Baby Love (Kendrick-Coulter-Harringan Series #1)

Baby Love (Kendrick-Coulter-Harringan Series #1)

by Catherine Anderson

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Desperate and determined, Maggie Stanley grabs her small baby and runs into the snowy Idaho night. In her loneliest, blackest hour, she unexpectedly finds a warmth and comfort she has never known in the tender compassion of a handsome, down-and-out stranger. In Rafe Kendrick, Maggie recognizes a soul wounded like her own—though she knows she must never trust any man ever again.

Rafe is more than he seems—an enigmatic man of secrets who could give Maggie the moon, had he not vowed to spend his life alone. But sometimes love's flames can transform a cold world into paradise—and a man who's lost nearly everything, a woman who's forgotten how to dream, and the helpless child who needs them both can become that most wondrous creation: a family.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061738524
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Series: Kendrick-Coulter-Harringan Series , #1
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 26,627
File size: 584 KB

About the Author

Catherine Anderson is a bestselling American romance novelist. She resides in the pristine woodlands of Oregon, is married to her high school sweetheart, and has authored more than 30 award-winning historical and contemporary romances. Throughout her career, she has made numerous bestseller lists, such as the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Ingram, Waldenbooks, and Barnes & Noble. She has received nominations for the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Awards, as well as being a RITA® Award finalist, and was given a Career Achievement Award by Romantic Times for Contemporary Romance.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Drifting in the misty unreality of dreams, Rafe Kendrick surrendered himself to the images that moved softly through his mind. As he sank deeper into slumber, the details gained clarity and seemed more lifelike. He smiled drowsily. He was down on the lakeshore, he realized, not far from the main ranch house. Through the stands of evergreen trees, he could see the sprawling expanse of ivy-covered brick that was his family home, three of its fireplace chimneys silhouetted against the summer-blue sky. On the gentle breeze, he heard the whinny of a stallion coming from the north pasture behind the stables.

Home. On some level he knew this was only a dream, but it felt wonderfully real, a vivid recollection of all that he'd lost. Small, water-worn rocks shifted under his feet as he followed the sweep of shoreline. The soft lapping of the water soothed him. He took a deep breath, identifying the smells that had once been so commonplace he scarcely noticed them. Fir and pine. Sunwarmed grass and fertile earth. A crisp edge to the breeze, even on a summer day, because the highelevation basin was ringed by snowcapped peaks.

His footsteps slowed as he crested a slight rise. Ahead of him in a shaded grove, he saw a sorrel mare and a buckskin gelding. They grazed contentedly, their reins loosely draped over the limbs of sapling oaks. Nearby two blanket-draped saddles rested on the green grass.

A sense of deja vu filled Rafe. He remembered this day. He and Susan had taken the kids for a short ride through the forest, and then they'd come back here for a picnic by the lake. They had enjoyed themselves, singing silly songs they made up asthey went along to entertain their three-year-old son, Keefer. It had been a near perfect outing, and they had ended it here because they loved spending time near the water.

He eagerly scanned the clearing, his yearning to catch a glimpse of his family so sharp that it made his breath hitch. Drawn by a red-checkered tea towel that fluttered in the breeze, his gaze came to rest on the wicker picnic basket first. The hinged lid was wedged partially open by the protruding neck of a wine bottle that their nannyhousekeeper, Becca, had slipped inside to accompany their meal.

Oh, yes...he remembered it all so clearly — Susan, in snug faded jeans and a pink cotton blouse, her golden hair caught at the crown with a clip to spill in a silky cascade to her shoulders. He could almost hear the sound of her laughter rippling around him — and smell the little-boy scent of his son, riding double in front of him on the buckskin. After coming here to eat, he had rocked his baby daughter to sleep while Susan set out the food, and he could recall exactly how his little girl's plump body had felt in his arms.

A slight frown pleated Rafe's brow. This was too real to be a dream. He could actually hear the water lapping and feel the breeze caressing his skin. With every step he took, the beach pebbles pressed sharply into the soles of his riding boots. Dreams weren't this vivid.

Oh, God. Could he dare to hope? Maybe a miracle had happened, and somehow he'd been hurtled back in time. Maybe, after all this time, his prayers had finally been answered and God was giving him a second chance.

