Authors: Elizabeth Ann West
Tags: #Contemporary Women, #modern romance, #Comics & Graphic Novels, #General, #modern love story, #Fiction, #Contemporary Romance, #baby romance
Robotics engineer Johnathan Michaels is in love with his business partner, Alexis Rodriguez. After three years of missed opportunity, the two are finally making a life together when a previous one-night stand from Johnathan's past reappears. Pregnant. With his child. Can Johnathan juggle a fiancée, impending fatherhood, and save the biggest contract his company has ever seen?
By Elizabeth Ann West
2011 by Elizabeth Ann West. All rights reserved.
For permission to reproduce this work in any manner outside of the U.S. standards of Fair Use, please contact the author at [email protected]
About the Cover Artist
Melissa Oyler is a graphic designer based out of Charlotte, N.C. She is an absolute dream to work with and will be the cover artist for Elizabeth Ann West's first three books. She can be reached through her website,
(pssst: see if you can spot her signature M in the cover)
From the Author
Oh, good. You stopped. I have a nasty habit of tapping my little e-reader as quickly as I can to get to the story, too. First, I just want to thank you reading CANCELLED. This project was not an easy challenge, and I'm glad we can enjoy the end result together!
is dedicated first to my husband and two children. They make every day a smile and I'm thankful I can write on the side of my full-time job of wife and mom. Second, so many of my friends cheered me on and this wouldn't be in your hands without them. In no particular order, that's Kari Camp Watford, Kristen McWhirter Channel, Heather Harris McFarlane, and everyone else I wore out droning on and on about this book!
When you finish please visit my website designed just for you!
is full of behind-the-scenes information about CANCELLED, deleted scenes, reader recommendations from me, and links to sites where you can find other affordable titles from other authors.
The password for this book's
Thank you again so very much. I hope you love it.
of roof tar and rotten fruit filled Johnathan Michaels' mouth. A swish of his tongue couldn't remove the hangover breath from last night. Next to him, an unknown woman slept. Carefully, he nudged her, but she didn't move. Nudging a little harder, her body rolled to the left and liberated his arm. He sat up with mint green sheets tangled between his legs. Definitely naked.
Double checking her identity, his eyes followed past her mop of bottle-blonde hair, down the dip of her lower back, and finally rested on the pleasing rise of a fleshy curve. She looked familiar, but he couldn't place her. He settled on brushing his teeth and taking a shower.
Clean and fresh, he shook a sand colored towel over his head and broad shoulders. Ready to wake her up, another surprise awaited him: an empty bed.
He flipped a snug, gray T-shirt over his head, giving his five-eleven frame more definition than his gym time actually produced. Rusty jeans covered his commando status
—just for the TSA prick giving him extra screening later because his name matched a No Fly List loser.
A loud growl escaped from his stomach. His last meal felt like it was days ago, not last night.
The only light in the living room seeped out from under the door of the half-bath. She hadn’t left, she was using the restroom. Johnathan bent over and plunged shoulders-deep into his refrigerator. His date returned from the restroom and plopped ungraciously into a leather chair at his kitchen table. He frowned. He still couldn't remember her name.
"Good. I'm starving," she said. Without asking permission, she lit a cigarette and sucked the red glow further towards the filter. Johnathan had poked his head up from the refrigerator door at the sound of the lighter. “Don’t worry, hunger is normal after the ephedrine wears off.”
Fleeting memories of last night swirled in his mind. Alex left to placate her ex, Dr. Perfect. He and Eric joined a new group...that had the woman who bought him a beer! That's who she was! Eric knew a guy in the group and Johnathan stupidly followed his example in popping a blue pill. A first
time he would stray from natural forms of fun.
“My lease is non-smoking," he said.
She donned a pretend face of chagrin and sauntered over to the kitchen. His buttoned-down shirt from work yesterday hung loosely on her, barely covering the curves he had admired earlier. JDM was sewn on the pocket in plain block letters. The shirt was part of a set from Anna.
Water gushed as she slammed the faucet top up and doused the lit tip, leaving splash marks on his T-shirt. He nearly gagged on the smell of last night's sweat and club stench in her hair. Easing himself away, she followed him and the food to the table.
A train clock separating the dining area and the living room displayed both clock hands perfectly vertical. Noon–he had three hours to get to the airport. The first step in getting rid of her was having a name. He opted for a trick from his more wild days in college.
“So, what’s your middle name?” Johnathan stacked various ingredients into an architecturally sound sandwich.
“Michelle.” She dug in to finish off his partially eaten Chinese leftovers.
“Hmm. I think I like that better.”
“Better than Kellie? Not me.”
Kellie. Her name was Kellie. A small triumphant grin covered his mouth as he took a bite of his sandwich full of high-end deli cheese and meat that wouldn’t last the two weeks he'd be gone. Chewing, he mulled a tactful way to get rid of her. Without drama. He loved his Georgetown apartment too dearly to risk a psycho ex-date.
