Maybe Baby

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Overview

Dana Wiley's True Confessions (Or How Did I Get into This Mess?)
? My mother's being held by kidnappers, and only Nick Maybe, the man I left at the altar six years ago, knows how to find the ransom-a big, smelly, flightless parrot.
? Manhattan isn't exactly ideal for wildlife-unless you're talking about me and Nick. How can a man I haven't seen in six years make me so crazy-in all meanings of the word?
? So...
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Overview

Dana Wiley's True Confessions (Or How Did I Get into This Mess?)
• My mother's being held by kidnappers, and only Nick Maybe, the man I left at the altar six years ago, knows how to find the ransom-a big, smelly, flightless parrot.
• Manhattan isn't exactly ideal for wildlife-unless you're talking about me and Nick. How can a man I haven't seen in six years make me so crazy-in all meanings of the word?
• So the bird's worth a quarter million, and it turns out we're not the only ones who want it. Great. And Nick keeps looking at me with those eyes and kissing me with those lips...Oh, what the hell. There isn't a statute of limitations on love. Is there?
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Wacky characters, nonstop action, riotous dialogue and a "large, stinky, green chicken" (aka Kakapo, a rare, nearly extinct parrot) give flight to Rich's latest romantic romp (following Time Off for Good Behavior). Dana Elizabeth Wiley has a world of troubles: the upstate New York family winery has gone belly up due to diseased grapes; her evil adversary, Melanie Biggs, lurks in the shadows to buy the place; and her mother, who she had hoped would co-sign for a loan, is flat broke. If that isn't enough, Dana's hunky ex-fiance, Nick Maybe, is suddenly back in her life after she dumped him six years earlier for having a premarital indiscretion with Melanie. These days Nick is running a Manhattan wine shop while doing "favors" for Dana's mom, Babs, in a subconscious effort to make amends. Babs is a bit of a modern-day Robin Hood. She, with Nick's assistance, arranges to steal valuables from wealthy clients at their request (and with their help) so they can cash in on insurance policies. While the frenzied tempo can short-circuit the brain cells at times, and the action is often more slapstick than believable, the merriment keeps the pages turning. Agent, Stephanie Kip Rostan. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446615785
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/1/2005
  • Series: Warner Forever Ser.
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

I'm Lani, and I'm a writer, a teacher, and a mom. I live in Southern Ohio with my husband, my daughters, two cats and five dogs, and my best friend. My favorite color is yellow, and I have a thing for polka dots that borders on the ridiculous.

I wrote my first book, Time Off For Good Behavior during NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month, fifty thousand words in the thirty days of November - and was the first previously-unpublished author to publish a NaNoWriMo manuscript. It's a very specific niche, but it's all mine. Time Off For Good Behavior won the Rita Award for Best First Book, and I went on to publish another seven solo novels, and one collaboration. So, apparently, it wasn't a fluke. I find that comforting.

When I'm not writing words on paper, I'm speaking them into microphones. From 2007 to 2010, I hosted the Will Write For Wine podcast with the amazingly talented CJ Barry/Samantha Graves; since 2010, I've hosted Popcorn Dialogues with Jennifer Crusie, and the StoryWonk Daily podcast with Alastair Stephens, who happens to be my husband. Which is good, because I often record the show in my pyjamas.

At the moment, I'm writing magical romance novels as Lucy March. I'm still Lani on the inside; it's a publishing thing. If you'd like to learn more about what I'm doing now, visit LaniDianeRich.com, LucyMarch.com, or Storywonk.com. And thank you!
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Read an Excerpt

Maybe Baby


By Lani Diane Rich

Warner Forever

Copyright © 2004 Lani Diane Rich
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-61578-1


Chapter One

"I, Dana Elizabeth Wiley, take you, Nick ..."

Her groom blinked. "Um, who?"

A fly zipped past her eyes, and Dana swatted at it with her bouquet, then puffed up a breath of air, fluffing her bangs away from where they tickled her forehead. It was another moment before she realized everyone in the rec room at the Rosemont Home of Central New York was watching her expectantly.

"Hmm? Sorry? What?"

Her groom, a seventeen-year-old kid from Laundry with the longest and skinniest neck she'd ever seen, leaned forward. "Who's Nick?"

