Today’s snippet is another new to us author. I have to tell you that after reading this snippet I can’t wait to read the book.
Harper looked at the bag as it dangled from his fingertips before taking. Kevin followed her to the large, overstuffed sofa and examined every movement as she sat and fiddled with the bow.
Her breath was heavy as she pulled the ribbon and lifted the tissue wrapped item from the bag. Kevin watched nervously, wondering if she would like it.
“Oh, Kevin,” she gasped as she held up the small crystal statue. “It’s beautiful.” Harper turned the object in her hand, examining every curve. “You remembered I like snowmen?”
“Do you still collect them?” He sat next to her on the sofa. He couldn’t resist the crystal snowman when he saw it in the window of the artisan’s shop on 73rd St.
“I do. I saw this piece last week. I almost bought it myself, but I couldn’t rationalize buying a Christmas decoration in October.”
“It made me think of you.”
“Thank you,” she said and placed the figurine on the end table nearest the window.
“So,” he said. “Why did you ask me here?”
“I asked you here for dinner.”
She stood before him wringing her hands. Her movements were abrupt; the change in her demeanor was so unexpected, Kevin wondered if he said something wrong.
“Do you want something to drink? A beer, or a glass of wine?”
His hands wrapped around hers and he drew her down on the sofa. “No, what’s up? You’re about to jump out of your skin.” Kevin watched her face wash out. Something was freaking her out. “I know we’re supposed to eat, and it smells great, by the way, but I get a sense I’m missing something.”
“I made chicken,” she said flatly. “But you’re right. That’s not why you’re here.”
The comment was enough to make his back stiffen and he wondered what had happened to bring on that kind of response. She was tense, anxious and it was becoming apparent this wasn’t going to be the easy, getting reacquainted evening he’d had in his head. She flexed her hands, rubbed her upper arms. It was painful to watch the strain in her body. Something was definitely wrong. Finally, without a word, she stood and walked into the kitchen. He stayed on the sofa and tried to figure out why she was so nervous. Scratch that—not nervous, terrified.
The crash and the curse he heard from the kitchen sent him hurtling to the doorway. Harper stood over the sink picking up broken glass.
“Jesus. Are you okay?” He rushed to her and looked in the sink where a water glass was in pieces in the sink.
“I’m fine. Just clumsy.”
“Let me get that.” He stepped to the sink and finished cleaning up the glass and watched as she checked whatever was baking in the oven.
“It does smell good. I didn’t think you cooked.”
She shrugged. “I get by.”
“I’ll take the bag to the garbage chute when I leave.” He waited for a response. Nothing. She still wasn’t talking and he was done playing games. Kevin put his hands on her shoulders and guided Harper to a chair at the small island, pinning her with his eyes. It was all he had going for him and he hoped it worked. “Want to tell me what’s going on?”
“Not really.” Harper chuckled and Kevin was relieved that she was trying to lighten the mood a little. But there was such tension in her; the woman was strung tighter than a bow.
“How are you adjusting to New York?” she asked.
“It’s not really an adjustment—I mean it is home. I like being closer to my family and my teammates are great.”
“Think you’ll stay put for a while?” That question threw him a little. Was Harper trying to gauge how long she was going to have to dodge him? Was she going to let him in a little bit and want to know if he was worth the time? What was she driving at?
Never being one to avoid something difficult, Kevin had to think carefully about the answer. She was fishing for information, that was clear. The question was, why?
“That’s a pretty cryptic question. What makes you ask?” She glanced down, and a shyness crept over Harper he’d never seen before. What the hell? She didn’t say anything right away and that made him push forward. Taking a step toward her he continued, “I want to stay. That is the plan.”
“You do?” Her eyes turned to his and the expressiveness, the emotion gave his heart a little jolt. Something was going on, but she wasn’t giving up any of the details. Not yet.
“Why don’t you tell me what this is all about? You didn’t ask me over to find out about my career plans did you?”
She shook her head and looked away. This girl was hiding something. Her body language, her eye contact was off. “Not exactly,” she whispered.
Kevin’s hand came up and his index finger stroked her cheek. “Harper is there something you need help with? A problem.” Her eyes were still averted. His finger traveled to her chin and he brought her face up so he could look her straight in the eyes. “What is going on?”
“This thing we started last year. It’s complicated. I mean with my work and what you do for a living and your family…” She twisted her fingers nervously. “It got so intense between us but I didn’t know where it was all going.”
“I’m not following. I thought we were pretty serious.” She rolled her eyes. “Are you worried that if we pursue something and it doesn’t work out my family will get involved?”
“Not exactly, well, maybe. God, I’ve made a mess of things.”
