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Santa's Plus-One Surprise

Written by Melissa Senate

Chapter Thirteen

Felicity held her breath and put Colt into the baby swing beside the couch.

What didn’t Drake know? She looked at him, and he glanced at her, his expression tight as he refocused on Darlene.

“When my daughter told me she was pregnant, I wasn’t surprised,” Darlene said. “For the past year Gwenyth had been talking about wanting to have a baby, worrying about being thirty-five and her dream of motherhood not coming true. She just never found The One, I guess.”

Felicity could understand that.

“But then I discovered something,” Darlene said. “My daughter kept a diary and after we ran into you at the funeral, I decided to read it. Gwenyth wrote that she was going to find a good-looking, smart, hardworking type and get herself ‘knocked up.’ That was her exact phrase.”

Drake’s mouth dropped open.

“We now know that you had no idea about Colt,” John said. “Our daughter had no intention of telling you. She wanted a baby and she made a baby happen.”

Drake looked stunned. “That actually never occurred to me.”

“You seem sincere,” Darlene said. “But as I mentioned, we’ve been raising Colt for three months. You’ll need to prove to us that you’re truly committed.”

“I am,” Drake said. “You have my word.”

Darlene stared at him. “I don’t know you. So I can’t take your word. But my daughter thought you measured up for the most important thing in her life. And Ms. Walsh clearly approves of you. I’d like to suggest a trial run. You take Colt for tonight and the next two days. If you want full-time custody after that, we’ll talk.”

“Of course, I will. He’s my son.”

“You haven’t spent more than a half hour with Colt,” Darlene pointed out. “You haven’t been woken up four times at night, seen him through a cold and hacking cough, or paced up and down at 3:00 a.m., trying to get him back to sleep. Plus you’re single and have a full-time job and coaching responsibilities.”

“School just closed for winter break,” Felicity said. “So I’d be happy to pitch in.”

Darlene nodded. “I was hoping you’d say that, Felicity. But let me be perfectly clear, Drake. John and I would be very happy to raise Colt. We love him to pieces and he’d want for nothing. You are his father, though, and you deserve the opportunity to see if fatherhood is really what you want. You didn’t choose it, after all.”

“Maybe not, but a father I am. That’s all that matters now.”

“We’ll see,” Darlene said, standing up.

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Melissa Senate

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