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Santa's Plus-One Surprise

Written by Melissa Senate

Chapter Twelve

He’s napping,” Darlene said. “But it’s just about time for him to wake up for his bottle.”

Drake sat up. At least she hadn’t said no and told them to leave.

As Darlene left the room, her husband said, “Kid’s a real champ. Wonderful little disposition.”

Drake smiled. That was good to hear.

“Look just like you, too,” John said.

As Darlene brought Colt into the room, Felicity gasped. “He’s your carbon copy.”

Drake swallowed and stood up, uncertain, exactly, how to take the baby, how to hold him. He’d have to figure it out. Some parts of fatherhood were going to have to be instinctive.

Darlene held out the baby, whose big, slate-blue eyes were on Drake’s. Drake carefully took him, cradling the baby close against his chest, careful of keeping his neck supported, though at three months maybe he was past that stage. Drake had a lot to learn.

Colt fussed, and Drake rocked him back and forth a bit, and he quieted down. Drake smiled. He had this.

And then Colt started full-out crying. Nothing Drake did worked.

“Can I hold him?” Felicity asked, popping up. “He’s so beautiful.”

The minute she took him, holding him more upright against herself and rubbing his back, the baby quieted and stared up at her.

“He sure likes you,” Darlene said to Felicity.

“Well, I have tons of experience with little baby nieces and nephews and second cousins. I babysit a lot.”

“Was that your first time holding a baby?” John asked Drake.

“Yes,” he answered honestly. “I hear there’s a course at the Wedlock Creek Community Center for new fathers. I plan to take that when it starts next week.”

The Cartlands seemed to like that. Truly, instead of being grudgingly pleased.

“I’ll be very honest with you, Drake,” Darlene said. “There’s something you should know.”

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Melissa Senate

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