Dana felt her heart take a tumble southwards at the sound of the name.

"What? Nick's no one. No one's Nick. Why? Did I say Nick?"

The groomlet gave her a small smile. "Yeah. Kinda."

She turned and looked at Milo, her boss and daily tormentor. The bible he was holding was upside down.

"Did I say Nick?" she asked him.

"Doesn't matter," Milo sing-songed through clenched teeth and a plastic smile as he nodded towards the guests. "There's a cross-stitch event at eleven. Let's move it along, people."

A cross-stitch event. Ah, Milo.

Dana glanced across the room. Two dozen aged, happy faces stared back at her, none of whom knew who she was or would even remember they'd been to a wedding by dinnertime. According to Milo, gatherings such as weddings, graduations and baptisms - even pretend ones - raised the morale of the Alzheimer's residents by 53%. Of course, it was patently ridiculous to quantify morale, but who was she to question? As Milo liked to remind her, she was just a secretary with a wedding dress that still fit. Nothing more.

She blew another noisy puff of air toward her forehead and looked to the groomlet, who had been recruited at the last minute when her usual groom, Mark from Accounts, called in with a bad case of I-really-don't-feel-like-it. The Laundry Kid was seventeenish and heavily freckled, looking a little out of his element in Mark's faded tux, which was two sizes too big, ruffled at the neck, and powder-blue. Poor kid. She pulled on a smile and leaned towards him. "I'm sorry. What's your name again?"

He tugged at his collar. "Um, Chad."

Dana leaned back. "I, Dana Wiley, take you, Chad ..." She paused, waiting for Chad to cue her with his last name. He stared at her blankly. She improvised. "... O'Laundryguy ..."

"Oh, sorry!" he said, realizing his omission. He smiled at Dana. "Actually, it's McCamish."

"Doesn't matter," Milo admonished through a false and overly toothy smile. Dana exchanged a look with Chad.

Ah, Milo.

"To be my lawfully wedded husband," Milo prompted.

"To be my lawfully wedded husband," Dana recited. She felt a tension pain in her shoulder, followed by a roiling in her stomach.

Had she really said Nick?

Why would she say Nick? Not that it mattered much, except that if her subconscious was trying to get a point across, having her say her ex-fiance's name in the middle of a fake wedding was a really rude way to do it, far as she was concerned.

"For richer, for poorer ...," Milo read.

"For richer, for poorer ..." She ran one satin-gloved hand over her hip, smoothing the skirt of her dress. It was a lovely dress; a clean, sleeveless A-line, no lace or decorative hoo-hah sewn in to clutter things up. She always imagined that she looked a bit like Audrey Hepburn in it, with its ten-foot train and satin gloves that didn't give up until they reached her upper arm. And she would be Hepburnish, if she was taller and less curvy and could pull off the short hair thing without looking like a boy.

Regardless, the dress was lovely. Damn shame it was cursed. On the first day she wore it, she got into a fender-bender with a cop, accidentally set a priest on fire, and ran out of the church, leaving a stunned Nicholas James Maybe in her wake.

And yet I put it on twice a week to get out of filing, she thought. I'm so cheap.

"Dana."

She blinked. "Hmm?"

Milo gave her the death glare, and enunciated his words carefully. "In sickness and in health ..."

Oh. Yes. "In sickness and in health ..."

Although really, if she looked at things practically and analyzed all events with an unemotional, objective eye, Dana would have to admit that the problem was probably not the dress.

It was her. She had a tendency to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, dress or no dress. Take the night of her would-be wedding, for instance, when she'd come back to the house she shared with Nick on the land that also sported the family's winery. After an afternoon of self-loathing and excessive drinking among the lonely reception trappings at the Wiley Wines bar-slash-gift shop, she ran back to the house to tell Nick that she'd made a horrible mistake, and found him in the half-naked embrace of another woman. And not just any other woman, either. Melanie Biggs, Dana's nemesis since high school, and quite possibly the third anti-Christ of which Nostradamus spoke.

Yeah. That had been bad. And Dana had changed into a nice little sweater-and-jeans ensemble by that point, so ... probably not the dress.

Milo cleared his throat with obvious irritation and Dana snapped back to the moment. She'd missed another cue. Ah, well. What did it matter anyway?

