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A Bundle of Christmas Babies [Secure eReader]
eBook by Lucy Monroe

eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Marriage of convenience, amnesia, pregnancy ... these tales of holiday romance have it all, as misunderstandings, suspicions and marriage bargains are vanquished by undeniable passion ... and the arrival of a new little Christmas bundle of joy. Bundle includes The Greek's Christmas Baby, The Christmas Child and The Cowboy's Christmas Baby

eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Special Releases
Fictionwise Release Date: December 2007


23 Reader Ratings:
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CHAPTER ONE

"SHE'S COMING out of it."

Eden heard the words, but didn't recognize the voice. Her eyelids felt glued together over a layer of sandpaper. It took a Herculean effort to force them apart and, at first, all she saw was white light and moving shadows.

There were more words, but they sounded like they were coming from under water.

Someone moved to her right. "Yes, Doctor."

Her eyes began to adjust, making recognizable interpretations of the light and shadows.

A young doctor bent over her, his pale blue eyes intent on her face. "Hello, Mrs Kouros. I'm Adam Lewis, the doctor on call when you were brought in. How do you feel?"

"Like I've been hit by a truck," she rasped. Her tongue felt parched and swollen.

"You were…or at least your car was."

Images flashed in her mind. Driving rain, a wet road, the sound of squealing tires. Headlights coming straight at them. The grating honk of a car's horn, long and penetrating. Aristide swearing in Greek and English. His arm coming out to shield her, the airbags rendering the gesture superfluous. Her brown hair swirling around her face, it and the airbag blocking everything else from view.

More distressing images bombarded her and her hand moved restlessly to cover her still-flat stomach.

Her gray eyes clung to the doctor's, begging reassurance. "My baby?"

The paramedics had said the tiny life inside her probably wouldn't survive the trauma, but she'd prayed desperately they were wrong. She didn't remember anything from that desperate prayer until waking up just now.

"You're still pregnant."

"Thank God," she said brokenly, relief pouring through her slight body.

"Unfortunately, you're spotting. The good news is that there is no amniotic fluid in the blood. However, the amniotic sac has disengaged from the wall of your womb in one place. We'll do everything we can to save the baby, but the next seventy-two hours are going to be critical. You must remain in this bed and stay calm."

She nodded and winced at the ache in her head. "Hurts…"

"Yes." He shone a small flashlight in her eyes and made a note on her chart. "You're suffering a minor concussion and have several small abrasions on your right arm from shattered glass."

Now that he mentioned it, her arm did sting, but her entire body felt like she'd been beaten.

Where was Aristide? Surely he wouldn't leave her to face this alone. He might not love her, but he adored being a father. Even after their argument, he would be by her bedside for the baby's sake.

"Where is my husband?"

The doctor laid his hand on her forearm. "You must remain calm, are we agreed on that?"

"Yes." She willed her emotions in check, despite fear trying to take a choke-hold on her. "Please tell me."

"Mr Kouros is in a room down the hall. His vitals aren't bad, but he hasn't come round yet."

"He's in a coma?"

"Yes."

She flinched as if the word had been a physical blow. She felt like it had been. Prior to the accident she'd convinced herself and told Aristide that she was ready for her marriage to end. She had believed there was no greater pain than loving a man she was certain cared for another woman, but she had been wrong.

The prospect of Aristide dying hurt much worse.

"Will he come out of it?" She could barely make herself ask the question, she was so terrified of the answer.

"There's no way to tell, but indications are good."

"I need to see him." If she could see him, it would be all right. It had to be all right.

"Not just yet. As I said before, moving you would be detrimental to your pregnancy. You must remain here."

"How can I stay here while Aristide is in a coma in another room?" She struggled to sit up.

He pressed gently against her shoulders, putting a halt to her feeble efforts. "Your husband will continue to live without you by his side, but, if you attempt to go to him, your baby might not. When he wakes up, we will bring him to you."

She appreciated the "when" rather than the doctor saying "if", but his promise was not enough. "Please…isn't there some way you can take me to him?"

"Your baby's life depends on you remaining calm and remaining flat on your back in this bed," the doctor said too firmly for her to ignore.

She gave up trying to move. "Seventy-two hours?"

"If he hasn't woken up by then and you are no longer spotting, we will arrange for you to be taken to his room to sit beside his bed."

She knew she had to be strong, but it was so hard. She just wanted everything to be the way it had been before she got married, when she thought Aristide was just poor at expressing his emotions toward her…before she'd decided he didn't have any.

The doctor squeezed her shoulder in comfort before stepping back. "Bed rest is the best chance you have of ensuring the viability of your pregnancy at this point, Mrs Kouros. I know it is difficult, but you must stay here. We will keep you apprised of your husband's progress. I promise."

"Thank you." She blinked away tears at the kind understanding she saw reflected in the doctor's eyes. "I need to make a phone call."

"Of course."

She called her mother-in-law. Phillippa was frantic at the news of the accident and Aristide's coma. Even so, she did not neglect to ask how Eden was doing.

Copyright © 2007 Harlequin Books S.A.


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