BE CAREFUL WHAT PIECE OF YOURSELF YOU’VE AGREED TO GIVE!
Elise Ratner knows what she wants for Christmas (someone’s genetically superior sperm) and what she doesn’t want (a husband). And who better to cater to her needs than her former high school boyfriend, the gorgeous and brilliant Justin Morgan?
Such a pity he doesn’t know it yet.
Justin is a rising corporate star. His London career is at a peak, and he’s dating his boss’s high maintenance daughter. He loves her, but she’s getting really needy. Like, how many times has he got to convince her that she doesn’t look fat in her kitschy clothing?
Then Elise walks back into his life with a request that is about to turn his well-ordered life upside down.
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The sandwich café is crowded with the lunchtime throng, but they have managed to secure a half-cleaned table at the back. Not exactly the best place for conversation, but she senses that he takes comfort from the familiar surroundings. After all, she did drop quite a bomb.
“So why didn’t you get married?” he asks.
He’s ready to talk, she senses it.
“I did get married.”
He puts down his half-eaten sandwich. She is aware of several women at the other tables giving them surreptitious glances. They’re checking him out, she thinks with a smile. Same old, same old. Some things never changed from high school. She was checking him out plenty too before they got it on.
“You never invited me to the wedding,” he says, keeping his tone light.
She sighs inwardly. He’s hurt, and she knows him all too well. He did always have a predilection for masking how he felt. Justin grew up in a strict home. His father was in the military, and he always gave precise instructions to his boys to ‘handle it like a man’.
“It was a shotgun affair. Reno.”
“He knocked you up?” he says, surprised.
“Not exactly.” She shudders when she thinks of her marriage, but now is not the time to let Justin in on what happened. “It lasted for exactly a year and a half. Let’s keep it at that.”
He nods. He has always been one who respects other people’s privacy. She has always admired this trait of his.
“Thought I’d ask, just in case.”
“What about you? Married?” She knows he’s not, and that’s why she’s here.
He hesitates before saying, “Maybe.”
“Maybe?” She laughs. “Either you have a girlfriend or you don’t.”
“It’s complicated. Let’s leave it at that.” He smiles without really smiling.
She ponders this. “So . . . would she mind if you . . . contributed your DNA?”
“I didn’t say I was going to do it. It is a huge responsibility.”
“Oh no, it isn’t. Not for you.” She delves into her bag and brings out a bound document. “Read through this and put your mind at ease.”
He scrutinizes the document carefully as she finishes the rest of her sandwich. He finally puts it down and looks up at her. She finds herself admiring his large hazel eyes again – so penetrating and beautiful.
“So why me?” he says. “Why not some anonymous donor from a sperm bank?”
She’s prepared for this.