“Whatever it is, it can’t be that bad. Let me help.”
“Oh, it’s bad.”
“If you’re worried about my sister…”
“It’s not just about your family,” she whispered, and once again she walked away from him, a bundle of nervous energy. He followed her back to the living room where she stood facing the fireplace. She must have heard him come in, because she started speaking without turning around. “I was falling for you last year. No doubt about it and it scared me to death.”
“Me too. That’s why I didn’t understand why you cut me out of your life.” Hearing her say it, hearing the emotion in her voice made Kevin wonder where this conversation was going.
“I didn’t realize you were as serious as I was and I wasn’t about to be in a one-sided relationship. I don’t do complicated well. I’m very concrete and my emotions have gotten me in trouble in the past. I tend not to trust them.”
“How could you not know I thought it was serious between us? I called you for six months. I’m sorry if I did something, but—”
Harper cut him off. “Don’t say that. Don’t apologize. Shit, I can’t dance around this anymore.” She faced him and plowed forward. “There’s no easy way to say what I have to say.” She took a breath and her words came out on a whoosh. “I had a baby.”
Kevin staggered slightly at her words and reached back for a chair or some kind of support. Of all the things she could have said, that was the last one he expected. “A baby?”
“Yes,” she whispered.
His hands knotted behind his neck, and he tried to let it all sink in. A baby. A baby? First there was confusion, then as he started to understand, anger. He felt his jaw tighten as he had more time to adjust. But how was this adjusting? He’d never felt this before. It was rage, betrayal, shock all rolled into one. “Are you saying you had my baby?” When she didn’t answer immediately, his voice turned low and cold, chilling her from the inside out. “Why the hell didn’t you tell me? When did this happen? How could you leave me out of his life?”
“Her,” she said. “It’s a girl.”
“A girl. I have a daughter and you didn’t fucking tell me about her?”
“I’ve wanted to tell you, but I didn’t know how. You were here, then you signed a contract to go somewhere else, then you got traded back…I didn’t know what to do. What to expect next.”
Kevin kept running his hands through his hair while he circled the room. The rushes of emotion that went through him were so complete he didn’t know how he would control himself enough to talk to her.
“Kevin, please say something.”
He stopped pacing and turned to face her. “Say something? What do you want me to say, Harper?” The volume of his voice rose with each word. “That everything’s okay? It’s not. This is not fucking okay! How could you do that? How could you keep her from me?” he shouted.
“I didn’t think you’d want her and I didn’t want you to feel trapped.”
“Trapped?” His anger slipped out as his voice hardened. “That wasn’t for you to decide. It was mine.”
“I know.” Her voice cracked but her expression was focused, unbreakable.
Kevin grabbed a picture off the end table that he hadn’t noticed when he came in—a photo of a round, soft, perfect baby girl cradled in her mother’s arms. For a split second the anger was replaced with a wave of affection for not only the baby but for Harper. But it only lasted a second. “This is her?”
Harper nodded and straightened her shoulders. He’d never seen Harper cautious. Or scared, but that was the woman who stood before him. She was not the badass executive he was used to seeing.
“What’s her name?” The little details became so important. Her name. Her birthday. Her favorite color.
“Annalise. I call her Anna.”
Annalise. It was beautiful. Perfect like the little baby on the photo and he wouldn’t ever have known if he hadn’t run into Harper at the grocery store the night before. If he hadn’t pressed her to see him. He stared at the photograph. This was his daughter. The baby she was holding in the photo was his.
The swell of emotion for his child was overwhelming. Unexpected. Terrifying.
Harper hadn’t moved. Her hands were clasped tightly at her waist and although she was trying to appear unruffled he could see in her eyes she was nervous. Well, tough shit, he thought. It didn’t matter. He didn’t care.
He’d always liked her. He’d liked her from the very beginning thinking she was misunderstood when Meg was suspicious of everything she did when they first met or when Caroline called her cold and manipulative. Now he knew there was truth behind the way they felt.
Millionaire baseball player Kevin Rossi is quite a catch…
Harper Poole’s Harvard MBA and killer instincts have made her a high-powered assistant at a software firm that generates billions. No one would ever guess she’s been keeping a secret: that she isn’t the trust fund baby everyone thinks she is, but was really raised in a trailer park in western Pennsylvania. Harper has a great life and has everything she wants—except love. But a one-night stand at a wedding with the bride’s brother can help take a girl’s mind off anything.
Kevin Rossi is a superstar major league catcher who can have any woman he wants. So when Harper discovers she’s pregnant after their one night of passion, she has no intention of making any demands on him. It will just be another secret to keep. But when the two meet again a year later, Harper wrestles with her choice—especially when her heart longs for the father of her baby