Baby, Be Mine by Emily McKay released on Dec 25, 2002 is available now for purchase.
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Baby, Be Mine
By Emily McKay
Harlequin Enterprises LimitedCopyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Limited
All right reserved.
Chapter One"It's stress," Tabitha Talbot murmured to herself. "Just stress."
Clutching her purse to her chest, she leaned her head against the tile wall. A curl of near-black hair blocked her view of the tiny, one-stall room. She blew it out of the way with a sigh. The cleansing breath didn't loosen the knot in her stomach. Nothing would. Not until the requisite five-minute wait for the results of the test had passed and she knew for sure it really was stress.
She'd never missed a period, no matter how stressful her life. If living with her flaky mother for eighteen years hadn't been stressful enough, then nothing else was.
"Please, just let it be stress."
She stared at her watch. Five thirty-nine. The morning radio show she cohosted with Sam Stevens wouldn't go on the air for another twenty-one minutes. Knowing she had plenty of time didn't lessen her anxiety.
Okay, so taking a pregnancy test at work probably wasn't the smartest thing she'd ever done. But dread had been gnawing at her since she'd stopped at the all-night drugstore to buy the test on the way in. She had to know. Now. Not eight hours from now when she finally made it home. Now.
So she'd crept into the "executive" bathroom, locked the door and peed on the stick. And in approximatelythree minutes and forty seconds, she'd know if she was pregnant.
The seconds seemed to stretch endlessly, as if a lifetime could be lived in between the pulsing of her watch's second hand.
She let her eyes drift closed, simulating a calm she didn't feel. She tried breathing deeply, but the cloying smell of the bathroom air freshener sickened her.
"You'll be okay," she told herself. "Whatever happens, you'll be okay. You're a mature adult. You're in a stable, long-term relationship with a great guy."
Hmm. "Great guy" was a bit of an overstatement. Bob wasn't great so much as ... steady.
He didn't make her pulse pound or her knees weaken. That was okay. She could live without wild-animal attraction. What worried her was that he didn't make her laugh. Didn't challenge her mind.
She wasn't a child. She was long past expecting all that from one man. And steady was much higher on her list of desirable traits than funny or brilliant or even sexy.
"Steady is good," she reminded herself to quell the sinking feeling in her gut. "Steady is what you want."
She'd been raised by a single mother. Her mother's boyfriends had meant well, but none of them had been around long enough to be considered father figures. Her biological father had been just as temporary.
Since long before she'd left for college at the age of eighteen, she'd had her life all planned out. College, career, financial stability, marriage, then - maybe - a child or two.
Yes, she was doing things a little out of order. And yes, she had doubts about Bob. But she wasn't going to let that get in the way of her ten-year plan - which now apparently was going to happen in five years.
The thought made her pulse quicken. She glanced at her watch. Two minutes and fourteen seconds to go.
Since talking to herself hadn't helped, she concentrated on the piped-in music. Naturally, the station always played its own music. She heard the last few notes of one her favorite songs, followed by the station jingle. Then she heard her own prerecorded voice.
"If you didn't catch the show yesterday, here's what you missed ..."
"So, what you're saying," Sam's voice began, "is that you're trying to trap your boyfriend into marrying you."
"Of course not," the listener snapped, "he wants to get married -"
Sam cut her off. "Honey, no man wants to get married. Women want to get married. Men just want to get laid."
A few seconds of canned laughter segued into a commercial for a new restaurant. Now she blocked out that, as well. The clip from this morning's show hadn't distracted her at all. It had only reminded her of what she already knew.
The sexy, single guys - the guys like Sam - were commitment-phobes. Boys pretending to be men. Luckily, Bob was nothing like Sam.
She glanced at her watch. Thirteen seconds to go. She exhaled, then stood. She draped the strap of her mammoth leather bag over the door handle, ignoring it as it dropped with a thud, and flexed her fingers to loosen the convulsed muscles. In two steps she crossed to the vanity. For a moment she stared at herself in the mirror.
"Whatever happens, you'll be okay." She met her reflection's gaze and nodded before looking at the wand.
One window framed a single blue stripe, proof the test had worked. In the other, two blue lines formed an X.
She was pregnant.
Anger flashed through her. This wasn't fair. All her life she'd been so careful, so responsible. And now this? Her future ruined by poor quality control at a latex factory!
She grabbed the wand, intending to hurl it across the tiny room. In her anger, she whacked her knuckles against the vanity. Pain seared through her hand.
"Ouch! Ouch-ouch-ouch, ouch-ouch!"
Still grasping the wand, she shook her hand to dispel the sting.
"Are you okay?"
The question came from behind her. Too close behind her.
Panicked, she whirled to find Sam filling the doorway.
"What are you doing in here?" she gasped.
"What's in your hand?"
Horrified, she looked down at the incriminating wand then thrust her hand behind her back. With forced nonchalance she said, "Nothing."
His eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Was that a thermometer?"
"No. Leave!" She watched in disbelief as he stepped into the room, shutting the door behind him.
