The Playboy's Baby?
by Crystal Green
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Morgan hadn’t slept a wink all night.
With doubts weighing him down, he’d asked one of his house assistants to drive Rosemary back to the motel. Her confession - and how he’d reacted to it - had thrown him into confusion, leaving his body a hollow shell.
Now as the morning sun slouched through the nursery window, Morgan lingered over the intricate crib, the blue blankets, the toys he’d purchased for Tommy.
“So you’re a basket case, too.”
Morgan turned around to find a blond woman leaning against the doorframe, watching him.
“Hi,” she said, sticking out a hand in greeting, “I’m Charise. But I suppose you can call me Grandma.”
“I’ve heard about you.” He shook her hand but without much spirit.
“I hope it’s okay that one of your men let me in.” Her light brown eyes searched him. “I’ll be in enough hot water with Rosemary when she finds out I’m playing referee.”
“How is she?” he asked, stomach flipping just at the thought of her.
“Sad. She told me all about your romantic night. The ill-timed confession of motherhood. The way you sprinted out of the room.”
Exactly. That’s how the old Morgan reacted to uncomfortable situations: running from hard times and seeking a place that held no responsibility or care.
“I understand why she wouldn’t come clean with me,” he said. “I’d do the same for Tommy. But I can’t help feeling betrayed all the same.” Couldn’t help feeling like dirt because she’d lied to him in order to protect their son.
Charise inspected a rainbow-hued mobile that was hanging over the crib. “I’d hate for this shaky start to ruin a bright future.”
“It’d be easier if she hadn’t pretended to be someone else.”
“I’m the one who came up with the idea of omitting the truth at first. She was reluctant, but she knew it was the best thing for Tommy.”
“You’re right. It was.”
She considered him, probably sensing his wounded feelings, his doubts about being man enough to deserve a family.
“There aren’t many people who still believe in true love in this day and age,” she said. “Rosemary’s stayed true to that one night with you, even when half the men in Kane’s Crossing were knocking down her door, thinking she wouldn’t be so hard to get after all, what with that bun in the oven...”
He believed true love could happen. He also believed it could be taken away, just like a flash of lightning splitting a tree apart.
“I keep wondering if she’ll always be thinking the worst of me,” he said.
“Maybe you just need to erase the doubts last night brought out.”
Morgan’s mind started whirring with ideas, with the fear that he might fail to live up to Rosemary’s expectations. “Who knew I could lose my heart twice in the space of a few days? Once to a baby I didn’t know I had, and once to a woman who’s too good for the likes of me.”
“Hey.” Charise held up a finger. “From what I know, neither you or Rosemary were raised by real fathers. Are you going to let an inferiority complex stand in the way of a family for Tommy?”
“Never.” Morgan straightened. “I know I can be a hell of a dad. I can be with Tommy. I’m just not sure about Rosemary.”
How could he tell Charise about those deep-seeded Pollyanna fantasies? His longing for a woman who could keep him away from his dark side with her optimism and light?
But Rosemary had turned out to be a mere human, after all. And Morgan couldn’t help missing the woman who’d appeared on the front porch with Tommy. The innocent.
Charise blew out a breath, hands on hips. “I still don’t get why you’re not knocking down her door. Rosemary’s heart is pure through and through. If you don’t want her, it’s your loss.”
The comment smarted, leaving a heated imprint on his soul.
When he didn’t respond, she shook her head, muttered something about “stupid men” and vacated the room.
Morgan touched a stuffed giraffe, his chest tight. He would be an incredible father to Tommy. He just wasn’t sure what kind of a husband he’d make.
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