Read an Excerpt
By Barbara McMahon
Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. All right reserved. ISBN: 0-373-24554-8
Chapter One"I know he said the place was located in a pristine wilderness, but this is ridiculous!" Mandy
Parkerson mumbled aloud as her car continued to barrel along the gravel road. She hadn't seen
another vehicle heading in either direction since she'd left the small town of Julian, Colorado,
forty minutes ago.
"If they don't do some serious improvement to this road, they'll never have repeat guests. And
those who come for the first time might turn around halfway. Especially in winter."
The car bumped and skidded, gravel spewing. The road had obviously been graded at some
point, and gravel laid down. But it was already showing ruts from heavy traffic. She didn't even
want to speculate what it would be like in rain or a snowstorm. Thank heaven for good weather.
She gripped the steering wheel tighter, easing up on the accelerator. "Hang on, babykins, it can't
be that much farther. He said thirty miles from town, and we've gone at least that."
Six months pregnant, Mandy constantly talked to her baby. She'd read somewhere that children
recognized their mother's voice from their time in the womb. So she talked frequently, wanting
her infant to know her from the first moment. To know she loved it completely no matter what
happened. That she was a motherto be counted on, and she would never desert her child -
not as her father had. Or her mother. Or her baby's father.
"At least I think it can't be much farther," she murmured, peering into the distance. It wasn't an
easy feat with soaring lodgepole pines lining both sides of the road. The long-range view was
where the road cut a swath through the tall timber as it crested a hill. Beyond was the endless
blue of a clear autumn sky.
She felt a hint of trepidation as she surveyed the wilderness, but pushed it away. She needed
this job. It had sounded perfect when she'd heard about it in the employment agency in
Denver - a temporary secretary's position for two months. One that paid almost twice what
she'd been earning in the city, with accommodations included. It would tap into her expertise in
the building industry, as well. It was the perfect job, even if it was clear across the state from
where she lived.
The remote construction site would be in operation only another six to eight weeks before
winter closed in and made further work impossible until next spring.
The timing had been perfect. Getting away from Denver had seemed perfect. But now reality
began to seep in. Julian was a quaint little mountain town, with one main street and two
secondary streets lined with small shops and businesses - and the county's hospital.
Mandy didn't want to forget about medical facilities, not that she expected to need them. She
had plenty of time to decide on and settle into a new place before the baby was due. But it
didn't hurt to know where the nearest medical assistance was - just in case.
"I sure hope it's not much farther, because if I don't find that construction site soon, I'll have to
find a convenient tree!"
One of the definite downsides to pregnancy was the frequent need for rest-room facilities -
which weren't available along the side of this excuse for a road.
Cresting the hill a few moments later, Mandy slowed, a smile lighting her features. "Hallelujah!
Bathroom here we come."
Spread before her was the construction site she'd traveled two hundred miles to reach. Making
her way down the sweep of gravel road, she tried to take in everything, from the tall crane
swinging a long piling, to the heavy earthmovers parked on the far side of the mammoth clearing,
to the sparkling water of the high Alpine lake, part of the spectacular view beyond.
To the left, a hodgepodge of trailers and campers lined the perimeter of the cleared area, with
cars and trucks interspersed. Trees surrounded the site, dark green and soaring taller than any
she'd seen before. But the jewel was the deep blue Alpine lake, pristine and clear, and
stretching as far as the eye could see.
Mandy took a deep breath as she eased her car down the hill. Once the road was paved, the
thirty-mile trip from Julian could be made in half the time it had taken her. And it would be a lot
"We're almost there," she murmured, searching for the office. She'd check in, find out which
trailer had been allocated to her, and move in her few things. It wouldn't take long to get settled.
She especially wanted to refrigerate the groceries she'd bought in Julian before they spoiled.
And she wanted a bathroom!
She spotted a trailer apart from the others, nearer the work site, and headed for it. It had to be
the office. All around her men worked in precision as they toiled to create a luxury resort in the
Colorado wilderness. Hard hats gleamed in the sun. The drone of the crane as it swung the
piling into place was background noise to the bang of hammers, the whine of a drill and the buzz
Mandy pulled to a stop by the office. She hastened out of her car and walked up the two steps
into the trailer, excitement bubbling inside her.
"Mandy Parkerson! You made it!" Jeff Henshaw rose from behind one of three battered desks.
A tall man with a shock of gray hair, he held out his hand. He'd been the one to interview her
and offer her the job back in Denver.
Grateful for the friendly welcome, she felt some of her worry fade. Mandy smiled and took his
hand. "Your directions were excellent."
"You made good time. I didn't expect you before dark."
"I didn't want to risk driving after sundown on an unfamiliar road. Especially one that isn't
paved. Julian looks like a darling town. I stocked up on groceries before I left." She planned to
visit on her days off - explore the small shops, eat at the local café, surround herself with some
civilization, quiet though it might be.
"It's the closest place for R and R we have when not working. Of course, it's not up to Denver's
standards. Come on over and have a seat."
"Uh, maybe I could freshen up first?"
"Go right down that short hall. Take your time. When you're ready, I'll show you around. Get
Excerpted from She's Expecting by Barbara McMahon
Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.