Bound by the Baby [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Susan Crosby
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Buttoned-up banker Devlin Campbell prided himself on his control. That one passionate night in Atlantic City had been an aberration, but one with lasting consequences: his mystery woman was pregnant. Now that he'd found her--thousands of miles away--Dev approached Nicole with a most decent proposal. But would their ardent beginning allow these virtual strangers to forge a bond that was more than skin deep?
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Silhouette Desire
Fictionwise Release Date: May 2007
36 Reader Ratings:
May 1, Sterling Palace Hotel and Casino, Stateline, Nevada
Where was Ms. Fortune when he needed her?
Devlin Campbell studied his surroundings, his equilibrium challenged by the garish neon lights and incessant slot-machine noise. This time he couldn't win at the blackjack table, not one hand. He wasn't superstitious, wasn't blaming his losses on his former lucky charm not being at his side. He knew it was, instead, that sly culprit, jet lag.
And so instead of focusing on the cards, he found himself watching the people milling around, even though there was no reason to continually search the casino for her… Ms. Fortune. Nicole. After all, he'd met her on the other side of the country, ships passing in the night—or more appropriately in this case, ports in a storm, finding comfort and refuge in each other's arms for reasons neither of them had confided. He hadn't experienced another night like it, before or since, although he'd gone back twice, hoping…
Yeah, jet lag. With the three-hour time difference in Philadelphia, he'd already put in a full day. Not to mention the fourteen-hour days he'd been working the past month in preparation for this trip.
Dev watched the dealer dispense the cards, then turn up a king for himself. Dev looked at his hand—seven and five.
He didn't know why he'd come to the casino in the first place. The refrigerator at the lodge where he was supposed to stay had been stocked by an attractive, efficient young woman named Mary, who'd met him with a key dangling off an ornate keychain. He could've heated up one of the meals from a local restaurant she'd thoughtfully provided, then gone to bed. Instead he hadn't even unpacked, hadn't taken time to tour the spectacular log house.
"Hit or stay, sir?" the dealer asked, awaiting Dev's decision.
He signaled for a hit. A queen landed on his cards. Twenty-two. Loser. It wasn't a word associated with the name Devlin Campbell. Ever.
Dev scooped up his few remaining chips and left the table, in need of food. He'd spotted a sports bar earlier where he could order from the bar. He would eat something quick and simple, then go back to the lodge and sleep for at least twelve hours.
The televisions were tuned to a baseball game between his beloved Phillies and the San Francisco Giants. He ordered a beer and checked out the menu, deciding on a burger and fries. He lifted the frosty glass set before him and scanned the room. A woman walked past the entrance. A woman wearing a Sterling Palace uniform. A woman who reminded him of—
Beer sloshed over his hand as he thumped his glass onto the bar, then rushed out. He could see her maybe twenty feet ahead, moving at a quick, steady pace. The same long, shiny, light-brown hair, this time braided neatly. Killer body. Sexy legs that had wrapped around him and held tight.
"Nicole!" he called.
She turned, looked straight at him, hesitated, then picked up speed. What the hell? She was trying to get away? Why? He posed no threat. He hadn't even learned her last name. Not that it mattered, since he hadn't been on a second date or spent a second night with a woman in the past couple of years, no matter how beautiful or sexy.
Except… he'd wanted to have a second night with Nicole, who had been one passionate handful, as intense as he, assertive and demanding in a way that had made him forget everything else that night.
Even the letter.
He caught up with her, cupped her elbow. She had no choice but to stop.
"Are you in training for a marathon?" he asked. His gaze slid to her name badge: Nicole, Sacramento, California. He'd had no idea she was an employee of the Palace. She hadn't been wearing a uniform when they met, but jeans, a dark sweater and boots with heels high enough to bring her close to his height. He'd tugged them off her, then her jeans, exposing knock-out legs…
"Oh, hi," she said. "Um…"
"Devlin," he supplied, surprised. She'd forgotten? "January? Atlantic City?"
She tugged her jacket together, freeing herself of his grip at the same time. She was even more voluptuous than he recalled. His memory hadn't failed him. And he definitely wanted a repeat of their night in Atlantic City.
"I remember," she said, finally smiling a little but, like the first time they'd met, the smile not reaching her eyes.
"You work here," he said, looking again at her name badge.
"I'm an assistant manager for the hotel."
"Were you employed by the Palace in when we met in January?"
"Yes, for the hotel, as head reservations clerk. I wasn't on duty when we… that night. I transferred here to Tahoe… two months ago."
She gave the information reluctantly and barely made eye contact.
Both intrigued and irritated, he said, "Have dinner with me."
"I'm working." She glanced around, as if seeking someone to come to her rescue, a bit of panic in her eyes.
Surely she wasn't afraid of him, not after the night they'd shared. "When do you get off?"
She finally looked him in the eyes, perhaps concluding he wouldn't back down, although nothing in her demeanor indicated she was backing down, either. "At nine."
Less than an hour. His jet lag vanished at the anticipation. "I'll wait for you."
"Please, don't." She took a step back. "Please. I have to go."
Dev let her leave. He returned to the bar just as his food was being set on the counter.
Copyright © 2007 by Susan Bova Crosby.