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Baby Business

By:Katherine Garbera

Baby Business
Katherine Garbera

       Chapter One

"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.

"Am I?"

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. Her hormones had been going  crazy throughout her pregnancy, and once again they came rushing to the  fore. She wanted this man. She hadn't even tried dating in the last  eight months, though a few brave guys had asked her out. She didn't want  anyone but Donovan.

She led the way to the first floor screened-in porch. It overlooked the  wooded area behind her house, and with its tall ceilings and the shade  provided by the nearby oak and magnolia trees, it was a cool refuge from  the heat.

"Can I get you a beer or tea?" she asked.

"Beer would be great," he said.

She set her soup on the table and went to the wet bar to get Donovan's  beer. He liked Heineken, same as she did. Though she hadn't had a beer  since she'd gotten pregnant, she still kept her refrigerator stocked for  when her brothers and friends visited.

She grabbed a bottle of Pellegrino for herself and came back to the  table. Donovan stood up and held her chair for her. The gentlemanly  courtesy was one he had always performed, and she appreciated it. That  was one of the things that had always set Donovan apart from other men.  She thanked him and sat down.

Food suddenly became unimportant as she realized the man she loved was  sitting there next to her. She had to clasp her hands in her lap to keep  from reaching out to touch him. To keep from leaning across the table  and making sure he was really there.

"How are you, Cassidy?" he asked.

"Good. I haven't had any complications from the pregnancy." She was  twenty-eight years old and in great shape thanks to a lifetime of  exercise and eating right. The baby was healthy, something that she  sometimes fancied was due to the fact that she and Donovan had been so  much in love when he'd been conceived. But she knew that was her  imagination running away with her.

"I'm glad."

"Are you?" she asked, trying for sarcasm but guessing she'd sounded a bit pleased that he was concerned about her health.

"Yes." He leaned back in his chair. "Why didn't you tell me about the baby? I'm assuming the baby is mine."

She suspected he knew she wasn't interested in any other man. She hadn't hidden her feelings for him when they were together.

"Yes, it is yours. I didn't tell you because it didn't seem like the type of information you'd be interested in."

"What do you mean by that?"

"Just that if something doesn't involve Tolley-Patterson Manufacturing  or any of your other business interests, you usually don't pay much  attention to it."

"I paid attention to you," he said.

"When there wasn't a crisis at one of your companies, sure, you did pay attention to me."

But she had always been aware that his position as executive vice  president at Tolley-Patterson, the company his family owned, was the  most important thing in Donovan's life. He was also consumed by his  other business interests, and with increasing his holdings. He co-owned a  sporting goods company with his former college roommate, and he had an  interest in an island resort on Tobago with a friend from his  boarding-school days. For a while his constant focus on business hadn't  mattered. But during the last few months, while they'd been apart, she'd  come to realize she had sold herself short in their relationship.

Donovan had always been obsessed with proving there was more to him than  just his trust fund. And she wasn't interested in competing for his  attention again. Getting over Donovan had been hard. The hardest thing  she'd ever gone through. She'd thought she wasn't going to recover at  first, and when she'd gotten confirmation that she was pregnant with his  child, she'd made up her mind that the baby was the reason she'd been  brought into Donovan's life. His child would be the one on whom she'd  pour all the love that he'd never really wanted from her.