Elizabeth had turned down Galen’s offer of marriage nearly a year ago. Having grown up in the foster-care world of broken promises, bleak reality, and bitter fighting, she sees marriage as a trap. When she agrees to adopt her foster-sister’s infant son, she promises to do the best she can as a single mother.
But when the adoption is challenged by the boy’s seedy bio-dad, Elizabeth is told by her attorney that marriage would strengthen her position as the adoptive mother. With Galen ready and willing to assume the baby is his, Elizabeth takes a deep breath…and lies.
Can she overcome this fear of marriage in order to keep the baby? One thing is clear: she won’t abandon her son without a fight…even a dirty one.
168 Pages Spicy
unwittingly, a thought came rocketing through her mind, one that hit so strongly that it was all she could do to not reel back in reaction.
Boyd's bio-dad was threatening to remove this baby from her care. Her attorney said that he wished she were married, in order to strengthen her case. She had been desperately wondering how she could prevent Boyd from leaving her. And here was Galen...
Here was Galen, apparently ready, willing, and able to believe that Boyd was his.
Her shoulders slumped at the thought of deliberately misleading him. Yet there was no doubt that his participation would solve one very big headache for her now.
"Hey," said Galen. She looked up and saw that his face had softened. "You conceived a child, endured a pregnancy, experienced a birth, and you're caring for a newborn, alone. Entirely alone." His voice was gentle. "Why didn't you tell me? You know I've always wanted children. Why didn't you tell me you were pregnant?"
Elizabeth was devastated at his change in tone. Guilt, anger, fear, desperation ... all these emotions buffeted through her brain as she looked at the man she once loved. She knew she was playing with fire by lying to him. Yet the thought of losing Boyd, to either a foster family or to his bio-dad, made her bite her lip and plunge ahead. "I--I--well, after that fight ... I mean, you were so angry, and so was I, that I thought you'd never want to see me again..."
He reached out and touched the bottom of her chin, lifting her eyes to his. They were swimming in tears she couldn't control. "We both hurt each other," he said. "But in light of this"--and he nodded toward the carriage--"maybe we'd better rethink our priorities."
She sniffed and yanked her chin away. "Right now I have only one priority," she said, and dashed the tears away.
"And it looks like I have one, too. Can I hold him?"
She paused, and then murmured, "Yes."
He bent over the carriage. With surprising skill he lifted the sleeping infant and cradled him in the crook of his arm. He pushed the blanket away to see Boyd's face. The baby gave a small sigh, his tiny lips pursed and then relaxed, and he continued to sleep.
She could see the melting look on Galen's face. His son. He thought he was looking upon the face of his very own son...
This would all backfire someday, she knew. Someday Galen would hate her for the lie she had just implied ... but right now, the threat of losing Boyd was too real, too close.
Elizabeth saw the expression of longing and the beginnings of paternal affection and knew that, however unscrupulous her deception, Galen would do just fine as a father.
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