The Rancher's Christmas Baby [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Cathy Gillen Thacker
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Can Best Friends Become Best Lovers? As teenagers, Amy Carrigan and Teddy McCabe made a solemn vow to each other: If they didn't find their soul mates by thirty, they'd start a family...together. Now, with everyone around her having babies, Amy is afraid motherhood will pass her by. That's when the sexy rancher pops the question. If best friends can't help each other out, who can? Teddy wants the same thing Amy does. Now he's holding her to their promise of long ago. Their wedding stuns everyone in Laramie--including the McCabe and Carrigan clans. But no one is more surprised than Teddy and Amy when their close bond deepens into something even more precious. Together, will they ring in the New Year with a baby of their own?
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/American Romance
Fictionwise Release Date: December 2007
24 Reader Ratings:
"I had no idea it was this bad." Amy Carrigan reached over and took the hand of her best friend, Teddy McCabe, the day after Thanksgiving.
He squeezed her hand reassuringly. "Same here." Being careful to keep to the other side of the yellow tape surrounding the century-old community chapel in downtown Laramie, Texas, Teddy let go of her hand and walked around, surveying what remained of the previously beautiful church.
The once towering live oak tree that had been struck by lightning at the advent of the previous night's thunderstorm had a jagged black streak down what remained of the trunk. The rest of the tree had taken out the bell tower and fallen through the center of the church roof.
By the time the fire department had arrived, the white stone chapel was engulfed in flames. Nearly half the wooden pews had been destroyed. And though the exquisite stained-glass windows were amazingly still intact, the walls were covered with black soot, the velvet carpeting at the altar beyond repair.
Fortunately, no one had been hurt, and plans were already being made to restore the town-owned landmark.
"Do you think they're really going to be able to get this restored in three weeks' time?" Amy asked.
"Given the number of volunteers that have already signed up to help with the cleanup, yes," Teddy replied.
"Trevor and Rebecca were supposed to have the twins' christening here on the twenty-third."
"We'll get it done," Teddy promised.
Amy hoped so. Although there were numerous other churches in the area, the community chapel was where everyone got married and had their children christened. It was small and intimate and imbued with tradition and hope.
Amy had dreamed of being married here.
Teddy studied her. "Everything okay?"
"What do you mean?"
"You've seemed blue. You hardly cracked a smile during the Thanksgiving festivities yesterday."
Amy had been hoping no one would notice.
She walked around to survey the damaged landscaping around the chapel. "I had a headache."
Teddy ambled along behind her. He had a good nine inches on her. And though they both owned ranches and worked outdoors—she growing plants, Teddy breeding horses—one might have a hard time discerning how physically fit she was because she was so delicately boned and slender.
However, it came as no surprise to anyone that Teddy had ranching in his blood. After all, he had the broad shoulders and strong, rugged build of the McCabe men. Being around him like this always made her feel impossibly feminine…and protected.
"Headache or heartache?" Teddy probed.
Amy returned wryly, "Thank you, Dr. Phil. But I really don't need your psychoanalysis."
"That, my friend, is debatable." Teddy placed both hands on her shoulders and turned her so she had no choice but to look at him. "Come on, Amy." His grip tightened ever so slightly, the warmth of his palms transmitting through the fleece vest she wore. "Tell me what's going on."
Her skin tingling from the unexpected contact, Amy knelt to examine a fire-singed Buford holly bush. "It's nothing."
Teddy gazed at her compassionately. "Is it the birthday you have coming up in January?"
Amy glared at Teddy and stepped away. "Way to cheer me up, cowboy."
He exhaled. "Thirty-two is not old." He could say that because he was almost thirty-five.
Amy headed toward the parking lot located behind the chapel, where her pickup truck was parked. "It's not young, either."
"You have a lot to feel good about. A family who loves you and a lot of friends. Not to mention the best plant-and-tree nursery in the area."
Amy did feel proud. Over the last ten years, she had grown her business from a rented greenhouse to a prosperous concern.
"True, you don't have a house yet…." Teddy conceded with a frown.
Not like the one he had on his Silverado Ranch, anyway. "Now you're dissing where I live?"
The lines on either side of Teddy's mouth deepened. With the familiarity of someone who had been her friend since elementary school, he said, "You don't have to live in a tiny little trailer."
Amy shrugged off his concern. "It suits me just fine right now. Besides, I want to pour all my money into expanding."
Laurel Valley Ranch currently comprised fifty acres and ten greenhouses. She grew everything from Christmas trees to perennials and starter plants, and even had a husband-and-wife team working for her full-time now.
"Then if it's not that…is it the time of year that's getting you down? The holidays…"
Not surprised that Teddy had seen through her defenses, Amy blurted out, "Can you really blame me?" Tears blurred her eyes. "Everywhere I look, everywhere I go, I'm reminded that Christmas is for kids—and I don't have any! And at the rate I'm going I might never have any!"
To her surprise, Teddy looked as if he were feeling the same. "Then, maybe," he said slowly, "it's time you and I both revisited the promise we made to each other."
Amy backed up until her spine touched the back of her pickup. "I was twelve and you were fifteen!"
Teddy propped a shoulder against the door, blocking her way into the driver side. "It doesn't mean it wasn't a good idea."
Amy stared at him, wishing she could say she was shocked by what he was proposing. The same crazy, irrational thought had been in the back of her mind for months now. She'd just been too romantic at heart to bring it up.
Copyright © 2007 by Cathy Gillen Thacker.