The Spaniard's Baby Bargain (Harlequin Presents #2397) [NOOK Book]

The Spaniard's Baby Bargain (Harlequin Presents #2397)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426873058
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 8/23/2010
  • Series: Expecting! Series , #2397
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 266,728
  • File size: 349 KB

Read an Excerpt

The Spaniard's Baby Bargain


By Helen Bianchin

Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.

Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-373-12397-3


Chapter One

MANOLO paid the cab driver, collected his valise, and mounted the few steps to the main entrance of his harbour-front mansion set high in Sydney's suburban Point Piper.

The front door opened before he could extract his keys.

"Good evening, Manolo. Welcome home."

Some welcome, he qualified silently. His home in an uproar, the third nanny in as many months about to walk, and, God help him, a media journalist and cameraman due to descend in less than an hour to begin a weekend documentary he'd agreed to do over a month ago.

"Santos," he acknowledged to the ex-chef who'd served as his live-in factotum for several years, and offered a grim smile as he entered the spacious foyer.

"What in hell happened this time?"

"Little Christina is teething," the manservant relayed. "The nanny resents her own lack of sleep."

Manolo raked restless fingers through his hair. "Where is she?"

"Packing," Santos declared with succinct cynicism.

"You've arranged a replacement?"

"Tried to. Unfortunately our record with nannies elicited the response the agency has no one sufficiently qualified to fill the position until next week."

"Mierda." The oath escaped with soft vehemence.

Santos lifted one eyebrow. "My sentiments exactly."

He'd deal with it. Have to. There was no other option. "Maria?" The house-cleaner came in five days a week, but left each day at four to care for her large family.

"She assures she can give an extra few hours to help out."

"Any messages?" It was merely a general query, for anything important reached him via cellphone or email.

"I've put the mail and messages in the usual place. Dinner will be ready in half an hour."

Time to shave, shower, dress, then eat before he was due to greet the media crew. But first he needed to see his young daughter, deal with the departing nanny.

He stifled a grimace, and resisted the temptation to roll his shoulders. Hell. The last thing he felt like doing after a long international flight was to exchange small talk with a media representative.

What on earth had possessed him to agree to this personal profile documentary in the first place? Ah, yes, the stipulation it would showcase his favourite charity. Plus the fact the interview would be conducted by Ariane Celeste ... a petite ash-blonde woman in her late twenties, whose television persona intrigued him.

The nanny was on her way down the wide curving staircase as he reached the first step, and he paused, waiting for her to draw level.

She was young, too young, he decided as he viewed her set features. "Would a bonus persuade you to stay on until I can arrange a replacement?"

"No."

He could press the point, imply she was obligated to give a week's notice, redress his legal right as an employer ... but dammit, he wasn't sure he wanted someone harbouring unwillingness and resentment to care for Christina.

"Santos will order a cab. My cheque will be sent to the agency."

"Thanks."

Her brief, almost impolite response incurred a dark glance from Santos, which Manolo met and dismissed in silence as he turned and ascended the stairs.

The volume of his daughter's voice increased as he reached the upper level, and a hand closed over his heart and squeezed a little as he entered the nursery.

The small face was red with the force of her cries, the dark hair damp from exertion. Worse, she'd soiled her nappy, and her legs were pumping in active protest.

"Por Dios." The soft imprecation brought a second's silence, followed immediately by louder cries that rapidly dissolved into hiccups.

"Shh, pequeña," he soothed as he lifted her from the cot and cradled her close. "Let's tend to you, hmm?"

With competent movements he did just that, trying to coax the distress from those tear-filled dark eyes.

His, he accepted silently. But unmistakably the child of his late wife ... a woman who'd connived to bear his name by fair means or foul. And had succeeded, he determined grimly, by deliberately tampering with a prophylactic so she could fall pregnant with his child.

It didn't sit well, even now, that the sole reason for the pregnancy had been to extract a large financial settlement from him and a meal ticket for life.

The thought of a child of his being a victim of its mother's scheming was unconscionable. He'd made Yvonne a handsome offer her avaricious mind wouldn't refuse. Subject to his paternity being proved by DNA, they'd enter the shortest marriage in history to give him legal parental rights, she'd agree to give up the child into his sole custody, then he'd initiate divorce proceedings.

All tied up in a legal contract, on which she had signed her name with a speed that had sickened him.

If there was such a thing as divine justice, he reflected, Yvonne had reaped it. A month after Christina's birth he'd been in New York when he received the news Yvonne had died in a fatal car accident late at night after attending a party. The man with her had shared a similar fate.

He'd taken the next flight home and picked up the pieces, dealt with the media rumours, a departing nanny and employed another.

The second of four in five months, he conceded with grim cynicism. The longest any one of them had stayed was seven weeks.

The small babe in his arms gave a shuddering cry and latched onto her tiny fist.

"Hungry, pequeña?" Her needs held importance over his own, and he crossed to the large storage cabinet, opened it, checked the small refrigerator, witnessed several bottles of made-up formula and breathed a sigh of relief.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Spaniard's Baby Bargain by Helen Bianchin Copyright © 2004 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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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