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Santa's Plus-One Surprise

Written by Melissa Senate

Chapter Fourteen

Drake’s black pickup truck was now full of baby paraphernalia that the Cartlands determined Colt would need, everything from a playpen to the swing to a large bassinet to diapers and bottles and pajamas and burp cloths. There was even a baby bathtub, and Drake realized he’d never given a thought to how babies got clean.

As he backed out of the Cartlands’ driveway, he glanced at Felicity, thanking his lucky stars he’d gotten her involved in all this. Just having her beside him made him feel less edgy about how he was supposed to go from zero experience at babies to caring for a three-month-old for two and a half days.

No. Not days. Forever.

“This is some schedule,” Felicity said, flipping pages in the notebook Darlene had provided pertaining to all things Colt. “Feeding times, naps, bedtime, bath.”

“I plan to follow that to the T,” Colt said. “It’s my new bible.”

“Well, just know that life and perfect schedules don’t always mesh. You have to expect some curveballs.”

No one knew that better than he did. To wit: the fact that Felicity Walsh was his “serious girlfriend,” helping him out for the next couple of days.

“I wish I could see Colt’s face,” Drake said, glancing in the rearview mirror at the rear-facing car seat. “I just want to hold him. I have three months to make up for.”

Felicity smiled and touched his arm, and again a jolt zapped through him. “Oh, and you can drive faster than fifteen miles an hour,” she said as another car passed them on the road out to his ranch. “But I get it.”

People could go around him. He had his baby in that back seat.

They made it to the ranch, the familiar white farmhouse and weathered red barn a soothing sight when everything in his life was so…unfamiliar. Like the two passengers in his truck. While Felicity unbuckled Colt and then held him in her arms, making exaggerated faces at the tot, which Colt seemed to like, Drake brought everything into the house. Suddenly his living room looked like someone who lived there had a baby. Crazy.

“Here you go,” Felicity said, handing Colt over.

Startled, Drake held out his arms and took his son, those big slate-blue eyes staring up at him. Colt wrapped his tiny fist around Drake’s pinky and Drake gasped.

“He knows you’re his daddy,” Felicity said.

Until that moment, Drake had had no idea you could actually feel your heart crack open.

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Melissa Senate

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