One Secret Night, One Secret Baby

One Secret Night, One Secret Baby

by Charlene Sands

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Original)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780373734474
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 03/08/2016
Series: Moonlight Beach Bachelors
Edition description: Original
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.50(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Charlene Sands is a USA Today bestselling author of 35 contemporary and historical romances. She's been honored with The National Readers' Choice Award, Booksellers Best Award and Cataromance Reviewer's Choice Award. She loves babies,chocolate and thrilling love stories.Take a peek at her bold, sexy heroes and real good men! and Facebook

Read an Excerpt

She wasn't a one-night stand sort of girl.

Emma Rae Bloom was predictable, hardworking, ambitious and least of all, adventurous. Boring. She never did anything out of the ordinary. She was measured and sure and patient. Double boring. The one time she'd crushed that mold, breaking it to bits, was at her neighbor Eddie's blowout bash at Havens on Sunset Boulevard in celebration of his thirtieth birthday last month. She'd partied hard, lost her inhibitions as well as her mind during the now infamous Los Angeles blackout and wound up in bed with her best friend's brother, Hollywood heartthrob in the flesh, Dylan McKay.

She'd had secret dibs on Brooke's brother since the age of twelve. He was the older boy with sea-blue eyes and stubble on his face who'd treated her kindly and given her a measuring stick to compare all men against.

There was no going back to reclaim their night together, although her memory of her time with Dylan was almost nonexistent. Just her luck, she had her first ever one-night stand with the hottest guy on earth and her mind had gone as foggy as a London winter day. Too many mango mojitos could do that, she'd been told.

She stood at the port-side railing of Dylan's yacht now. As he approached her, his head wrapped with gauze bandages, a haunted look on his face spoke of sadness and grief. It was a somber day, but beaming rays of sunshine and stunning marshmallow fluff clouds didn't seem to know that. She pushed her sunglasses farther up her nose, grateful to hide her true emotions.

Roy Benjamin was gone, killed in the freakish stunt accident on the set of Dylan's Navy SEAL movie. The tragedy had rocked Hollywood insiders and made a big splash on the news, even eclipsing the story of how the lights went out in the city just the day before. It wasn't just Roy's death that had rocked the entertainment world and hit the headlines with a bang, but Dylan's amnesia resulting from the same blast that had killed his friend.

"Here, have a soda." Brooke walked up beside her brother and offered Emma a glass. "You look like you could use one."

"Thanks." She accepted the benign drink. No more alcohol for her, thank you very much. "It's a hard day for everyone." She sipped her cola.

Standing between her and Brooke, Dylan wrapped his arms around them. "I'm glad you both are here with me today."

Emma's nerves squeezed tight. She hadn't seen Dylan since the night of the blackout. The supportive arm around her shoulders shouldn't elicit any of the sensations she was having. It shouldn't. She sighed. His hand caressed her upper arm lightly, sending shock waves through her system. As the yacht backed out of its slip, his body lurched, two hundred pounds of solid granite shoulder to shoulder with her. She stopped breathing for a second and gripped the railing.

"Of course we'd be here," Brooke said. "Roy was a friend of ours, too. Right, Emma?"

She gave Dylan a quick smile. It was such a tragedy that a man so vital and strong as Roy had died at such a young age. He was a Dylan lookalike, his stunt double and a close friend to the McKays. Emma only knew Roy through them and he'd always been nice to her.

Dylan's lips curled up a little, the subdued smile of a man in mourning. "I miss him already."

He tightened his hold, bringing their bodies close. He was the consummate movie star, sunglasses shading his face, blond hair blowing in the breeze and a body carved from hard gym workouts and daily runs. He was Hollywood royalty, a man who'd managed to steer clear of lasting relationships his entire adult life. Darkly tanned, as talented and smart as he was good-looking, he had it all.

Emma should be concentrating on Roy's death instead of her dilemma. Yet as she'd dressed this morning readying for Roy's memorial, she'd rehearsed what she would say if Dylan remembered anything that happened between them during the blackout.

I wasn't myself that night. The blackout freaked me out. I've been afraid of the dark since I was a kid and I begged you to stay with me. Can we just go on being friends?

Now it looked as if she could dodge that confession. Soul-melting blue eyes, dimmed now from grief, settled upon her as they always had. He saw her as his sister Brooke's friend, nothing more. He had no memory of their night together. The doctors termed it dissociative amnesia. He was blocked and might never remember the hours or days leading up to the blast that took his friend's life and sent a hunk of shrapnel tunneling into his head. He'd been knocked unconscious and had woken up hours later, in the hospital.