Oh, yes, please...All he needed was just one more chance. This time, he wouldn't blow it. He'd put his family first. Nothing had ever mattered more to him than his wife and kids. Nothing. He'd just gotten so caught up in the everyday responsibilities and obligations of being a husband and father that he'd lost sight of what was really important for a while.

He'd never make that mistake again.

Wanting, needing to believe that this was all actually real, he clenched his hands into throbbing fists and eagerly scanned the clearing. Susan and the kids lay only a short distance away from the picnic basket. The three of them were taking a nap on a Navajo blanket he'd spread on the grass for them. Their snuggled forms were dappled with sunlight that filtered through the fir boughs above them. Susan lay on her back with a child on each side of her, her sweet face relaxed in sleep, her lush mouth curved in a slight smile of contentment. His son Keefer had fallen asleep with his arms around her neck, and he still clung to her, his baby-soft cheek pressed to her breast. The six-month-old Chastity was cradled in Susan's other arm, her tawny curls glistening like drizzles of honey.

Rafe walked toward them, a sharp ache stabbing his chest. Dear God, how he loved them, and it had been so long — so very long — since he'd seen them. Thank you, God. He wanted to shout and run to cover the distance more quickly. But no. He couldn't shake the feeling that this scene from out of his past might exist only in his imagination. A loud sound or sudden movement might shatter it like fragile glass.

As he moved closer to the blanket, Susan's face grew less distinct. He squinted down at her, wanting to see her more clearly. But no matter how hard he tried, her features remained an elusive blur, framed by a nimbus of golden hair. He came to a stop, staring so hard that his eyes burned. It was like trying to see her through a plate of steam-fogged glass.

