Tuesday, December 23, 2014

#TeaserTuesday: The Daughter He Wanted - Sneak Preview

Hi, everyone! I'm so excited - because it's almost time for The Daughter He Wanted to release to the world! The book will be in stores January 1, 2015. I'm incredibly excited about it for two reasons: 1) it's my first Harlequin SuperRomance and 2) because Alex and Paige just stole my heart as I was writing their story. So today I thought I'd share a sneak peek at the book ... and here we go!

He didn't have to know.

Alex Ryan sat outside the pretty white house on the quiet street in Bonne Terre, Missouri. It was an older home with a wide front porch and ivy growing up the two posts on either side of the three steps leading to the front door. It had a peaked roof with gingerbread trim. It wasn't a true Victorian but someone along the way had added a few Victorian touches to the two-story home. He could see the tops of a wicker couch and rocker on the porch. Pots overflowing with red snapdragons and bleeding hearts hung from the ceiling and wound their way over the steps. In a few more days those plants would begin to die off, but for now they were pretty in the October afternoon sunlight.

There was a hopscotch course painted in sunny yellow on the front walk.

It looked like a happy house. A peaceful house. The kind of place he'd have liked to have grown He didn't have to knock on the pink front door. Didn't need to introduce himself. He could turn the key, put the gearshift in first, make a right at the corner and be back at his own house within twenty minutes.

He could forget about the phone call that led him here. Go on with his life. A gauzy curtain in the front window flicked but he couldn't make out more than a shadow inside. There was a late-model Honda parked in the drive, and the woman who lived here would probably like him to start up the truck and leave.

Alex looked down at his knuckles, white from gripping the steering wheel. He'd been fine before that damned phone call. His job as a park ranger at St. Francois State Park and St. Joe State Park was demanding and required all his focus. When he went home to his big, rambling house in Park Hills he was so tired that all he needed was a TV dinner, a sitcom laugh track and his bed. But the phone call came and now all he could think about was the tricycle he hadn't been able to resist buying four years ago. The trike that was gathering dust in his attic, and was an almost exact replica of the pretty pink model that sat in this front yard now.

The trike he bought had been green, a compromise because Deanna insisted that, when they finally became pregnant, she wanted to be surprised at the birth.

But Deanna had gotten sick, so there hadn't been a baby at all.

What could he gain from pushing himself into the lives of a strange woman and her daughter?

A four-year-old you didn't know about until a week ago, he reminded himself. A four-year-old who lives in a pretty house on a quiet street in a town with an almost invisible crime rate.

She and her mother had been doing fine for four years.

You have a daughter.The soothing voice of the lawyer tasked with telling him about the mix-up at the fertility clinic echoed around the truck cab as if she sat beside him on the leather seat.

He had done the love thing. Married his college sweetheart and had a good life, but all that changed when Dee died. What could he give a four-year-old kid? He didn't know how to act around adults anymore, much less children. It was one of the reasons he turned down every promotion in favor of hiking the park trails alone as a ranger.

Late-afternoon sun peeked from behind a cloud, caught on the chrome handlebar of the pink trike and winked at him.

He had to know.

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