"Love, honor and obey," she rattled out, "from this day forward 'till death do us part, yadda yadda yadda." She smiled at Chad. "Your turn."

Milo's face tightened with irritation, but he just gave a martyr's sigh and moved on. "I, Chad McCamish ..."

As the focus shifted to Chad, Dana puffed at her bangs again. The first couple of times she'd done the weddings, she really played it up, the blushing bride and all. Now, pfffft, morale-schmorale, no one cared. She could show up in a t-shirt and jeans singing "La Cucaracha" and they'd be just as happy. The cynic in her believed the buffet was the actual culprit behind the 53% jump in morale - Gladys from the kitchen made a killer Waldorf salad - but it didn't matter. The residents were happy, Milo got his funding, and Dana got out of filing.

Everybody plays, everybody wins.

"... take you, Dana Wiley, to be my lawfully wedded wife ..."

Chad gave her a nervous smile. She smiled back at the Boy Groom, and he repeated after Milo. "... for better or worse ..."

Had she really said Nick? Why would she do that? She hadn't even thought about Nick in ... well, okay, last night, but that was just because she'd caught a glimpse of Dennis Franz having wine on an NYPD Blue re-run and ... well, Nick managed a wine bar in Manhattan. But before that it had been a while. Days, even. Weeks probably. And since she'd actually seen him, it had been longer. Much longer.

Six years as a matter of fact.

Wait.

Six years?

Dana gasped and put one daintily gloved hand to her mouth.

"What's today's date?" she blurted.

"In sickness and in ... what?" Chad said, then glanced awkwardly at his watch. "Uh ... the fifteenth."

Her heart sank. "October fifteenth?"

Milo cleared his throat. "May we continue?"

Dana nodded, and swallowed hard. It wasn't just six years since she'd seen Nick. It was six years to the day. Six years since what was supposed to be the best day of her life had turned into the worst day of her life. She felt heat rise up the back of her neck, soon to be followed by the cold sweat. How had she forgotten?

Well, actually, she hadn't forgotten. She'd said Nick.

Stupid subconscious.

She closed her eyes, and time slowed as the memory of that day hit her in one powerful wave. Suddenly, she was back in St. Christopher's, at her own wedding, pulling Nick aside while Father Michael doused the fire out of his robes with the holy water.

I can't do this.

'Course you can, Diz, he'd said, using his pet name for her - a play on her first and middle names - with a wink.

No, she'd said, feeling all her breath go out of her body as she took a step backwards, I can't.

Nick's eyebrows knit together. What are you talking about?

What I've been talking about for the past year, Nick.

Understanding washed over his face, and he sighed. Come on, Dana. We've been through this. We're not your parents.

No, she said. We'll find our own special way to destroy each other. But it'll still happen.

Nick put his hands, warm and strong, on either side of Dana's face. He leaned his face down towards hers and smiled, his eyes sparkling at the edges the way they did whenever he looked at her. That was when it occurred to her that he'd probably never touch her that way again, and she started to cry.

It won't happen, he said. I promise you. You're just panicked. It'll pass, and when it does, I'll be right there with you.

She swiped at her face and glanced at Father Michael, who was patting a towel on the singed, wet sleeve of his robe.

But I set the priest on fire. It's a sign.

Nick smiled, brushed her bangs away from her forehead. Don't read into that. It was an accident.

No. It's an omen. Don't you see that? I can't do this, Nick.

His eyes stopped sparkling, and his smile disappeared.

Dana. I won't let it happen. Just trust me.

For a moment, she'd considered just sucking it up and getting through the ceremony, but the very idea made her chest constrict, and she couldn't breathe. She touched Nick's face and knew in that moment that her heart would never beat right again.

She opened her mouth to tell him she loved him, that it wasn't him she didn't trust, it was marriage, but it was all too pathetic to say out loud. Sure, she loved him, so much it made her soul hurt, but that wasn't going to keep her from running, so what was the point in saying it? She wheeled around and ran down the aisle, the wrong way, the faces of the stunned guests flowing together as she rushed past them, the only sound in her head that of her elegant, Hepburnish, cursed dress swishing behind her as she negotiated the church steps two at a time.

She opened her eyes and blinked, crashing down back in the rec room of the Rosemont Home. The panic gripped her as the knowledge she'd been fighting for six years suddenly descended on her in a cursed moment of razor-sharp clarity.

