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One Perfect Night

Written by Teresa Southwick

Chapter Eleven

Julie hadn't meant to ask, or to bring up the baby at all, but the words were out before she'd thought them through. "Forget I said that. It's none of my business."

"You're wrong." Ben's hand dropped to her bare shoulder, warm and reassuring. "You can ask me anything. Anytime."

"Okay." She considered what she wanted to say and how she wanted to say it.

"I know you're not just responsible for the Mercy Medical hospitals here in Las Vegas, but the whole southwestern region. That also includes ancillary services like Respiratory Therapy, Cardiology, Lab and a whole lot of other things for a whole lot of people." The weight of all that wasn't easy to carry, let alone do it with his easygoing and fair management style. "But tonight everyone in this room could see the genuine emotion behind your words, and that's all about the kids. So it made me wonder."

"I'd be surprised if you didn't. And the answer is no. I'm not sorry the baby wasn't mine."

"Okay." She was way too happy he felt that way.

He half turned toward her and their knees bumped. "I had a crappy childhood. My mother got pregnant and that's the only reason my father married her. It had nothing to do with love. I was nothing more than an inconvenience and there were a lot of fights because both of them tried to push me off on the other. Neither wanted me."

"That's sad. Their loss." Her heart went out to him. She'd had her own challenges growing up, but at least she never doubted that she was loved.

"They're the exact opposite of what I want, what I've been searching for all my life." There was a hint of amusement in his eyes. "Sounds corny, I guess."

"Not to me." It sounded perfect, especially since she'd been raised by a single mother always waiting for a man.

"I want children very much," he continued. "I can't imagine my life without kids in it. If that baby was mine, I'd have tried to be the best father possible, but not being married to my child's mother isn't how I'd want it to go."

"How do you want it to go?"

"I'd find an interesting woman who gets my sense of humor."

"Does she have to be pretty?"

His gaze lingered on her face as if he liked what he saw. "Chemistry is also important. A solid-foundation, to-the-core relationship is the best to build on. I want to bring children into a family with a father and mother, an environment that will last."

"Wow."

"Am I starting to scare you?"

"Of course not."

That was a lie, but not for the reason he thought. Ben Carson had just described everything she wanted. He seemed to be a good man, a solid one that a woman could count on. She could fall for him easily—in fact, she might already be a little in love.

Which was foolish. At her house, they'd teased about being Cinderella and Prince Charming—a fairy tale. But their only other date had seemed perfect, too, and she'd found out quickly that that wasn't the case. The last thing she wanted was to go back to that painful place again.

All she had to do to remain unscathed this time was get through the part of the evening where he took her back to her place.

Only, if he kissed her again, she wasn't sure she could resist going down the same path where she'd already lost him once.

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About the author

I discovered my love for books through being lazy. In a high-school hi...

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Teresa Southwick

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