The Brooding Surgeon's Baby Bombshell. Susan Carlisle
“I can do that.” His mouth took hers while his hands worked to remove her clothes.
She followed suit with equal frenzy. Her moans of desire combined with the kneading of her fingers on his bare back made him more aroused than he’d ever believed possible. Their mating was blistering, fast and very, very satisfying.
* * *
Hours later Gabe rolled over. His hand brushed warm, soft skin. Zoe. His body stirred once more. He wanted her again.
“Mmm...” she murmured before her kisses teased his chest.
His hand skimmed the rise of her hip. “Damn, I don’t have another condom.”
Her hand brushed his length as she murmured, “I’m on the pill.”
Unable to go without her any longer, he saw to her pleasure then found his. Having no barrier between them felt so right.
When he woke again, Zoe was dressed and stuffing her belongings into her luggage. “Where’re you going?”
“I have to catch my plane.” Her back remained to him.
“You’ve already rescheduled?” He was still in a haze.
“They texted me.” She did glance at him then. “I have to go. I need to get home to Mom.”
Gabe could see the glass wall rising between them. Unbreakable. All the warmth they had shared last night was now frigid air. Zoe was embarrassed by her behavior. It shouldn’t bother him. He wasn’t looking for forever, but he didn’t like the idea of being something she regretted.
“I have to go.” She was out the door before he could untangle the sheets from his body.
ZOE CLUTCHED THE restroom door handle in the conference area of the High Hotel. It had been almost six months since she’d seen Gabe and she was hiding from him. She suspected he was impatiently waiting for her in the hall. Not facing him wasn’t a choice she had. Her entire world had changed in that amount of time. Her mother was worse. And Zoe was pregnant.
Guilt hung on her like a heavy necklace of stones she wore all the time. She should have told Gabe. It wouldn’t have been that hard to contact him. She’d used him to escape her life for a night and now there was a baby to consider. He’d deserved better on a number of levels. When she’d kissed him at her hotel-room door she hadn’t planned on becoming the “drama” he had been adamant about not having in his life.
He knew now. He’d seen her protruding belly when she’d stood. She’d heard his gasp from halfway across the meeting room. There had been no mistaking his shocked expression when she’d glanced back. Would he care if it was his? Did he want to know? Regardless, he deserved to be told he was going to be a father. Even though he’d stated a family wasn’t for him.
She paused before pulling the door open. Hopefully Gabe had already returned to the committee room. At first she had thought the stomach rolling had been a virus. After a few weeks she’d had to admit it might be something else. But couldn’t believe it. She’d been taking the pill. She’d dragged her feet about buying a pregnancy test because she’d just been unable to wrap her mind around the idea she might be expecting. She’d thought of contacting Gabe the moment she’d seen the test was positive, but had immediately found an excuse not to. Each time she’d convinced herself she had to tell him, she’d come up with a reason not to call him. Too tired, working too late, her mother needed her right that minute, and the list went on. The truth was Gabe had said he wasn’t interested in being a father and she felt guilty for her part in involving him.
How would he react when he found out? She’d vowed after each of their committee’s monthly conference calls to call and tell him. As time had gone by, she’d decided he deserved to hear the news face-to-face. Their semiannual in-person meeting was soon and she’d planned to tell him then. What she hadn’t counted on was not seeing him the night before. She’d fully expected to have a chance to tell him in private before their committee meeting. Sadly that hadn’t happened.
Her fingers flexed on the handle. What if Gabe had found someone special since they had been together? The idea disturbed her more than it should have. Any relationship he might have could be hurt when the woman learned of the baby. Just another reason Zoe shouldn’t have put off telling him. She hadn’t intended to hurt him. Ever.
Was he mad? Glad? Would he believe it was his? She’d been such a coward.
Her body had hummed with tension all morning as she’d anticipated telling Gabe. More than once she’d had to remind herself to breathe. Had even had to force herself to eat a bite or two of the croissant she’d gotten off the breakfast buffet. Despite being five months along, morning food still didn’t always agree with her. Her temperamental tummy was made worse by nerves strung so taut they would hit a high note if plucked.
She had glanced at Gabe several times. His gaze had met hers on a number of those. When it had, ripples of pleasurable awareness had zinged through her. She wasn’t sure if it was the flapping of wings in her belly or the baby kicking, but her body had a definite reaction to the sight of him. She was still attracted to him. There had been an uneasiness in his eyes, but a glint of pleasure as well. Had he been glad to see her before she’d stood up, revealing her condition?
Their night together had been memorable. Extremely delightful and erotic. She’d let go like she’d never allowed herself to do before. Her life had been becoming more complicated and she’d just wanted to live a little. Gabe was there, tall, dark and handsome with a Southern drawl, her fantasy come to life...almost.
Her dream man would want to marry and have a family.
Yet despite that one character flaw, she’d wanted Gabe to give her the attention she’d craved. Had been greedy about it. Being with him had made her feel alive, desirable and carefree. She’d taken shameless advantage of their night of passion. The fear it might not come her way again had had her agreeing to things she was normally cautious about.
Not only was Gabe easy on the eyes but intelligent, thoughtful, funny and a great conversationalist. He really listened. She liked him, too much. Now fate had them in its grasp. Like it or not, against all odds, they were having a child together.
Finding the right man had been difficult for her. She refused to settle or compromise. She wanted a man devoted to her, who would feel the same way about their family. More than once her mother had said Zoe was dreaming of someone who didn’t exist. Zoe resisted that idea, knowing her mother was jaded from being an abandoned wife and mother. Still, Zoe believed there could be a happily ever after out there for her. She just had to find the right man.
The one time Zoe had thought she had, she’d ended up devastated. While confident their relationship had been progressing toward marriage, she’d caught Shawn having dinner with another woman. When she’d confronted him, he’d announced they didn’t want the same things out of life. That no man could live up to her expectations. That Zoe had an unrealistic view of life and relationships. To believe a man could be devoted to just one woman was antiquated.
Other men had implied the same thing. She still vowed not to lower her standards, even when she realized her pledge might mean she’d never have the family she’d dreamed of. Gabe’s assertion about not being interested in a wife or family only meant he wasn’t any different than the other men she’d been interested in. They’d all been like her father and left when life had turned inconvenient.
She’d fully accepted Gabe was not Mr. Right when she’d let go of her inhibitions that night, confident in her birth control.
Zoe lightly banged her forehead against the bathroom door, her hand aching from the prolonged tight grip on the handle. She just wanted that one man who would love her forever. If that was being too picky, so be it. As her mother’s condition gradually