Summer Surrender: The Non-Commissioned Baby / Invitation to a Wedding

Overview

Undeniable attraction, powerful passion, intense emotion. Two scintillating romances. . .one hot summer read!

The Non-Commissioned Baby by Maureen Child

Assignment: Fatherhood. Captain Jeff Ryan had just landed his toughest duty ever-daddy to a six-month-old baby girl. The valiant soldier enlisted expert help in the form of Laura Morgan. . .andherlovely form could stop a ...

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Overview

Undeniable attraction, powerful passion, intense emotion. Two scintillating romances. . .one hot summer read!

The Non-Commissioned Baby by Maureen Child

Assignment: Fatherhood. Captain Jeff Ryan had just landed his toughest duty ever-daddy to a six-month-old baby girl. The valiant soldier enlisted expert help in the form of Laura Morgan. . .andherlovely form could stop a battleship. But could it anchor the heart of one tough marine?

Invitation to a Wedding by Peggy Webb

When Dr. Ben Standing Bear attended college pal Josie Bell Picken's wedding he didn't thinkhe'dbe the one walking down the aisle. But someone had to rescue her from Mr. Wrong. And when feelings and an undeniable attraction surfaced, Josie began to wonder. . .if Ben was Mr. Right.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373230242
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 7/1/2004
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: 2 Books in 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 4.14 (w) x 6.74 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Summer Surrender


By Maureen Child Peggy Webb

Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.

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

ISBN: 0-373-23024-9


Chapter One

"Damn cats." Jeff Ryan muttered and swung both legs off the edge of the mattress. Stumbling across his bedroom in the heavily draped darkness, he slammed his big toe into the leg of a chair.

He jerked his foot up, cursed viciously, grabbed the throbbing toe and hopped to the closed door. Yanking it open, he let go of his foot and hobbled across the living room, wincing at the jagged slices of sunlight slanting through the half-opened blinds.

What was wrong with people? he thought. Why couldn't they keep their blasted cats at home instead of letting them sit outside his door howling like lost souls on the way to Hell?

Well, he'd had enough. This time, he'd catch the little beast and carry it straight to the manager's apartment - or the pound.

In a foul mood that was getting worse by the second, Jeff slid back the dead bolt, threw open the door and made a lunge for the cat.

One small problem.

That was no cat screaming from its roost in the basket just outside his door.

"A baby?"

At least, he told himself as he stared down in horror at the red-faced, screaming mass of humanity, he thought it was a baby. At the moment, it more resembled something out of Aliens.

What was going on around here? He lookedup and down the length of the short hallway as if he expected to find the culprit who'd abandoned a baby like something out of a 1930s movie. But no one was there.

He looked down at the baby again, still stunned to find it on his doorstep.

Fat little arms and legs swung wildly in the air, while chubby hands grabbed for something that wasn't there. And the baby's howl was designed to puncture eardrums.

"Hey, kid," he said, bending down to jiggle the basket awkwardly. "Stick a sock in it, will you?"

The infant snorted, sniffed, looked at him, took a deep breath and screamed again.

And people wondered why he had never wanted kids.

Scowling in disgust, Jeff looked up and down the third floor's long hallway again. Not a sign of anybody. Wouldn't you know it? Where were his nosy neighbors when he really needed them? Sure, at eleven o'clock in the morning, no one was around. But let him come home at 2:00 a.m. with his date for the evening, and at the very least, old Mrs. Butler would have her head poked out her open door.

Glancing back at the Scream Machine, he noticed an envelope jutting up from the side of the basket, half-covered by a brightly colored knitted blanket.

Despite the thread of worry that had suddenly erupted in his bloodstream, Jeff reached down and plucked the envelope free. Slowly, dreading what he would find, he turned it over.

He cursed again, louder this time, as his gaze locked on his own name scrawled across the front of the envelope.

Captain Jeffrey Ryan, United States Marine Corps.

A baby on the doorstep? Things like that didn't really happen, did they? His fingers suddenly clumsy, he tore at the sealed flap and pulled out the folded papers. Smoothing them out, he read the note first.

Captain Ryan - Sorry to just leave the baby like this, but you weren't answering your door and I've got 45 minutes to catch a transport to Guam.

He paused. A fellow Marine had done this to him?

I volunteered to bring you the baby. The Sarge's will is enclosed, too, just so's everything's legal. A shame about the Sarge, but we all know you'll do right by his kid. Signed, Corporal Stanley Hubrick.

The Sarge? Jeff wondered. Sergeant who? And what did Corporal Hubrick mean, he knew Jeff would do right by the kid?

Head pounding from the baby's continued screeching, he skimmed the will once, then again, hitting only a few, significant words. Horrified, he lowered the papers and stared accusingly at the infant.

"No offense, kid, but I am nobody's guardian."

Ten minutes later, Jeff was on the phone, the receiver tucked between his ear and his shoulder as he rocked the incredibly unhappy baby in his arms.

At least it had stopped screeching. For the moment.

"I can't believe this," his sister repeated for the fifth time.

"You already said that."

"You're the baby's guardian?"

"According to this will, yes."

"Amazing."

"Peggy," he tried to reason with his sister, "you don't understand. I can't do this. What do I know about kids?"

"I don't know nothin"

"bout birthin' no babies, Miss Scarlett!" she said.

He inhaled sharply and gritted his teeth as she laughed.

"Very funny," he snarled a moment later, the humor in the situation completely escaping him. "Now, are you going to come down here and help me or not?"

"Not," Peggy said, amusement still touching the tone of her voice.

"Peg -" He stared, horrified as the baby started chewing on the sleeve of his T-shirt. Drool ran down the baby's cheeks and chin, pooling in the white fabric. "That's disgusting," he muttered.

"What?"

Snapping back to the bigger problem, he said, "Never mind. Peg, you've got to come."

"I always said you'd make a great father."

Yes, she had, but she had been the only one to think so.

"Cut it out." Silently, he shouted at his long-dead parents for gifting his sister with such a warped sense of humor. "This is serious. I've got to see about correcting this mess. Fast."

"What's to correct?" she said, and in the background, he heard one of his nephews apparently trying to behead his niece.

Jeff winced. Maybe he'd called the wrong person for advice on kids.

Her hand obviously half over the phone, Peggy calmly said, "Teddy, don't twist your sister's arm, you'll break it."

Unbelievable. Teddy. A nine-year-old enforcer.

"Honestly, Jeff," Peggy spoke to him again. "You're just going to have to deal with this. Whose baby is it, anyway?"

The name would be forever etched into his memory. "Sergeant Hank Powell. We served together in the Gulf. According to the note, Hank and his wife were killed in a car accident."

"Oh," soft-hearted Peggy sighed. "How terrible."

"Yeah," Jeff muttered, with a glance at the infant staring at him through wide blue eyes. Heck, he hadn't seen Hank in years. What had Jeff ever done to make the man hate him enough to saddle him with his kid?

"Oops," his sister said abruptly. "Gotta run. Thomas's violin lesson is in fifteen minutes. Then Tina has ballet and Teddy has -"

"Karate?"

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Summer Surrender by Maureen Child Peggy Webb 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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