back and went inside with her.
“Ruger is just out back. Come on. Let’s go to the kitchen. Are you hungry? Can I make you some lunch?”
“No thanks Jane. I’m not hungry. I don’t really have an appetite at the moment. I just want to get Ruger and get out of here before he gets home,” I said, looking around for my Shepherd. “You don’t know when Brody is getting in do you? Because I don’t want him to find me here. He was mad enough last night. I just want to grab my stuff and my dog, then I will leave him alone, like he wants.”
“Sweetie, I understand y’all are havin’ some issues right now, but just please give him some time to come around. He will. He just needs time.”
“Jane, I love you to death, but I don’t have time to wait for him to pull his head out of his ass. I have a baby to think about. I need to worry about us.” I placed my hand on my abdomen. “And how I am going to raise him or her by myself.” And here come the tears. “I’m going to go get my things from Brody’s bedroom. I won’t be long.”
Racing up the stairs, I grabbed everything of mine I could see. I left the gifts, jewelry and toys. I didn’t need any more reminders of Brody than I already had. Throwing the duffle over my shoulder, I went back down to get Ruger.
“Jane, I think I have everything. If you see anything else, would you please just set it to the side and call me. I could meet you somewhere.” I hit the bottom step. “You know, so I don’t have to come back out here.”
A look of panic flashed on her face and I knew.
He was home.
FML. Part of me wanted to run out the front door, but I could hear him talking to Ruger in the family room.
Fuck, fuckidy, fuck, fuck, fuck!
I knew he saw my car out front. It was pretty hard to miss. I felt a stray tear slip past and quickly wiped it away.
Jane walked to the foot of the stairs where I was standing and whispered, “Please Leila, just go talk to him. I promise he is calm. You know he won’t yell in front of me. Or Ruger for that matter,” she said with a little giggle, trying to lighten my mood.
“Jane, I don’t think it’s a good idea, I need to just go. He made it perfectly clear last night what his decision was. Please, don’t make this any harder on me.” I bit the inside of my cheek to distract myself from the emptiness and ache in my chest. We were whispering back and forth when I heard him clear his throat. I closed my eyes, looked down and took a deep breath.
You can do this. Just walk out the front door, whistle for Ruger and walk away. Come on, one foot in front of the other.
“I didn’t expect to see you here,” Brody whispered.
A.F. Crowell lives in Charleston, SC with her husband and two sons. They have two dogs, Diesel, a German Shepherd rescue and Dez, a black Labrador Retriever. She shares her love of books with her children, who have a head start on becoming life-long readers.
Romance fiction hit her radar when her husband forced her to watch Twilight one weekend when they were snowed in. That was it! From there her love grew; Contemporary Romance, Paranormal, YA and Dystopian are her preferred reads.
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