He let her go to sip his soda and she began breathing normally again. Cautiously she took a step away from him. Having his hand on her played too much havoc with her brain. She had escaped telling him the truth today, and the devil on her shoulder whispered in her ear, Why rock the boat? Clever little fiend. This can be your little secret.

Could she really get away with not having to tell him?

She battled with the notion as the yacht made its way out of Marina del Rey, traveling past the docks at a snail's pace. Pungent sea scents filled her nostrils, seagulls squawked overhead and one white-winged bird landed on a buoy and quietly watched the yacht head into open seas.

"I guess it's time," Dylan said, minutes later, once they were far enough out to sea. Dylan wanted to do this alone, with just his family. Later today, a memorial would be held at his Moonlight Beach home open to Roy's friends and fellow crew and cast members, the only family he'd ever known. That's when Emma and Brooke would go to work, hosting an informal buffet dinner in Roy's honor. It definitely wasn't a Parties-To-Go kind of event, but Dylan had turned to them for help. "Roy always joked, if he missed the net from a ten-story fall, to make sure I tossed his ashes from the Classy Lady. He loved this boat, but I never thought I'd ever have to do this."

Brooke's doe eyes softened on her brother and Emma hurt inside for both of them. Brooke and Dylan were miles apart in most things, but when push came to shove, they were always there for each other. Emma envied that. She had no siblings. She had no real family, except for foster parents, two people who'd taken her in and then neglected her as a child. She hadn't hit the jackpot in the parent department, that was for sure. Not like Brooke. Brooke was Dylan's younger foster sister whom his parents had eventually adopted. They were totally amazing. They'd been better parents to Emma than the two who'd collected monthly checks on her behalf.

Dylan made swift work of saying heartfelt words about his friend, his voice tightening up to get it all out, right before he opened the urn, lifted it up and let the wind carry Roy's ashes out to sea. When he turned around, tears filled his eyes and his mouth quivered in heartbreak. She'd never seen this vulnerable side of Dylan and she gripped the railing tight to keep from going to him. It wasn't her place.

Brooke went to him and cradled him in her arms the way a mother would a child, whispering soft words of sympathy in his ear. Dylan nodded his head as he listened to his baby sister. After a few minutes he wiped the tears from his eyes and the solemn expression from his face. He gave Brooke a sweet smile.

Dylan McKay was back.

It was the first time Emma had ever seen him let his guard down.

It touched her soul.

Secret dibs.

Dylan's kitchen could swallow up her little apartment in one large gulp. Every kind of new age appliance ever conceived was set on the shiny onyx granite counter and in the textured white cabinets. It was a culinary dream kitchen and his housekeeper, Maisey, made great use of it. She'd cooked up a storm for the fifty-plus people who'd come to pay their respects to Roy Benjamin. Aside from Maisey's home cooking, the caterers Emma had commissioned delivered trays of finger foods, specialty breads and appetizers. Everyone from grips to the president of Stage One Studios was here. Emma and Brooke, dressed in appropriate black dresses with little ornamentation, set out the food and offered drinks to the guests. They weren't acting as Parties-To-Go planners today as much as they were Dylan's hostesses for this sad event.

"Did you see what Callista is wearing?" Brooke muttered under her breath.

Emma set out a plate of sweet-cream-and-berry tarts on the dessert table, shooting a quick glance to the living room, where many of the guests were gathered. Callista Lee Allen, daughter to the Stage One Studio mogul, was on Dylan's arm, hanging on his every word. She wore Versace, and the only reason Emma knew that was because she'd overheard the blonde gloating about it. It was a silver glimmer dress with detailed layering and jewels dripping off her throat and arms. "I see."

"It's not as if the Fashion Police are trolling. Roy deserves better. This day isn't about her."

Emma grinned. "Tell me how you really feel, Brooke. At least she talks to you. I'm invisible to her." Being a friend of Dylan's sister didn't rank high enough on Cal-lista's status scale to award Emma an iota of her attention.

"Be grateful. Be very grateful."

Emma stood back from the arrangement, giving the presentation scrutiny. They'd draped the dessert table with tablecloths in varying colors and edged each platter with flowering vines. This is what they did. And they did it well.

"It's none of my business, but Dylan's on-again, off-again relationship with her isn't good for him," Brooke said.

Emma shot them another glance. Callista's eyes flashed on Dylan's bandage, one hand possessively on his arm as she reached up with the other to touch the injury. Emma watched the scene play out. Dylan was deep in conversation with Callista's father and didn't seem to notice her unabashed attention.

