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One Perfect Night

Written by Teresa Southwick

Chapter Twelve

At twelve midnight Ben stopped the car at the curb in front of Julie's house. The evening had gone perfectly. Donations had been better this year, the program had moved along like a finely tuned machine, and his speech had been well received. People had laughed in the right places and applauded when they were supposed to. The auction had been a huge success and getting a big-name Hollywood star to handle the bidding had been a real game-changer. The guy could squeeze money out of a rock and make it beg to give more. When the numbers were tallied, he felt sure the bottom line would be better than it had been in several years.

But the highlight of the evening by a very wide margin had been dancing with his date. It had been bliss to hold Julie in his arms. Along with not having her support through his personal hell of waiting for the DNA test, Ben had hated not being near her. He'd been determined to be a father first if it had turned out that way, but he'd never stopped missing Julie. If there was any silver lining to the whole mess, it was that he knew for sure what he wanted now.

"Your pumpkin is right on time, Cinderella."

She gave him a tight smile. "Okay, then. Good night."

The engine was barely turned off before her door was open and she was struggling to get out of the low-slung car with her purse, rose, shawl and the long hem of her dress. All of this while wearing those sexy high heels.

"Hold on," he said, "I'm coming around."

"That's all right. I've got it. You must be tired. God knows I am. It's late…"

He frowned. "I didn't think you were working tomorrow. Actually, today."

"I'm not. But it's been a busy, stressful week."

Ben wasn't sure what her problem was, but knew there was one. He got out of the car and hurried around it, then held out his hand.

Without accepting his help, she gathered everything in one hand and lifted the hem of her dress with the other. "I've got this."

The car hadn't transformed into a pumpkin, but Cinderella had certainly changed. Gone was the glowing woman who'd made him feel lucky and proud that she'd agreed to be his date tonight. In her place was a nervous nurse who seemed anxious to get away without being touched.

Forget that. Ben took her elbow and steadied her on the sidewalk whether she wanted his help or not.

She didn't meet his gaze when she said, "Thanks for tonight, Ben. I'm glad I finally got to go to the ball."

If she had sneakers on instead of heels, he fully expected she'd hike up her dress and set a new Olympic record sprinting to the front door. But a gentleman saw a lady home and that meant escorting her into the house. He wasn't sure what was bugging her, but leaving wasn't an option until he found out and eased her worries. Maybe he had scared her with talk of children and family.

On the porch, in the glow from her front door light, he asked, "What's wrong, Jules?"

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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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