Dana Maybe. That's who I should have been.

"Oh my God," she whispered.

"Are you okay?" the groomlet whispered, a concerned look on his face. "You kinda look like you're gonna hurl."

Dana nodded and let out a squeak that might have passed for "Fine," if she could have gotten some breath in her lungs.

No, no, no, she thought. I've made my peace with this. I did the right thing. It was best for both of us. It was ...

... a mistake.

Dana put her hand to her chest. Her heart pounded out a lopsided rhythm as she fought the clarity washing over her.

Dana Maybe.

"Oh, crap," she breathed.

"Till death do us part." Milo slammed the bible shut and landed a look of stern disapproval on Dana. "You may kiss the bride."

Chad leaned forward in the awkward, herky-jerky way a seventeen-year-old kid might lean into a fake kiss with a fake bride twice his age, and he and Dana exchanged a lightning-quick half-lips, half-cheek smooch. She wanted to grab him by the shoulders and shake him, tell him to take his youth and run, that adulthood was for the birds, and that once you hit the age of consent one bad choice could effectively ruin your whole life, but Milo clapped his hands together and broke the moment.

"Buffet time!"

The residents shuffled over to the buffet table, and even the random choruses of "Wasn't she just lovely?" and etcetera didn't do much to allay the panic that was wheedling its way through her gut. She stood, riveted to her spot, and watched as everyone swarmed around the buffet table. Tears crowded behind her eyes and she blinked hard, reminding herself of the morning after the wedding that wasn't, when Melanie Biggs had found Dana at the winery to tell Dana not to worry, she'd been there to comfort Nick.

All night long.

She swallowed again. Somehow - despite Melanie, despite the deaf ear Nick had turned to Dana's concerns about marriage as an institution - the certainty that she'd made a mammoth, life-destroying mistake lodged itself in her gut and showed no signs of leaving.

And there she was, in the rec room of an old age home, where she was doomed to forever repeat the one thing she hadn't been able to get right when it mattered.

Chad approached her, holding a plate with a piece of cake on it.

"You'd better get over there," he said, motioning toward the buffet table with his plastic fork. "You wait any longer, there will be nothing left."

Dana swallowed hard against the panic rising in her throat, and the clarity faded away, leaving a hollow coldness in its wake.

"You know what?" she said, gathering her train in one arm and whipping the veil off her head with the other. "I have a headache. Cramps. I think I'm coming down with something. A flu. Tell Milo for me, will you?"

Chad blinked. "Um. Okay. You gonna be all right?"

"Anything's possible." She dipped down, grabbed her bag from behind the altar and hurried out of the room, oddly comforted by the familiarity of the swishing sound the dress made when she ran.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Maybe Baby by Lani Diane Rich Copyright © 2004 by Lani Diane Rich. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    fine contemporary romance

    Six years ago when minor accidents frequently occurred just before her wedding to Nick James, Dana Wiley saw them as an omen; she jilted Nick thinking maybe she should not marry at this time. Dana goes to explain to her former fiancé her feelings, but instead catches him with half naked Melanie Biggs, her nemesis since high school. She flees to her Upstate New York winery. --- When the grapes become diseased, Dana is forced to shut down the winery.. She takes a job as a secretary at the Rosemont Home of Central New York in Syracuse. There she wonders if she made a mistake when she dropped Nick who she still loves and wonders if maybe she should reconsider. With the grapes okay, but needing money to reopen, Dana journeys to Manhattan to ask her dizzy mom Babs for the capital. There she sees Nick who is assisting Babs with a charity event by stealing a valuable bird a kakapo for her. Upon seeing Dana, Nick, who quit his bartending job at Murphy¿s to head to California has no maybes, he still loves her and decides to make one last try to win her trust. --- Though Babs can drive the Ancient Mariner and readers to drink, fans will appreciate this fine contemporary romance starring a commitment phobic female and the dude who still loves her though he has struck out twice with her. The amusing story line contains a serious element involving failure to communicate, but that is overwhelmed by the antics of the cast. Fans of offbeat romantic romps will enjoy MAYBE BABY, but wonder in an age of communication why the lead couple failed to talk to one another.--- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2012

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