Sucking oxygen in, Emma glanced away and tamped down pangs ofjealousy swimming through her body. She'd be ten times a fool to think she'd ever have a chance with Dylan. He was her friend. Period. "He's a big boy, Brooke."

"I never thought I'd say this, but thank God my brother doesn't commit. She's all wrong in so many ways." Brooke lifted her hands in a stopping motion that was her signature move. "But like I said, none of my beeswax."

Emma smiled at her friend and put the finishing touches on the dessert table. Maisey had made coffee and there was hot water and a sampler box of teas available.

Dylan approached, gorgeous in a tailored dark suit and tie. He'd changed his clothes from the jeans and black silk shirt he'd worn this morning on the yacht. "Do you two have a minute?" he asked quietly. His brows were gathered in question. Brooke and Emma nodded and he guided them to the far side of the kitchen, out of earshot of anyone. It was all so curious.

"You girls have done wonderful today. Thank you," he began and then shook his head. "I'm figuring you'd give it to me straight. Callista and I…are we a thing again?"

Emma held her breath. She wouldn't comment on her thoughts about the bottle blonde. Dylan didn't exactly confide in her about his love life, but his earnest question made her stomach ripple in guilt. She had a truth to tell him, too, and maybe it would help spark his memory, but it could also make things weird between them, which was the last thing she wanted.

Brooke seemed eager to answer, but shook her head as if formulating her thoughts. "You don't remember?"

"No. But she's acting like we're ready for the altar. From what I remember, that wasn't the case. Am I wrong?"

"No, you're certainly not wrong," Brooke shot back. "Not even close. Before…before your accident, you told me you were going to break it off with her for good."

"I did? I don't remember." Poor Dylan was struggling. His gaze lifted to the wide windows that opened out onto the sea, as if he were searching for answers there. He seemed lost right now, not his usual self-confident, always-one-step-ahead-of-everyone, charming self.

"If she says it's more, Dylan, I'd be careful," Brooke offered. "She's banking on your amnesia to worm her way back into your."

Dylan turned to his sister, his brows lifting and a crooked smile emerging. "My what?"

"Your good graces," Emma finished for her.

Dylan slid her a knowing look. "Always the diplomat, Em. But somehow, I don't think that's what Brooke was going to say." He began nodding. "Okay, I get the picture." He glanced at Callista, who was now surrounded by a few other actors in the film. She was deep in conversation yet constantly casting him furtive glances at every opportunity, sizing him up and staking her claim.

Brooke was right—Callista was all wrong for Dylan. How difficult it must be for him not to remember some things, not to have a grasp on his feelings. "You're the only ones I can trust," he said. He rubbed his brow, just under his bandage. "I can't tell you how bizarre this feels. I see some things clearly. Other things are fuzzy at best. And then there's a whole chunk that I don't remember."

Emma plunked three ice cubes into a glass and poured him a root beer, his favorite from childhood. "Here, drink up."

"Thanks," he said, "though I could use something stronger."

"The doctor says not yet. You're still on pain meds." Brooke's internal mother came out. It really was sweet seeing how close the two had become since the move from Ohio to Los Angeles years ago.

"One drink won't kill me."

"Let's not find out, okay? I was worried enough when you were sent to the hospital. And Mom just went home two days ago. If I have to call her again to tell her you're back in Saint Joseph's, she'll have a heart attack."

Dylan rolled his eyes. "You see how good she is, Emma? She knows exactly how to lay on the guilt."

A chuckle rumbled from Emma's throat. "I know all about Brooke's tactics. I work with her."

"Hey!" Brooke said. "You're supposed to be on my side."

"Like I said, Emma's a diplomat. Thanks for the drink." He lifted his glass in mock toast and then pivoted around and walked away.

"He'll be okay," Brooke said, watching him head back to his guests. "We just have to do whatever it takes to help him along."