“What do you do?” Her voice broke up his scheming.
“I own a robotics engineering firm with two friends.”
“Cool.” She looked down at her food and shrugged. “I work at a drugstore.”
He took another bite of his sandwich. Grateful to see his cell phone on the charger, he mentally thanked the universe for running on auto-pilot last night. A plan finally formed to make her leave. He reached for his phone on the counter and thumbed through his contacts to find CARS.
“My company has a car service on retainer. They'll take you anywhere you need to go.” He already had the phone to his ear, waiting for the dispatcher to pick up.
“I thought we might hang for awhile. Or something.”
Johnathan slid the receiver away from his mouth. “Can’t. I’m leaving the country to―Yes, hello? Pick up....authorization number is 7816. Address on file is fine."
He looked back to speak with Kellie, but she was gone; his bedroom door closed. He debated checking on his belongings, and her, then became stuck on whether to knock first, or just walk in since it was his room. Before acting on a decision, the door creaked open.
Kellie held the door knob for balance and slipped on silver stiletto heels. She still wore his work shirt over skin-tight clubbing pants. A sequined top hung oddly from her left hand. Ripped.
“Why don’t you take my shirt?” The insincere offer was the only move to make. He couldn't explain the shirt was an expensive gift and offer another one. Not only was that tacky, but the sooner she left, the better.
With a small pout, she returned to the table and finished off the lo mein noodles. He was about to end the awkward silence when his phone buzzed across the table. He saved the cell from skittling off the edge before taking a moment to turn the ringer back on. The car service waited outside.
He guided her to the door, but wasn’t sure what to say. Once again, she made the first move.
“Last night was fun. We should hang out,” she said. Her eyes tried to flirt, but failed with smudged mascara in the hollows underneath.
“I'll think about it." He began to shut the door. "Take care.” She stopped and turned around in the door jamb.
“Hey, sorry, but it's a total blip." She dawdled halfway between the hall and his apartment. "What’s your name again?”
“See you later, Johnathan.” She smiled and turned back around to head to the elevator, her shoes clacking with every step on the wooden hallway.
Using his cell phone once more, he dialed the man with a plan. Voicemail.
You’ve got Eric. Or actually, you don’t. Leave a message and if you’re cool, I’ll catch up with you.
“What the hell did you send me home with last night? Call me. I’m in the air at 5:30.”
He returned to his bedroom and stripped the sheets. Yanking his luggage set out from under his bed, he tossed the pieces onto the bare mattress. Shaving cream and cologne clanged dissonantly as they collided in his toiletry case. Adding the toiletry case to his luggage, his shrill ring tone of a dial-up modem interrupted his frantic packing. It wasn't Eric.
“Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday my dear-baby-boy-Johnny. Happy birthday tooooooooooooooo you.”
Johnathan returned the phone to his ear once the singing stopped.
"It's the afternoon, son," Nancy Jean Moreno laughed. “Still no chance you can come home for the holidays?”
“I'm traveling.” Johnathan grabbed a water bottle from the nearly empty refrigerator, downing half of it to pre-hydrate.
“Oh that's right. With her.”
He wiped his mouth and waited. Nancy Jean only called when she needed a favor from him. Or money. When she didn't speak, he decided to prod her along.
“How are the kids?” Johnathan returned to throwing casual clothing and two formal sets of shirts and slacks into his suitcase. He packed a suit into his garment bag.
“They're good. Nathaniel wants a new computer. And Jenn is–”
“What happened to the laptop I bought him?”
“It was stolen last week out of the car. Broke my passenger side window and everything. I had to get that fixed...”
Johnathan snorted. Right, stolen. He was willing to bet a hundred bucks the laptop sat at the local pawn shop.
“...Ava caught a cold. Had to take her to the doctor. I missed a day of work and wasn't paid because I wasn't the one sick. Jenn's coming at me left and right wanting money for prom, graduation, senior pictures...all of that crap. Yesterday, she asked for forty dollars for some application fee. I told her any school wanting money just for her to apply is a scam!”
Johnathan stopped zoning out and paid attention. Application fee? Could Jenn be eighteen already? No, he was twenty-seven, making her seventeen. But she'd be eighteen in August. He made a mental note to email his lawyer about her trust.
“I thought Jenn was working at Dairy Queen.”
“She is. I hold her money for her.”
Johnathan rolled his eyes and frowned. His alarm clock displayed 1:30 PM. His mother could drag this out for over an hour if he let her.
“Send me the receipt from the repair shop and I'll take care of it.”
“I already paid for the window to get fixed!” His mother paused and reclaimed control over the whining in her voice. “But, we're really tight this month with Christmas and all. I don't even know how I'm going to make rent. Maybe the landlord will take a partial payment...or I could just cook pancakes for dinner next week.”