He’s determined to hang on to what’s his.
But he didn’t count on a redheaded spitfire.
Fifth-generation Idaho cattle rancher Hunter McFall has no plans to sell even a tiny parcel of his land. But when he meets New York City lawyer Poppy Chastain, he begins to entertain second thoughts.
This widower is falling for the sexy ginger heart and soul. And he’s reasonably sure she feels the same way. Until the moment when he believes she played him.
Read a snippet from HUNTER’S PRIDE.
By mid-September, Poppy still had no good news on the job front. She’d been on another couple of interviews, but hadn’t landed a new position. Strangely, at least to her, she didn’t feel panicked. Not yet, anyway. She was earning enough at the coffee shop that by being very frugal, she didn’t have to dip onto her savings. She sighed heavily. She’d need to do that once the baby came and she was out of commission for a while. As for what she’d do for childcare, she had no clue.
She’d finally worked up the nerve to tell her parents about the baby. After an interminable moment of shocked silence, to their credit, they’d been extremely supportive. Again, her father had mentioned the idea of coming back to Tennessee and living with them until she found a job. But Poppy knew she was too independent to rely on her parents.
Her mother was already making plans to come to New York shortly before her due date. Poppy figured she’d need help at that time anyway, so she didn’t discourage Jourand’s plans.
As for the baby, everything was going fine, according to the midwife. While Poppy had initially chosen to go with the midwife for financial reasons, she was more and more convinced she’d made the right choice with every visit. The last time she’d seen the woman, she’d been undecided about whether she wanted to know the baby’s gender. But with everything else in her life so up in the air, she’d opted to find out.
Days later, she still couldn’t believe that in the spring, she’d be welcoming a son into the world. Her parents had been over the moon at the news, and had immediately gone out and bought what seemed to be an entire male infant wardrobe.
The mailman had left the package with Roxy that afternoon and he’d brought it over as soon as Poppy had arrived home from the coffee shop. Together, they’d unpacked the box and oohed and ahhed over tiny blue onesies, an adorable T-shirt emblazoned Grandpa’s Little Buddy, and various other miniature accessories.
Later, alone in her apartment with the television playing low in the background, Poppy sorted through the baby things once again. Knowing she had her parents’ support meant the world to her. She’d been so sure they would be disappointed in her. But each little garment was an affirmation that they loved her, and they loved her baby.
Poppy felt a lump forming in her throat and her eyes stung with threatened tears. As she picked up a tiny pair of red sneakers, she surrendered to her emotions.
Can I really do this? Can I have a child and raise him on my own? Should I move back home? And what about Hunter? He deserves to know. Doesn’t he?
Sniffing loudly, she used the back of her bathrobe sleeve to wipe her face and carefully packed the baby things back into the box. For now, she put it in her closet and returned to the living room where she stretched out on the sofa to watch an uninspired sit-com on television.
Resting her hand on her growing belly, she sighed. “What I wouldn’t give for a glass of wine right now.”
A moment later, she felt a slight fluttering in her abdomen. She’d noticed the same thing earlier in the day, but she’d assumed it had just been the black bean soup she’d had for lunch. Frowning, she stilled as she held her breath and waited.
Before long, she felt it again. Her heart pounded. This time, not only had she felt it inside, she’d felt it with her hand on the outside.
The baby was moving! Excited, Poppy looked around her empty apartment and realized there was no one to tell. She thought of Roxy and knew that he’d left for the club an hour earlier. Her parents were just a phone call away. But she discarded the thought of calling them.
This is what it’s like to raise a child by yourself, she realized sadly. All those moments that are meant to share with someone else, only you’re on your own.
A wayward idea floated through her mind. I could call Hunter. After all, he’s the baby’s father.
Poppy leaned back on the sofa and tried that idea on for size. It had been over three months since she’d left Idaho. And the situation for McFall Ranch was radically different now. There was no highway winding across the ranch, and there was no mountain resort under construction. Nor would there be, ever.
Maybe by now he’d cooled off. Maybe by now he realized that she hadn’t been involved in the scheme to steal his land.
And you’re having his baby, her conscience helpfully reminded her.
Chewing her lower lip, she reached for her phone and swiped it on. When she scrolled to Hunter’s number, his hazel eyes sparkled up at her with amusement and just a hint of heat, and she felt her stomach drop.
It’s easy, her inner self encouraged her. Just tap that little green phone icon. Canned laughter from the television punctuated her imaginary conversation.
“And tell him what?” Poppy muttered out loud. “Hi, Hunter. Yeah, I’m having your baby. It’s a boy, by the way. Oh, and I was just calling to tell you I felt him move today, so…”
She shook her head. “Yeah, I can just imagine how that would go over.”
Instead, she clicked off the phone, dropped it on the coffee table, and turned her focus back to the television comedy.HUNTER’S PRIDE by Pandora Spocks