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One Secret Night, One Secret Baby 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beginning was okay, she knew she was pregnant; but she didn't know how to tell her best friends brother about the baby. He has temporary amnesia, they get married. Someone is trying to kill him, he remembers the baby can't be his, they separate. Story has to many twists, ex girlfriends and a killer on the loose. Liked the beginning and ending.
SusanFrank More than 1 year ago
Very good friends to lovers story. Emma and Dylan have known each other for a very long time. She is best friends and business partners with his sister Brooke, and has always had something of a crush on Dylan. One night when at a party she got a bit tipsy, then the power went out all over the city. Panicking, she called Dylan for help and he picked her up and took her home. She has vague recollections of begging him to stay because of her fears, and things went further than she expected. Dylan remembers nothing because of an on-set accident the next day that killed his best friend and stunt double and injured him. I liked Emma. She is a strong and independent woman, determined to make her own way in the world. She is also a very good friend to both Brooke and Dylan. She cherishes her friendship with them and doesn't want what happened that night to change things with Dylan. She's not sure whether she's relieved or disappointed that he doesn't remember their night together, but decides to keep it to herself unless he remembers. Then she discovers that she's pregnant and knows she'll have to tell him. Dylan was great. He's made it big in Hollywood, but it hasn't gone to his head. He loves his sister and by extension, her friend Emma. Still grieving for his friend and recovering from his injuries, she and Brooke are keeping a close eye on him. Dylan finds himself attracted to Emma, but as his sister's friend it should be hands off. I loved that Dylan and Emma were friends first. I loved the way he asks her to go with him to a hospital event because he knows he can trust her. His attraction to her starts to show, and she notices the way he keeps touching her. She's not sure what to do, because she wants him but can't believe that he'd really be interested in her. They're getting closer when she discovers her pregnancy. I loved the way that Dylan became so protective of her and wanting to take care of her. It's a circumstance that he never expected to happen to him as he's careful not to raise expectations in the women he's with. He'd been hurt once before and has been protecting himself ever since. It was sweet to see how Dylan wants Emma to move in with him so he can take care of her, but when she resists he backs off. Emma would like nothing more, but she wants to be wanted for herself, not because of the baby. Being an obligation is not what she wants from the man she is coming to love. I really liked the way that Dylan decides that going slow is the way to win her over, and uses old fashioned dates as the way to do it. I loved the progress he made, and the terrific scene where his wish comes true. Things are really looking good for them until his memory returns, revealing an unexpected twist from the night of the blackout. Dylan's insecurities rear up, causing him to react badly. The pain that both were in had me reaching for the tissues as I read. An attempt on his life has Dylan realizing that he had made some mistakes. When the threat suddenly extends to Emma also, he is terrified for her safety. I loved seeing him wake up to the truth of his feelings. The ending was so sweet and romantic and perfect for them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I dont like the twist the story took. Not my cup of tea
judyrudy More than 1 year ago
One Secret Night, One Secret Baby is Charlene Sands contribution to Harlequin Desire’s Moonlight Beach Bachelors series. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Dylan and Emma’s story. I love a good friends to lovers story and that’s what this was. It is a standalone novel but I also enjoyed catching up with some of the characters from the other books in the series. I love anything Ms. Sands writes and I highly recommend One Secret Night, One Secret Baby. I’d like to disclose that I received an advanced copy of One Secret Night, One Secret Baby in exchange for a fair and honest review.
CatmomJD More than 1 year ago
A one night stand with one of Hollywood's hottest actors just got very complicated. Emma Rae Bloom had her first one night stand when she got drunk on the night of the infamous Los Angeles blackout. And it was with none other than the hottest guy on earth, Dylan McKay, Hollywood heartthrob and her best friend's brother. Now Emma is pregnant. Emma barely remembers the night because she drank too much. Dylan doesn't remember it because he has amnesia after an accident on the set of his new movie which left him injured and one of his good friends dead. When Dylan starts getting back some memories, everything changes fast. The night of the blackout might not have gone as Emma thinks it did. What happens next, no one could have expected. Beautifully written. Emma and Dylan's story is one you won't forget easily. Not a detail was missed and the book had my complete attention from start to finish. Many of the scenes were easy to visualize and the characters were easy to identify with. I didn’t see the plot twist coming at the end and really enjoyed the little surprise in the story.
Debby236 More than 1 year ago
Charlene Sands once again proves to her readers how compelling and captivating her stories are with One Secret Night, One Secret Baby. When the power goes out one night, Emma turns to her friend, movie heart throb Dylan McKay, for help. He does ride to the rescue but then he provides so much more. Emma had been drinking quite a bit and the night is blurry to her, but it does not take long until proof of the night manifests itself. Emma is pregnant. Dylan does not remember the night either due to head injury sustained during an on-set explosion the day after. His memories are a bit jumbled but he knows he wants his child to have his name so he proposes marriage. The two marry happily but then Dylan’s memory returns and everything changes. One Secret Night, One Secret Baby is so much than a surprise pregnancy story. Dylan is drawn to Emma and therefore feels as if the night must have occurred even though he does not remember. Emma is also blurry about the night but she knows she called Dylan and he came to her rescue. Both Emma and Dylan are admirable and honorable. Yet both are caught. I love Charlene Sands’ style of writing and the way she draws out her stories, dragging us right into them. She does this one perfectly. She adds in a touch of danger and more than a few surprises to make this one a winner. Pick it up and enjoy it from page one to the very end.