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The Daddy Dilemma [Secure eReader]
eBook by Karen Rose Smith

eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Could he be her little boy? Six years ago, Sara Hobart helped a childless couple create their own miracle. Now she needed one of her own. All her instincts were telling her she was Kyle Barclay's birth mother. Only one thing stood in her way: Kyle's widowed father. Ever since his wife had died, Nathan had tried to be the best parent he could to five-year-old Kyle. Then this sensual stranger showed up. Legally, Sara had no claim on his son. But how could he keep her from the little boy who already adored her? That went double for Nathan, who was suddenly yearning to go from single dad to devoted family man....

eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Silhouette Special Edition
Fictionwise Release Date: February 2008

3 Reader Ratings:
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Chapter One

Six Years Later

Sara opened the heavy oak door into Pine Grove Lodge, anxiety tightening her chest, her heart pounding hard. She wasn't sure she should be here, but she had to find out if Nathan Barclay's son was her son. He might not be. Her eggs might not have been instrumental in giving the Barclays a child. But the dates lined up—her donation and Kyle's birth. She had to know for sure. Her accident and hysterectomy in June had devastated her…until during her recuperation, Joanne, who'd left the fertility clinic a few years ago to take a more lucrative position elsewhere, had revealed Nathan Barclay's name.

Moving into the great room, Sara found no one standing at the long mahogany counter.

A door opened at the rear of the room and a tall, broad-shouldered man carrying an armful of logs came in and kicked the door shut with one booted foot. As he passed the floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace and caught sight of her, he smiled. But it was a forced smile that didn't light up his eyes, which were the same color as the gray November sky outside.

Sara recognized Nathan Barclay from the photograph she'd found in an article about him and his dad restoring this resort in their hometown of Rapid Creek, Minnesota. Still reeling from her mom's death from cancer a year ago, as well as the accident that had taken away Sara's ability to have children, she'd looked him up on the Internet, and she'd found more than she'd ever imagined. Most important, she'd learned he was a widower and had a son who was five.

She hadn't made an impulsive decision that could affect several lives. After her recuperation, she'd returned to her law firm, working seventy to eighty hours a week. But after two months, she'd decided to use vacation time, and had packed a suitcase, grabbed her laptop and headed to the Wisconsin Dells to think. Two days into her getaway, she'd found herself driving to Rapid Creek, searching for answers.

Now here she was, practically shaking in her sneakers.

"If you're looking for a room, I'm sorry, but we don't have any vacancies. This time of year we're usually full." Nathan Barclay's deep voice resonated through Sara, making her anxiety grab a stronger hold.

Straightening her shoulders and taking a breath, she waited only a heartbeat before replying, "I'm not looking for a room."

At her words his dark brows quirked up. Turning away from her, he lowered the armful of logs onto the hearth. Her heart pounded so hard she thought it would burst from her chest.

Finally, he brushed off his hands and crossed to her. Only two feet away, she noticed strands of gray at the temples of his dark brown hair, lines above his brows and around his eyes and mouth.

"If you don't need a room for the night, how can I help you?" he asked, looking puzzled.

"Mr. Barclay, I'm Sara Hobart."

He showed no recognition of her name.

State the facts. Make him understand.

"Almost six years ago, on January 23, I donated eggs at the Brighton Fertility Clinic in Minneapolis. I found out your wife benefited from that donation. I'm wondering…I believe…"

His firm jaw set. His stance became defensive.

Forgetting her training as a lawyer, and too personally involved to weigh her words, she plunged in and asked, "Did your wife conceive from that in vitro procedure?"

The man before her was on his guard. His eyes were dark with stormy outrage. "How could you possibly have gotten my name? That information is confidential."

"Mr. Barclay, I don't mean you or Kyle any harm—"

"How do you know my son's name?" Barclay's voice was rough and he was looking at her as if he should call the police.

More determined than ever to find out if she was Kyle's mother, if she had a legitimate claim, she stretched out her hand in a pleading gesture. "I'm a lawyer. I have easy access to databases. If you'd let me start at the beginning—"

"I don't want you to start anywhere. I want you to leave. If it's true you donated eggs at Brighton, then you also signed a release form relinquishing any rights. So if you think I'm going to pay you another cent, you're sadly mistaken."

She shook her head. "I don't want money. I…I was in an automobile accident and had to have a hysterectomy. I looked you up on the Internet and found out you're a widower. When I searched public records, I discovered your wife died in childbirth and so did Kyle's twin brother."

"You had no right to invade my privacy!"

"I can't have children, Mr. Barclay. I'd like to meet Kyle. That's all." Her voice shook on the last word.

After a long, silent pause and a penetrating search of her eyes, he said firmly, "I'm not going to let a stranger just waltz into our home."

Trying to keep her composure, reminding herself calm reason could possibly make a dent in Nathan Barclay's armor, she took a folded sheet of paper from her coat pocket and handed it to him. "Here are my credentials and a brief background. I've also provided references. My friends and neighbors don't know why I'm here, but they can tell you anything you need to know about me."

He took the sheet of paper and glanced at it, then asked in a low voice, "What do you really want?"

"I want to meet Kyle. Afterward, I'll return to Minneapolis."

"Just like that?"

"Just like that. I give you my word. I know I have no rights here. I just want to meet him." Because if she did, she'd know, wouldn't she? Wouldn't instinct tell her if Kyle was hers?

Copyright © 2008 by Karen Rose Smith.

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