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Baby Love (Kendrick-Coulter-Harringan Series #1) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 102 reviews.
Kiko1021 More than 1 year ago
This book had my full attention from start to finish! It was heart-warming, intense, and romantic. I am a first time reader of Catherine Anderson, but from what I have seen from Baby Love, I will definitely look for more of her books. I felt almost every emotion through this book. The story is about a woman who is robbed of her childhood, self-respect, and has lost all trust on human life. And one day it all gets turned around and she is given a second chance. Some people might say it's too good to be true, but I found it captivating. It was a true romance; love and trust lost, and then found again. It is one of the best books I have ever read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written . Two very different people who suffered horrible loss and abuse must try to move forward and learn to love and trust again. Its takes a long and hard journey to see if love can really cure all.
kimbj More than 1 year ago
After 12 years I still love this book. I have wore out my print copy so I had to buy it for my e-reader. I don't care how many times I re-read it. it's an amazing love story. Even thou I have read the others and they appear in them it's not the same.I wish I could get another book with just them.Love me some Rafe and Maggie.
dbolahood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When she climbs into the box car with her new born baby Maggie Stanley is out of options. She is running away from her abusive step father with no clothes, money or even a place to go. Since Rafe Kendrick lost his wife and children two years ago he has been riding the rails trying to drown his troubles in a whiskey bottle.When Rafe steps in to save Maggie from a group of vagrants intent on raping her he realizes how much she needs someone and decides that he has to take care of her - much to Maggies dismay as she has decided to never trust another man again...This wasn't my favourite Catherine Anderson book but it was still well done. The plot kept things moving and I found myself turning pages well into the night. Rafe was a little too perfect for me. Especially when orginally he had no interest in getting involved and tried to fall asleep agian so he wouldn't have to deal with her rape. The fact that he all the sudden wasn't just going to step in and protect her from the other men in the car but he was going to look after her permenantly seemed a little far fetched. But hey I can live with that it was just very fairytale-esque.For all of Rafe's perfection I found Maggie very refreshing she was tough and not quite so perfect. She had been through alot in her life and like Rafe had a habit of saying "she had a backbone of steel". However, she still needed Rafe and was willing to accept that without too much fuss.Overall I liked the characters and the story - the villian was exteremely evil and was a bit over the top but it served to drive the plot along and kept things exciting right to the end. I'm looking forward to reading Ryan's book but not for awhile - Anderson's books tend to be a bit too similar to read too close together - seperated out though they are very enjoyable love stories.
mom2lnb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Baby Love is a wonderful book that is reminiscent of a grown-up fairy tale, a Cinderella story. As the heroine, it has a young woman who has known the meaning of hard work since she was only fourteen, when her father passed away leaving her with the responsibility of caring for an ailing mother and baby sister. Then an incredibly evil stepfather entered her world bringing nothing but heartache and abuse. When she finally is able to make her escape, she meets up with a scruffy, drunken bum. She briefly entertains a fantasy that he will be her frog that will turn into a handsome Prince Charming. Imagine her surprise, when she discovers that he is really a gorgeous, multi-millionaire rancher who wants nothing more than to give her the happy ending she so richly deserves. Actually this description is a charming underlying element in the narrative, but far too simplistic to express the wealth of complexities and underlying emotions in this beautiful story. It is, at it's heart, a story of two souls, each deeply wounded in their own way, who find hope, love, comfort and healing in each others arms. Catherine Anderson is masterful at creating tight plotting, even with somewhat cliched elements, to bring about a heartwarming story.Rafe Kendrick is a rather dreamy but tortured hero, just the way I like them. I think nearly every woman wants to believe that men like Rafe actually exist (and of course they do, but seem to be a rare breed). I found it to be an incredibly endearing twist to have Rafe fall hopelessly in love with Maggie at first sight, while it took her a little longer. He has a history of being a romantic, as he fell in love at first sight with his first wife as well. It was also a refreshing change to have the hero be the sort of guy who doesn't sleep around with lots of women before finally finding one who captures his heart. Before Maggie, Rafe had only been with one other woman, his first wife, and he loved her very intensely. He was a man of deep emotions who was a kind, gentle, compassionate caregiver to Maggie in every way, both physical and emotional. I love the way that Rafe held himself back from making love to Maggie, giving her time to heal emotionally and learn to trust him. He helped her to do that by indulging in romantic courting rituals even though they were already married. One of my favorite scenes is when Rafe reassures Maggie that her body is still beautiful in spite of the flaws and imperfections that have been brought about by childbirth. Another favorite scene is when he wraps Maggie in his arms while she is nursing the baby. I've always believed that men may not be able to breastfeed, but they can still bond with their family and this was a perfect example. Also any hero who finds a pregnant or nursing woman beautiful (in a non-sexual way of course) is pretty darn near perfect in my book. I think the thing that endeared me to Rafe the most though was his acceptance, without reservation, of Maggie's past and most especially her son, not hesitating to give Jaimie his name and be a father to him in every way that counts.Maggie was a wonderful heroine who was not unlike many women who find themselves in abusive situations. The fact that she endured and survived such horrifying abuse and eventually found a way to escape showed a great strength of character in my opinion. She was also never whiny or clingy, always stubbornly insisting on doing for herself as much as possible even to her detriment. She also insisted on paying her own way, nearly driving Rafe to distraction when all he wanted to do was help her, never expecting anything in return. I think that Maggie's devotion to her infant son, Jaimie, who was conceived and born out of incredibly difficult circumstances was nothing short of amazing. Also her love and sense of responsibility for her young sister, Heidi, and her mentally childlike mother was very heartfelt. Yet her conflicted feelings about her own lost childhood because of that responsi
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome and inspiring
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful story. Real and moving.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have read to mamy times to count. Sweet and pleasureable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just loved this book...were's RAFE when you need a guy like him..MY HERO. One of the best books I have read in a while. I recommed this book forevery one to read. Buy it, get it, and be really entertained..............dpo
krisxxoo More than 1 year ago
This book is the best way for me to expect a wonderful time. It's a great way to spend a few hours in mindful bliss!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Catherine anderson is an amazing writer! This book has all the amazing qualities that all of her books have, love.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first book of Catherine's I read. I absolutely LOVE it! Its not all fluff and sex, although those have their time and place and I like those too, lol. I have a copy on my bookshelf that gets reread regularly. Highly recommend!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An amazing story that had me on my toes the entire time!! Loved it!!
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JudeB More than 1 year ago
Just loved this book. It was one of Catherine's best and I had trouble putting it down and didn't want the story to end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read series book 1
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am an avid reader. More often than not, unforturnetly, alot of books don't have what I consider important for me to totally enjoy them, but this one has it all. It has, of course, love, but it also has suspense, humor, passion and reflection. If you also like these things in a book, this one is for you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book!