"If you're running a fever, you should go home. We can cover for you." His annoying protective instincts were very much at odds with his flippant radio personality. Sometimes she just didn't know which was the real Sam. Today she would have preferred the flippant Sam.
"I'm not sick. How did you get in?"
"The door was open. Now let me see the thermometer." He held out his hand.
With frantic hands she searched the vanity behind her for someplace to hide the wand. Her sleek, pocketless dress proved useless in this situation. Her purse lay on the floor by Sam's feet. Only then did she realize the weight of the purse on the handle must have unlocked the door. Damn her carelessness.
While she was distracted, he reached around her and plucked the wand from her fingertips. For a second, awareness flashed through her. He towered over her, larger and taller than he'd ever been before.
She reached for the wand, but was too late. Horror crossed his face as he realized what he held was not a thermometer. He dropped the wand and stepped away, flattening his back against the door as if the pregnancy test wand carried some deadly disease.
Under other circumstances, she might have laughed.
"I told you it wasn't a thermometer."
"Is that a ..." He seemed unable to choke out the words.
"Yes. It is." She ran her hands over her face to her temples. She massaged the tender skin, trying to ease the ache pounding through her head.
Sam let out a low whistle. Then he crouched and peered at the wand where it lay on the floor. He didn't touch it.
"There's a plus sign. Positive means good news, right?"
"No, positive means the test is positive. Not that the news is positive." Thirty-two and he didn't know how to read a pregnancy test. Lucky guy.
Almost as if he'd read her thoughts he said, "I've never had to read one of these before."
"How nice for you."
"What are you going to do now?" He stood, wiping his hands on his jeans
"I guess I'm going to ask Bob to marry me."
Excerpted from Baby, Be Mine by Emily McKay Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Funny and enjoyable
I read this book like 2 times already its really good.
Tabitha Talbot, Austin radio celebrity, is a woman with a plan--a ten-year plan, mind you. Nothing can cause this in-control woman to squirm--except finding out that she's pregnant, and that her 'toaster-oven steady' Bob is a weasel who bolts and runs at the first sign of a baby. Well, not to worry. Tabitha does the math, cuts her ten-year plan to five--and realizes that a few obstacles still stand in the way. Like her radio cohost, Sam Stevens. 'Wild Man' Sam, he of the ratty, dispreputable shirts--and disreputable, off-color commentary--wants to protect Tabitha. Not marry her, just console her. Make love to her. But not give up his much-cherished freedom for the stability of domestic life, even for a woman like Tabitha. When the money-grubbing, ratings-hungry station manager dreams up a 'Love Letters to Tabita' contest, capitalizing on his pet celebrity's heartbreak, Sam is furious--but inspired. His next-door neighbor, geeky Newt Doyle, is the perfect man for Tabitha. Not, but desperate times require desperate acts--and as the pair find their on-air chemistry threatened by explosive off-the-air chemistry, times are desperate indeed. Funny, hot, and memorable, Emily McKay's debut work will make you laugh out loud--and look eagerly for her next.
When morning radio show co-host Tabitha Talbot informs her boyfriend of two years Bob that she is pregnant, he immediately ends the relationship. She is shocked as she thought they would just marry. Her station boss Marty decides that finding a boyfriend for the heart broken Tabitha would be the perfect publicity stunt. Tabitha, even with the help of her on the air partner Sam Stevens, fails to persuade Marty to leave well enough alone. Though Sam is a confirmed bachelor, he felt protective towards Tabitha, but now his need to keep her safe has gone into the stratosphere. Tabitha blames her desire for Sam on the raging hormones of her pregnancy. When they make passionate love, Sam realizes that he wants his Tabby by his side afternoon and night not just in the AM, but she was already dumped once and cannot believe commitment phobic Sam is talking family affair. BABY, BE MINE is an amusing relationship drama that will surprise readers to learn that this is author Emily McKay¿s debut. The story line is fun due to the seesaw romance between the lead couple and the antics of the support cast, especially at the station. Though Bob¿s fleeing his responsibility is never adequately explained, the audience will take great delight with this ¿He Said She Said¿ style romance. Harriet Klausner
Tabitha Talbot and her partner, Sam Stevens, were morning radio celebrities. When Tabitha found out she was pregnant she told her boyfriend and ended up dumped. Sam was around when Tabitha's test stick showed positive, but no one else at the station knew of the baby. Still, word of being dumped traveled. The station manager decided to use it as a promo. The listening audience was invited to mail in love letters for Tabitha. She would choose the best and go out on a date with the winner. Sam was a confirmed bachelor and was in no way daddy material. At least that was what he thought. However, since the boyfriend was out of the picture, he (as a concerned friend) made sure Tabitha saw her doctor, took her vitamins, and ate right. The attraction he had always felt for her exploded into much more. Now he had only to somehow convince her. ***** Oh, this story is pure delight! I began reading on a Saturday, intending to read an hour before heading out for lunch, only to continue reading until the last page had been read. (Who needs lunch anyway? There is always dinner!) I urge you to buy this novel! It is full of humor and romance and is very addicting! *****